How to Minimize Hot Water Usage
A water heater unit is a common necessity for many people all over the world, especially those who live in cold areas and have the winter season. Others may even find it a lifesaver because it can be very convenient in helping to provide us with hot water around the house. However, even if it is very convenient and it makes our lives a bit more comfortable, many people think that water heaters consume a lot of energy, and a lot of energy consumption equates to a higher electricity bill.
Of course, we would like to have a lower electricity bill each month, but how can we do that and still enjoy the benefits of using hot water at home each day? The simplest solution to that is to use less hot water, but knowing how to pull that off is not as easy as it seems. Good thing that there are ways on how to use hot water and still be able to save on energy (thus, save on energy bills).
Below are simple and easy ways on how to minimize hot water usage for energy savings:
1. Fix Leaks
This is probably the very first thing that you can do in your home if you want to save at least some money on hot water consumption. Leaks, no matter how big or small they are, should be fixed up as soon as possible because you are still responsible for paying for them even if you did not really use them. Did you know that a leak of one drip per second can cost you roughly about $1 a month? By simply repairing or fixing leaks in your fixtures at homes such as leaks present in showerheads, faucets, and other pipes, you can significantly minimize hot water usage.
Be aware that if the tank of your water heater unit leaks, you might need to purchase a new one.
2. Use Fixtures that have Low-Flow Rates
Federal rules and regulations nowadays mandate that new showerhead flow rates must not go beyond more than 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Additionally, new faucet flow rates must not exceed 2.5 GPM at 80 or 2.2 GPM at 60 psi. You can buy some good quality, low-flow fixtures for maybe about $10 to $30 per piece and attain water savings of about 25% to 70%.
In order to achieve maximum water usage efficiency, you need to choose a showerhead that has a flow rate of less than 2.5 GPM. There are actually two fundamental types of low-flow showerheads available in the market, which are called laminar-flow and aerating showerheads. Aerating showerheads are those that mix air with water, thus creating a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads, on the other hand, create individual streams of water. If you are residing in a climate that is quite humid, then you might want to use a laminar-flow showerhead due to the fact that it will not make as much moisture and steam, unlike an aerating shower head.
Before the year 1992, showerheads at that time have had flow rates of 5.5 GPM. Thus, if you use fixtures that belong to the pre-1992 years, then you may want to replace them, especially if you are not sure what their flow rates are. Below is a simple and quick test to know whether you need to replace a showerhead or not:
Put a pail that is marked in gallon increments under your bathroom showerhead.
Turn on the shower at the usual water pressure you prefer to use.
Note the time how many seconds it takes to fill up the pail to the 1-gallon (or 3.8 liters) mark.
If it takes less than 20 seconds for the water to reach the 1-gallon mark, then you ought to replace your showerhead with a low-flow one.
The aerator, or the screw-on tip of the faucet, is the one that determines the maximum flow rate of a faucet. Generally, new kitchen faucets nowadays are already equipped with aerators that limit flow rates to 2.2 GPM, while new bathroom faucets are equipped with aerators that limit flow rates from 1.5 to 0.5 GPM.
You ought to know that aerators are very cheap to replace and they can be considered one of the simplest yet most cost-effective water conservation techniques you can do at home. In order to achieve maximum water efficiency, you can buy aerators that have flow rates not exceeding 1 GPM. There are some aerators that even come with shut-off valves that let you stop the water flow without affecting the temperature. If you are going to replace an aerator, do not forget to bring the one you are going to replace to the store with you so that you are ensured of a proper fit.
3. Use Dishwashers and Clothes Washers that are Energy-Efficient
Most people agree that one of the biggest energy costs at home is washing dishes and clothes that require hot water. You can actually reduce your energy costs significantly if you buy and use an energy-efficient dishwasher and clothes washer.
Most people think that if they wash dishes by hand can save them a lot of hot water. However, if you wash dishes by hand many times per day, it can actually turn out to be more expensive than using an energy-efficient dishwasher. When used properly and when using only with full loads, an energy-efficient dishwasher can significantly help you to consume less energy. If you want to make sure that your dishwasher is energy efficient, get one that has an Energy Star label.
Regarding hot water usage, clothes washers differ from dishwashers because they do not require a minimum temperature to achieve optimum cleaning results. Thus, if you want to reduce energy consumption, you can use either cold or lukewarm water for most of your laundry loads. For rinsing, cold water is often sufficient enough. If you want to ensure that your clothes washer is energy efficient, get one with an Energy Star label.