In the seemingly never-ending fight to save money on energy bills, homeowners often look to their heating and air conditioning for answers, without giving much thought to how efficiently they use hot water. As the second largest expense on an average monthly energy bill according to ENERGY STAR®, it’s important to take these steps to become more conscientious about your hot water usage in order to save yourself some money.
Change your behavior
The most inexpensive way to cut your hot water costs is to make changes to your daily routine, like turning off the water when you’re scrubbing dishes, brushing your teeth or washing your hair in the shower. Wash your clothes in cold water when possible, and take quick showers rather than baths. The average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
You can significantly reduce hot water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures — faucets and showerheads — or pipes. A leak of one drip per second can potentially cost as much as $1 per month.
Insulate hot water pipes
Exposed hot water pipes can potentially cause your hot water to arrive 2 to 4 degrees cooler at the faucet. Insulate those pipes and you will not need to wait as much time for the water to heat up. This is really a small investment and an easy DIY job that will save you water, money, and energy.
Install low-flow fixtures
Did you know that up to 25% of your home’s water could potentially be lost through showering? In order to maximize hot water efficiency, look for a low-flow shower head, which uses less water than a standard model.
According to Canadian government standards, no showerhead can have a water flow rate greater than 9 liters per minute at a standardized pressure of 80psi. Low-flow showerheads use even less than that, which translates to lower energy costs to the consumer.
There are two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water.
Switch to a tankless water heater
Instead of constantly heating and reheating water, tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it. They may be up to 24% to 34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters, and they offer additional benefits like increased comfort, more space and environmental sustainability.
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