Did you know that leaving the tap open while brushing your teeth wastes about 5 gallons of water?
In fact, a leaky water tap can fill up a 100-gallon tank in a day – one innocent drop at a time. Think about how many hot baths you can take in that much wasted water!
Surely, this already provides a clearer picture of how to reduce utility costs, and conserve water at the same time. Needless to say, it’s the small habits and smart choices that slowly add up, or rather, reduce your hot water costs.
The good news is that you can start making these changes today! Read on for more handy tips, and get your toes wet with some of these hot water-saving projects!
Ways To Reduce Your Hot Water Costs
Develop Hot Water Saving Habits
Running a hot bath filled to the brim also equals running up your hot-water bill. So, naturally, you would think that showers are the better solution. Surprisingly, it is not so simple.
Hot showers when coupled with bathroom concerts and shower thoughts may lead to more consumption of hot water. With that being said, short showers are the way to go. Moreover, remember to turn off the water while shampooing, soaping up, brushing, and shaving.
Maintaining hot-water saving habits in the kitchen and laundry room can also add up in the long run. For instance, pre-rinsing utensils is one activity that you can skip. Apart from confusing the sensors in your dishwasher, you also double the amount of water that goes into cleaning the same load. Moreover, you can choose to simply scrape off scraps of food instead of rinsing.
Additionally, only wash full loads since dishwashers mostly utilize the same amount of hot water, regardless of how many dishes are in the machine.
Coming to laundry habits, unless you are working in a coal factory or always playing in the mud, it is safe to wash clothes with your machine in a colder setting. On the other hand, if your clothes are frequently subjected to heavy soiling, a simple cold rinse after a warm wash will do just fine.
Fix Your Fixtures
It’s no secret that a few dripping pipes, faucets, and showerheads around the house can fill up a swimming pool within a year. However, it remains a secret as to why this issue is still overlooked.
Needless to say, fixing leaks is one of the easiest solutions to conserve hot water – unless the leak has been found in your storage tank. More often than not, storage tanks with leaks are irreparable and need to be replaced with another tank or a tankless alternative.
Speaking of showerheads, there is good news for those who are not ready to part with their hot showers. Rather than compromise on shower times, you can now choose to compromise on the shower flow rate.
With that being said, low-flow showerheads are an inexpensive way of decreasing hot water consumption in the bathroom. And, perhaps more importantly, they adhere to federal regulations stipulating that flow rates remain under 2.5 gallons per minute.
Even with the decreased flow, low-flow showerheads are versatile and enjoyable in their own right. For instance, the light mists sprayed by aerating showers are refreshing and light, whereas the single-stream of the laminate-flow reduces steam.
Coming to faucets, an aerator is a great tool to add to your kitchen and bathroom taps. What it does is break up the stream of water into smaller streams so that the perceived pressure remains the same. At the same time, more air is introduced to the stream of water so, essentially, a lesser amount of water is used for the same function.
Use Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters may be a big investment to make at first, but it pays for itself within a span of four to eight years. Consider how these heaters last for decades and run on sunshine – which is universally free of cost!
Moreover, developing habits such as reserving laundry days for sunny days when heated water is readily available also leads to overall water conservation. Nevertheless, solar water heaters usually come with backup alternatives. Even without these, they can take care of as much as 80% of your daily hot water needs, come rain or shine!
Use Tankless Water Heaters
Who could say no to a constant supply of hot water?
In a tankless water heater system, cold water traveling through the pipes is heated by a gas or electric-powered element. Finally, hot water comes out of the hot water tap on demand. What’s more, this is a cost-efficient alternative that can replace a storage tank hot water heater.
Other than its lower operating costs and reduced energy consumption, tankless water heaters last about 5 years longer than storage water heaters. Moreover, upgrading with replacement parts and proper maintenance can greatly extend their longevity.
Anyhow, upgrading to a newer model of water heater is advised – regardless of whether it is a tank or tankless model. After all, reports show that water tanks built before 2015 perform much worse when it comes to energy efficiency.
Invest In Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star-certification is a trustworthy measure to go by when looking for products that are built to be more energy-efficient.
With that being said, the newer energy-efficient models of dishwashers and washing machines use about 30% less energy and 33% less water than standard appliances. Moreover, newer models are fitted with added features and advanced technology that improve the overall user experience. For instance, everybody can appreciate how quietly these newer machines work.
And, not to forget how newer dishwashers have booster heaters. So, even if you bump back the thermostat on the hot water tank, booster heaters maintain recommended water temperatures while washing the dishes. Apart from being a practical solution to energy efficiency, the recommended 140 degrees Fahrenheit is capable of killing bacteria and other germs.
An added tip when it comes to choosing an Energy Star-labeled washing machine is that you can opt for a front-loading appliance. After all, front-loading machines use less water and energy as compared to top-loading washing machines.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!
It is possible to save up to 16% on hot water costs simply by insulating tanked water heaters. As mentioned earlier, newer water heaters tend to be more energy-efficient – which is mostly because they are well-insulated.
While this provides more reason to upgrade to a newer model, a simple DIY project can also save you the cost of buying a new tank altogether. To do this, buy a water heater insulation blanket kit and follow the instructions carefully. As a rule of thumb, water heaters that have an R-value less than 24 require insulation for increased energy efficiency.
Another ingenious way of reducing hot water costs is by insulating pipes, so that you can turn down the thermostat without compromising on heat. To do this, grab some fiberglass insulation or pipe sleeves from the local hardware store. Next, cover all the accessible hot water pipes that run from the storage tank.
In addition, it is also advisable to insulate about 3 feet of the cold water inlet pipes. As an alternative, you can choose to buy heat traps that are engineered for the purpose of preventing hot water from escaping. Just remember to install these on both hot water outlets and cold water inlets.
And, of course, if in doubt about your DIY skills, consider hiring a professional for all your hot water and insulation needs.
Use Hot Water During Off-Peak Hours
It’s a lesser-known fact that energy suppliers usually charge a premium during peak hours. Generally, peak time will be during the late afternoon, whereas off-peak hours are relegated to the nighttime when electricity demand is the least.
With that being said, reward yourself with hot showers or do your laundry early in the morning, or even late at night. On the flip side, you can turn the water heater off during peak hours!
What’s more, you can even install a timer on your water heater for more convenience. Use the settings to program the water heater to automatically shut off when you are sleeping, at work, and during dreaded peak times, of course!
Tackling the issue of hot water costs at home has a domino effect that leads to sustainability for the environment.
Think about it – reducing hot-water consumption with shorter showers, or investing in solar water heaters instead of electric heaters. Either way, your bills are surely reduced, but so is your carbon footprint!
And, now with this list at hand, you know where you went wrong, and how to improve. With that being said, there’s no use crying over spilled water – start saving water and money from today!