Heating water is one of your largest annual energy expenses. A water heater can consume approximately 600 kilowatt hours per month.
- Consider high efficiency water heaters — If you are in the market for a new water heater, consider buying a high efficiency model. It may cost you a little more to buy, but it costs less to use, so you will save over the life of the unit. As a side note, be sure to secure your water heater by fastening it to the studs in the wall.
- Set the thermostats properly — To operate most efficiently, your water heater should be set between 120°F and 130°F. If you have a dishwasher, you may need to increase the temperature settings to 140°F. Refer to the owner’s manual for the proper temperature settings for your dishwasher.
- Fix those drips — If you have a leaky faucet, you’re pouring money down the drain. A slow drip can waste up to 450 gallons of water a month. If it’s hot water, you are not only paying to heat the water, but you are paying for the water, and may be paying for the disposal as well. If you have a domestic well, pumping costs are also a factor.
- Reduce the flow — Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in your bathrooms and kitchen. They can cut up to 11% of your water use, which will reduce your energy use and water bills. Water efficient devices are usually available at local hardware stores. Also consider taking short showers rather than baths. A shower typically uses less hot water than a bath (especially if you limit your showers to five minutes or less). If you just need a shampoo, try using the sink rather than taking a shower.
- Use cold water when you can — Use cold water instead of hot to wash clothes or rinse dishes. Hot water for dishes uses about 2 kilowatt hours, and washing a load of clothes uses about 5 kilowatt hours.
- Twist the tap — Turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth, lathering your hands with soap, or scrubbing dishes.
- Run your dishwasher — That’s right… run your dishwasher. Only wash full loads, and use the energy saving setting which eliminates the drying cycle, saving energy on each load. If you have an electric water heater, use your dishwasher’s booster heater. This booster heats the water used in the dishwasher to 140°F, allowing you to reduce the temperature of your water heater.