Reducing Hot Water Usage

One of the easiest and most sensible ways to lower hot water costs is to reduce the amount of hot water being used. In most cases, this can be done with little or no initial cost, and with only minor changes in lifestyle. Some common-sense tips for reducing hot water use include:

Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. These devices regulate and restrict water flow. Low-flow showerheads reduce flow rates from over 6 gallons per minutes (gpm) to about 3 gpm, and only cost a few dollars to purchase and install. Hot water use for an average shower can be reduced from 60 gallons to 30 gallons. These showerheads often include a valve or pushbutton which can stop water flow while "soaping-up".

Take showers instead of baths. With a low-flow showerhead installed, showering may only use one-third the hot water of a bath.

Use the lowest wash and rinse temperature settings available on clothes washers and dishwashers. An average load of clothes uses 32 gallons of water. Switching from hot washing to cold washing will save these 32 gallons of hot water. Likewise, an automatic dishwasher typically uses 14 gallons of hot water.

Operate clothes washers and dishwashers only when full.

Fix leaks in pipes and faucets. A leaky faucet can waste 3,000 gallons or more every year.

Reducing water use in general; also result in lower water and sewage costs, and can help lengthen the life of your plumbing equipment. Operating washing equipment only when full will also lengthen equipment life.

Examples of Savings:

If you heat your water with an 80% efficient natural gas heater, it would take about 0.62 therms of gas to heat 100 gallons of water 60°F. That leaky faucet, wasting 3,000 gallons a year, may only cost a few dollars to fix, but if left unrepaired would cost you $18.71 in fuel consumption (assuming $1.01/Therm).

If your water is heated electrically, it takes about 15 kWh to heat 100 gallons of water 60°F. If you wash two loads of clothes per week and can switch from hot to cold water, you could save over 3,300 gallons of hot water per year. This would save you $49.00 a year (at $0.098/kWh).