It may be surprising to learn the second biggest user of energy in an average American home is a hot water heater. This places hot water heaters behind only climate control systems, such as air conditioners and furnaces. With that in mind, it can be helpful to take a closer look at ways to lessen the use of hot water and to lower energy costs. Below are some effective ways to reduce hot water-related energy expenses:
Most people know that low-volume flush toilets are now mandated by federal water usage standards. However, not everyone knows that standards are in place that also govern water use at faucets and shower heads. That means if your home is older, you may have a number of fixtures in place that are wasteful when it comes to hot water usage.
For example, since 1992, shower heads are not permitted to allow more than 2.5 gallons of water flow per minute. This is in sharp contrast to pre-1992 standards where shower heads were putting out well over 5 gallons of water per minute. The net result is that you can save 50% on your energy costs while taking a shower with a more efficient shower head.
Solar hot water heaters are another means of reducing energy costs. Solar water heaters are designed to collect energy from the sun and transfer it to cold water. There are a number of different solar water heater types and styles in use, including those that passively and actively move water through the system.
Since solar hot water heaters do not require an outside energy source for operation, they need to be appropriately mounted and kept secure to work properly. A professional should be consulted when purchasing and installing solar hot water heaters to ensure everything is done correctly.
Many appliance developments have occurred over the past decades, and the removal of water-guzzling devices from the market has been one of these advances. Automatic dishwashers and washing machines are the two items mainly impacted by these changes in standards. For example, highly efficient washers bearing the Energy Star label can wash the same items just as well using only half the water as older machines.
In addition, new technology allows these devices to monitor the level of soiling in each machine and shut down cycles if the clothes or dishes are clean. That means only the amount of water needed to complete a job is used before the machine shuts itself off.
Of course, keep in mind that users ultimately control how much water is used when working with appliances. For example, dishwashers should be loaded as close to capacity as possible to maximize use of the water. Also, in the case of clothes washers, it is helpful to run cleaning cycles that utilize cold or warm water. Reserve the use of hot water for objects such as sheets or underwear.
Leaking pipes are frustrating, no matter how much water may drip from them. Even a relatively mild leak that manifests itself as one or two drips every few seconds is costly over time. Hot water leaks are even worse, however, as the expenses associated with heating water are included in the overall totals.
Fortunately, most minor leaks that occur at the fixture level are repairable for a relatively small price. A new compression washer or ceramic part inside a faucet will often eliminate a leak immediately, and the small costs incurred by this repair will be more than paid for by preventing hot water from flowing down the drain.
Conserving hot water will save you money and help the environment. Call our trained professionals to get help saving hot water in your home!