Most homeowners are happy to help the environment if they can, but everyone likes to save money. Fortunately, when it comes to hot water, the two often go hand-in-hand. Following these simple steps to reduce hot water costs will also conserve water and reduce energy consumption at the same time.
Insulate Your Water Heater
If you’d like to spend less on hot water, one of the best ways is to attack the problem at the source: your water heater. Inefficient water heaters can waste a lot of money, and you can seal in savings with water heater insulation. Pre-cut insulation blankets are inexpensive and easy to install, and they often pay for themselves within a year. If you’re not sure whether or not you need insulation, just feel your water heater’s hot water storage tank with your hand: if it’s warm to the touch, heat is being wasted.
Adjust the Thermostat
Many water heaters come with a factory setting of 140 degrees, which is not only wasteful, but creates a scalding hazard. In most homes, 120 degrees turns out to be more than warm enough for hot water, and there’s no need to ever turn your water heater’s thermostat higher than 130 degrees.
A lot goes down the drain when you take a shower—as much as 20 percent of your home’s water—and the more people live in your household, the greater the waste. It helps to simply take shorter showers, but installing low-flow showerheads will take water conservation a step further. Low-flow showerheads use 1.5 to 2 gallons of water per minute, compared to the 2.5 gallons used by a typical showerhead.
Dishwashers and Washing Machines
You can cut way down on hot water costs by loading your dishwasher and washing machine to full capacity every time you use them. Full loads mean fewer loads in the long run, which translates to less water consumption.