Did you know that next to your furnace and AC, your tank or tankless water heater is the home appliance that uses the most energy?
We use hot water for a lot of things on a daily basis: showering, laundry, dishes. All that hot water adds up.
This got us thinking: there must be people out there like us who want to whittle down that energy bill. We’ve already covered how to reduce costs with your furnace and how to reduce costs with your air conditioner – but you can’t forget about your hot water heater.
Use these tips to use less hot water and less energy to get more savings.
1. Turn Down the Temperature When You Use Hot Water
Tanks often come from the factory set to heat water to a higher temperature than we really need. But you can’t set it too low – in Canada it is recommended to keep your hot water tank at 60°C to eliminate bacteria – particularly Legionella.
So how do you moderate the temperature and amount you use? We recommend installing anti-scald valves. These will help protect people (especially kids) from water that’s too hot.
We also recommend more actively reducing the temperature when you use the taps.
For example, if you have to rinse a dish, use lukewarm water instead of exclusively hot water. Or try washing your hands at a cooler temperature (don’t forget the soap!)
2. Take Shorter, Cooler Showers and Use Low-Flow Fixtures
A family of four uses approximately 482 litres of hot water a week just by showering 5 minutes a day with a standard shower head.
One of the best ways to use less hot water is to reduce the length of your showers and opt for a lower temperature. Even a slight adjustment will help.
A guaranteed way to save money on both your energy and water bills is to install low-flow fixtures. Manufacturers have come a long way in making water-conserving fixtures that will still deliver the pressure and overall experience of a standard shower head or tap.
3. Insulate Exposed Pipes
How many times have you run the tap, testing it continuously with your finger until it was the right temperature?
We waste a lot of water waiting for it to be “just right”. By insulating exposed water pipes, you can help the water stay warmer as it travels to your taps, which means it takes less time to heat up.
You can use pop-on insulating foam sleeves specifically designed for your pipes. They can be found at local hardware stores, and are a worthwhile investment that will save you both water and money.
4. Use a Cover for Your Water Tank
Older water tanks don’t have the built-in insulation that modern tanks do. Insulation levels are measured in standby loss in Canada.
This means you have to spend more to keep your water warm, and will end up running water more to reach your desired temperature.
Adding an insulating jacket to a hot water heater will help you increase efficiency by reducing the amount of heat lost.
Please note: Make sure your insulating jacket is designed for gas-powered tanks.
5. Have Leaks Repaired Right Away
Leaks can really add up. And hot water leaks, wherever they are, cost you even more money – not to mention potential damage to your home.
You should regularly inspect all your plumbing fixtures and hot water heater for potential leaks. Don’t forget to check the drywall in your home for signs of leaks, especially on ceilings and walls below upstairs bathrooms.
6. Don’t Leave the Water Running
It’s easy to leave the water running when we wash our hands, while brushing our teeth, doing dishes, or get ready for the shower.
But this is literally money down the drain. All that hot water is not only going to show up on your water bill, but on your energy bill as well.
Start breaking bad habits by putting up a little note by your taps, reminding everyone in your household to turn off the water when they aren’t using it.
7. Only Run Your Dishwasher When It’s Completely Full
Dishwashers are amazing – most of us couldn’t live without one anymore, especially when we have families that are always on the go.
But you should never run your dishwasher unless it is 100% full. Otherwise you’re wasting hot water.
If you’re in the market for one, newer dishwashers are more efficient, and come with more control over load size and water usage.
8. Wash All of Your Clothes in Cold Water
Let’s face it – most people aren’t in love with the task of doing laundry. But there are at least some ways that you can use less hot water and save yourself a little more money.
The biggest change you can make is washing all of your clothes in cold water. This will drastically reduce how much hot water you use, especially if you do multiple loads of laundry a week.
Cold water will also help your clothes last a lot longer – especially stretchy fabrics. The key is to use a laundry soap that’s meant for cold temperature washing.
9. Purchase a New Energy-Star Rated Water Heater
One of the best ways to use less hot water is to get a new water heater with a high efficiency rating.
But not just any water heater will do the trick: to really make a difference in your bill, you need a tankless water heater. Or – learn about the differences between boilers and hot water heaters.
With Tankless Water Heaters, You Save Water and Money
The great thing about tankless water heaters is that they only heat water when you need it. No more paying to heat water that’s just sitting there, waiting to be called into action. Instead, you’ll get the hot water you need, when you need it.
We’ll also help you figure out if a tankless water heater is the right choice for you.
Whatever you decide, Knight will provide you with professional advice, high quality service, and an installation you can trust for years to come.