You can save money by using less hot water in your home. Use and waste less hot water to reduce your water heating cost. Water heating accounts for 18% of the cost of your utility bills. You can conserve hot water by repairing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures, and insulating accessible hot water pipes.
By repairing leaks on fixtures, such as faucets or showerheads, you can reduce the amount of hot water used. One drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons and cost as much as $35 a year. You will need to replace your water heater tank if it is leaking.
Install Flow Fixtures
According to federal regulations, new showerheads cannot exceed 2.5 gallons of water per minute at 80 pounds per square inch (psi). The flow rate of a new faucet cannot exceed 2.5 gpm when the water pressure is 80 psi or 2.2 at 60 psi. For around $10 to $ 20 per fixture, you can get quality low-flow fixtures that will save water by 25%-60%. Look for WaterSense-labeled products when purchasing new faucets and showerheads. WaterSense-labeled products have been independently certified by a third party and meet the specifications of the U.S. EPA regarding water efficiency and performance.
Select a WaterSense-labeled showerhead with a flow of less than two gpm for maximum water efficiency. Low-flow showerheads come in two main types: laminar and aerating. Aerating showerheads combine air and water to form a misty mist. Laminar flow showerheads create individual streams of water. You might choose a laminar flow showerhead if you live in a humid climate. It won’t produce as much moisture and steam as an aerating showerhead.
Some showerheads could flow up to 5.5 gpm before 1992. If you are not sure about the flow rate of your fixtures, it’s best to replace them. This quick test will help you determine if it’s time to replace your showerhead.
Under your shower head, place a bucket marked with gallon increments.
How many seconds does it take to fill a bucket up to 1 gallon (3.8 liters)?
A low-flow head could be beneficial if it takes you less than 20 seconds to reach 1 gallon.
The aerator determines the maximum flow rate, and the tip is screwed onto the faucet. New kitchen faucets are equipped with aerators which limit flow rates to 2.2gpm. At the same time, new bathroom faucets use aerators, which restrict flow to 1.5-0.5 gpm.
Aerators can be replaced easily and are one of the best ways to conserve water. Aerators with flow rates no higher than 1.0 gpm will provide maximum water efficiency. Some aerators come with shutoff valves, which allow you to stop water flow without changing the temperature. Bring the aerator you are replacing with you when you go to the store to make sure it fits properly.
Buy energy-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers
Heating the water is the biggest expense in washing dishes and clothing. You can reduce your energy bills by using and purchasing an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher and clothes washer.
Most people believe that hand-washing dishes saves water. Washing dishes by hand multiple times per day can cost significantly more and use more water than using an energy-efficient dishwasher. When used properly and only with full loads, an energy-efficient dishwashing machine can help you save energy.
Check the EnergyGuide Label when purchasing a new dishwasher to determine how much energy is used. Dishwashers are divided into two types: compact capacity and standard capacity. Close-capacity dishwashers appear more energy-efficient on the EnergyGuide Label. However, they can only hold fewer dishes and may require you to use them more often. Your energy costs may be higher in this situation than with a standard-capacity dishwasher.
A booster heater is one feature that can make a dishwasher energy-efficient. The booster heater raises the water temperature in the dishwasher to 140oF, the recommended cleaning temperature. Some dishwashers come with built-in boosters, while others require a manual selection prior to the start of the wash cycle. Some dishwashers only activate the champion when the heavy-duty wash cycle is selected. Dishwashers that have booster heaters are usually more expensive. Still, they can pay for themselves in less than a year with energy savings if you lower your water heater’s temperature.
The availability of different cycle options is another dishwasher feature that can reduce hot water usage. The shorter cycles use less water and, therefore, reduce energy costs.
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR® label.
Clothes washers do not require a specific temperature to achieve optimal cleaning. To reduce your energy costs, use cold or warm water to wash most loads of laundry. Rinsing with cold water is sufficient.
Energy-efficient machines can be three times more expensive to run than inefficient models. Choose a device that lets you adjust the temperature and level of water for different loads. Energy-efficient clothes washers also spin-dry clothes more efficiently, saving you energy during drying. Front-loading machines also use less water and, therefore, less energy than top-loaders.
EnergyGuide labels are often higher for small-capacity washers. A reduced capacity may increase the number of loads that you have to wash, increasing your energy costs.