Next time you take a shower, remember this: Heating water accounts for up to 11 percent of our utility bills. If your water heater is more than a decade old, that number could be even greater. Switching it out for a new, more efficient electric storage model could save you 10 to 20 percent on heating bills. You might also think about gas and tankless units, which save 30 and 40 percent on water heating, respectively. And let's not forget solar water heaters. At $3,500 to $4,800 installed, they're more expensive than conventional heaters, but they have longer lives (about 20 years) and pay for themselves in energy savings in about half that time. If you're not ready to buy a new water heater just yet, ratchet up your existing unit's efficiency with a water-heater blanket. It costs just 15 bucks and will save you between 4 and 9 percent on your heating bills.
Learn more about how solar hot water works.