This Thursday is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day — a day to recognize how to make changes in your home that can reduce your utility bills and improve the environment. Considering that heating the water in your home accounts for around 12% your utility bill, this is a great time to make adjustments to the way you use water at home. The first thing to consider is how energy efficient your water heater is. Most water heaters last 10–15 years, so even if it seems to be working well but is close to that age, you may still want to replace it. The energy savings alone could pay for the new unit after just a few years, and a newer unit is much better for the environment. Ask a plumber at Putman Plumbing for recommendations on water heater brands and models.
If you’re not ready to make a major purchase just yet, here are simple ways to reduce energy and save on your water heating bill.
- Take showers instead of baths, and make them short. Filling up the bathtub almost always uses more water, and more energy, than the average shower. If you have small kids who love baths, just fill up the tub with enough water for them to splash in. Remind older kids and other adults in your home to limit their showers to 10 minutes or less — and if you can, shave with the water off.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F. This is a big one, since you can save from 3%–5% on water heating costs for every 10 degrees you lower the thermostat.
- Use cold water for laundry. Yes, you’ll still want to wash bedding and towels with hot water, but you can always use cold water for the rinse cycle.
- Only use the dishwasher when it’s full. You’ll waste a lot of heated water if you’re only washing half a load. Also select shorter wash cycles, – something many homeowners don’t even consider until they look at the options on their dishwashers.
- If your dishwasher is ancient, save up for a new ENERGY-STAR unit. Each cycle will use around 5.8 gallons of water instead of the 10 that your old dishwasher uses.
- Call a plumber to fix leaks. Even a leak as small as one drip per second is costing you an extra $1 per month. At 60 drips per minute, you’re wasting 8.64 gallons per day, and over 3,000 gallons per year. That’s a lot of good water being wasted.
- Install low-flow fixtures. Shower heads and faucets manufactured before 1992 use more than twice as much water as new ones. New, low-flow shower heads are fairly cheap and can save 25%–60% on your energy bill.
- Ask a Frederick County plumber to install heat traps on your water heater tank. This can save $15–$30 on your water heating bill.
- Insulate water pipes connected to the water heater. If you’re not sure how to do this, contact Putman Plumbing for advice.
- Buy a timer for your electric water heater. This will allow you to turn off the heater at night or times when you don’t use it.