Into Hot Water: Energy Efficient Solutions to Help You Save

Energy Efficient SolutionsHot water is the second highest energy cost in a home after heating and cooling. Balancing hot water costs with comfort can be a challenge in developing energy efficient solutions for a home, especially in the morning during the costliest energy rush: shower time.

Showers use more of your supply of hot water than any other activity in a home. The average shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts 8.2 minutes at the average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute. And depending on how long your (and your family’s) shower lasts, every time they’re turned on, approximately 20 gallons go down the drain. Shaving consumes another two gallons.

As more people in the house go through the shower and about their day, more hot water is used up. Thirty gallons with a load of laundry here, five gallons for preparing food there, ten gallons for the dishwasher (more if the dishes are done by hand), and four gallons for hygiene. A day.

Every day, this cycle is repeated. All of these daily hot water uses comes at a price: financially and ecologically. By year’s end, the clothes washer will have washed about 400 loads and the dishwasher will have cycled over 200 times. But thankfully there are energy efficient solutions to help you save.

Every Day Home Energy Efficient Solutions

According to Energy.gov, here are 15 ways to save on your hot water bills:

  1. Take short showers instead of baths.  And if you can stand it, turn off the water while soaping up, shampooing, or shaving!
  2. Reduce shower time. Start by measuring how long your showers last then aim to reduce them to closer to 5 minutes or less.
  3. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120°F. For every 10ºF reduction in temperature, you can save from 3%–5% on water heating costs.
  4. Turn it off. Guilty of leaving the water on while you brush your teeth or shave? All of those extra minutes can add up to a lot of wasted water.
  5. Use cold water when possible for laundry loads. And put the rinse cycle on cold water.
  6. Wash only full loads. For the dishwasher and the clothing washer, fill it up and choose shorter wash cycles.
  7. Fix leaks. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.
  8. Install low-flow fixtures. Showerheads and faucets installed before 1992 use more than twice as much water as new, low-flow fixtures.
  9. Install heat traps. You could save $15–$30 on your water heating bill by installing heat traps on your water heater tank.
  10. Insulate your hot-water storage tank. Insulation can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45% and save about 7%–16% in water heating costs.
  11. Insulate the first few feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater. This reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2°–4°F hotter than uninsulated pipes
  12. Install a timer. Schedule your electric water heater to turn off at times when you don’t need it.
  13. Upgrade your clothes washer. Replace an old washer (over 10 years old) with a new, efficient ENERGY STAR® washer and you could save over $135 per year.
  14. Upgrade your dishwasher. ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers  use over 30% less energy and water than older models.
  15. Purchase an efficient water heater.  Developing an energy efficient home that uses much less energy to meet hot water demands requires a change from the traditional storage tank to a hot water heater efficient enough to handle the morning shower rush.

Energy Efficient Solutions by Brown’s

Learn more about your options and considerations when selecting a new water heater from our plumbing experts at Browns. We can help you navigate the different options and size for your new water heater installation; please contact us to speak with one of our plumbing installation experts today.