Saving Energy Tip #1: Wrap your heater in a blanket

Your water heater needs a blanket in the winter to stay warm, especially if it lives in an unheated space. A fiberglass insulating blanket can cut heat loss by 25% to 40% and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill of $308, says the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Insulating blankets are easy to install and inexpensive ($30). When dressing your tank for saving energy, be careful not to block the thermostat on an electric water heater or the air inlet and exhaust on a gas unit.

Many newer units already contain insulating foam, making a blanket unnecessary and even hazardous; it can block critical components. Check with your manufacturer.