Hot water is expensive, accounting for 13 percent of home energy usage. Yet that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to cold showers and dirty dishes; solar water heaters can reduce hot water bills by more than half.

If your roof receives six hours of southern or southeastern sun, it could be suitable for a solar water heater. Or the heater can be placed in a sunny spot on the ground near your home.

Although the price is hefty$4,000-$5,000federal and state tax credits cut the cost in half. If you’re building a new home, consider rolling the cost into your mortgage, which would add $13-$20 to your monthly payment.

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