I blogged about our new habits and inexpensive energy efficient DIY projects right here on Condo Blues in the very first year of this blog. Long story short, we reduced our use by 32% and kept it that way while staying toasty warm, clean, and well fed.
And using less energy than comparable families and homes in our area – including the Energy Star rated homes of which we are not.
Until recently when natural gas bill started to creep higher. Not break the bank, we’rel going to starve high, but high enough to knock our house from constantly rating Very Good to smack dab in the middle of Good.
I wanted to figure out what’s going on because I had bragging rights on the line!
Turns out we were wasting too much energy heating water and after addressing Tips One through Three we lowered our energy and hot water heating bill.
Bragging rights restored!
12 Cheap and Easy Ideas to Lower Your Home’s Hot Water Use
2. Wrap a water heater insulation blanket around your hot water heater to ensure it keeps the internal temperature consistent without needing more energy because it is working harder.
This is especially true if your water heater is in a cold basement, closet, garage, or utility room.
Some of the suggestions in this tutorial are something that I’ve relied on and like so much that I have no problem recommending them to you (and using my affiliate links.) Throw me a bone and use them for your shopping, will ya? It helps me keep the lights on at no additional cost to you. Thanks!
3. Insulate the water pipes going to and from your water heater with Pre-Slit Tubular Polyethylene Foam Pipe Insulation for the same reasons as in Suggestion Number Two.
4. Only wash full loads of laundry in the washing machine. I use a three section laundry hamper like this one for my family’s dirty clothes. One full section is about one full load of laundry (also I don’t have to worry about accidently mixing up a red sock in a load of white shirts.) I hand wash an item I need right away if I don’t have enough laundry for full load or make a load by popping in towels, reusable shopping bags, napkins, etc. from their hamper in the kitchen.
I’m organized because I’m lazy - and lowers my water bill!
5. Only wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher (if you have one) and double check the water use of your dishwasher settings. Similar to the full load deal in Suggestion Number Four. I thought I was saving hot water using the Smart Wash setting on lightly dirty dishes. I was surprised to learn the Normal setting uses less water than the Smart Wash setting!
6. Try not to run the washing machine and dishwasher and/or take a shower at the same time. You will make your water heater work harder and use more energy for two or more large hot water activities than one at a time.
7. Consider washing laundry in cold or at least warm water instead of hot. The only reason I now wash all of our clothes in warm water (and still save on my water heating bill) is I had to switch to powdered laundry detergent to keep the replacement washing machine from stinking and powder works best for me in warm water. Before that I used liquid detergent in cold water in my used top loading washing machine during our one year project which exceeded our goal.
8. Fill the bathtub with just enough bathwater to get the job done. In other words, try not to fill the tub to the tippy top with water.
9. Before you change faucet aerators and showerheads, check them and your water heater for lime scale and your plumbing situation. All of these things can change performance and are easily fixed. You might already have low flow showerheads and faucets and not realize it!
For example in the United States:
- Before 1992 showerheads used between 3 to 5 gallons of water per minute (gpm.)
- In 1992, the federal government mandated showerheads use 2.5 gpm. This is considered a low flow showerhead.
- A high efficiency showerhead that can qualify for the Watersense label must use less than 2.0 gpm.
7. Try to take short showers. Use a shower timer like this one if you or yours needs help getting into the habit.
Sometimes replacing a 2.5 gpm low flow shower head with a different style and spray pattern is all you need to save water!
For example, I was able to cut time it takes to bathe Lacey in half by switching the narrow spray 2.5 gpm showerhead that came with my house with a wider spray 2.5 gpm showerhead that also has a hand spray arm (it is the Delta In2ition 2 in 1 Hand Shower in case you are wondering.) I can turn the sprayer on and off easily to give Lacey a Navy style shower and rinsing takes less time and water because the showerhead itself has a larger spray area.
I appreciate the shorter bath time but I’d prefer no baths at all!11. Try not to let the hot water faucet run excessively when hand washing clothing in a sink, doing dishes, or brushing your teeth. I try but I’m also the first to admit I am bad at this.
12 Find and fix leaks in shower heads and faucets as soon as possible. You have no idea how much money is dripping down the drain. It is worth it to call a plumber if you can’t fix it yourself.
How do you save money on your hot water bill?
Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.