Use of hot water and use of energy closely interlinked with each other. To produce hot water you need either electricity or gas. So, if you use more hot water more energy will be required. On the other way, your water company use power to purify and pumped water at your facility, as well as the energy needed for the treatment of sewerage water. Indirectly, the water and sewage bills are part of your energy bills. So, by saving water, you can reduce your water and energy bills.
We can save our water heating bill by using and wasting less hot water. Water heating bill is the second most significant cost 14-18% of household utility bills. To conserve hot water, we can install efficient appliances like energy start water heater, low flow fixtures, efficient dishwasher & clothes washer, Hi-tech shower head, and fix leaks.
To discuss hot water use, we have to know about the methods of water heating and their cost.
- Traditional Storage Water Heater – using a reservoir to heat water. It is a widely used water heater average cost is about $750.
- Tankless Water Heater – heat water based on your demand directly without using a storage tank. It is 8-34% energy efficient than storage type water heater. Based on features the price starts from $100 and goes up to $1500. Installation of these type of water heater is little technical.
- Heat Pump Water Heater- capture heat from the air and transfer it to the water tank. It can save up to 40% energy cost than other electric water heaters. However, it is not suitable for cold weather environment as it required 40 to 90 degrees air temperature range to operate. The initial cost is also high range $1500 - $2500.
- Solar Power Water Heater – use the sun to heat the water. This renewable power water heater helps to conserve energy more than like anything and emit almost zero greenhouse gases. However, the installation and panel cost is high as a range from $3000 to $5000.
- Condensing Water Heater – as like tank type but it uses exhaust gases that generally goes out by the duct. This type of water heater suitable for those who need a large capacity water heater, i.e., more than 55 gallons. Cost varies from approx. $500 up to $2000.
After the method of water heating, it comes to mind how much energy required to get hot water.
Though it is challenging to calculate the exact energy consumption to get household hot water, a study shows that average 20% of the energy bill or a quarter of fuel bills required to boiling water. Water heater capacity <55 gallons see about 4% boost on its efficiency, while larger water heater capacity above 55 gallons consumed about 25 – 50% of your utility bills based on the technology used.
Are you know the average hot water uses for indoor purposes –
25 gallons per use
10 gallons per use
6 gallons per use
Kitchen faucet flow
2 gallons per minute
2 gallons per minute
If we want to save energy heating to the water, we have to conserve hot water use. By taking following steps, we may do so.
Install low flow fixtures
As per Federal Regulations Mandate, the flow rate of new showerheads should not be exceeded 2.5 gallons per minute at the water pressure of 80 psi. By installing low flow fixtures, you may save up to 25 -60% hot water.
Water-sense leveled showerheads is more efficient than average. There are two basic types
- Aerator Showerheads – mix air with water, forming a misty spray which suitable for the dry climate.
- Laminar-Flow Showerheads – form individual streams of water, suitable for the humid climate.
In above two aerator showerhead save more water than laminar flow, the aerator is more energy efficient.
Take a shower than take a bath always helps to preserve more hot water and save energy. There are three types of shower valves available –
- Electric Showers – produce instant hot water when it passes through it.
- Mixer Showers – draw both hot and cold water and mix them before supply.
- Power Showers – use stored hot water, mix it with cold water and pumped by an electrically operated pump.
Use of gas instead of electricity is 40% more efficient, based on this theory between above three category power & mixer shower is more efficient than the electric shower. However, practically electric shower directly heat the water in line which saves water and energy waste. So from the perspective of saving energy, the electric shower is more efficient.
New faucets are more efficient than older versions. Replacement of old faucets with a new one is not so expensive, by spending $10 - $20 you can change. Moreover, it is one of the most effective water conservation measures.
As per the Department of Energy of the US, new kitchen faucet restricts flow rates up to 2.2 gpm, and modern bathroom faucet restricts flow rates to 1.5 – 0.5 gpm.
We usually think that washing dishes by hand is more energy saving than using appliances. However, if we wash dishes several times in a day, it will cost more than using a dishwasher. By proper use of a dishwasher, we can save water and energy.
There are two types of dishwasher – compact and standard. Tactically it seems that the compact design dishwasher is more energy efficient. However, the capacity of a small dishwasher is less than standard, causes of this it needs to use more frequently than standard. More use means more water and energy cost. On the other hand, the standard dishwasher will save your water bills if every time you use it with a full load.
Dishwasher with booster features saves more energy than normal one. It boosts the water temperature to 140° F internally required for optimum use. The initial investment for the dishwasher with temperature boost-up feature is high, but in the long run, it is energy efficient and returns your value within one year.
Shorter cycle dishwasher is another efficient features. The dishwasher with shorter cycle required less water than other models, thus saving energy.
Moreover, by choosing an energy star dishwasher during the purchase, you may save 31% energy and 33% water.
Among other indoor activities, the significant amount of hot water required for washing clothes. If we can use clothes washing machine efficiently, we may reduce our energy cost significantly. As like dishwasher, it's not needed any minimum temperature for optimum cleaning so that we can use cold/warm water instead of hot water.
As with other appliance by changing your old style clothes washer with a new energy star efficient washing machine, you can save you bill easily. The inefficient washing machine may cost three times higher than the efficient one. Front loading washing machine uses less water and energy than top-loaded one.
As like dishwasher, to get optimum benefit, it is better to use standard size than the smaller size washing machine.
Together, the small drop compilation will create a sea. A drip per second may not seem like much, but in a minute it will be 60 drips, in a day it will be 8.64 gallons, in a year it stands on 3,153 gallons of water. Which monetary value approximately $35 per year. So, don’t delay, fix your leaks today or change with a new one to be sure.
It is not possible to invest an arm and a leg for everyone to change all old appliances with a new one. Nonetheless, to save water and energy, there are some alternative low-cost options too. Like –
- Set the thermostat temperature at 120° F. By reducing every 10°F temperature we can save 3-5% water heating cost additionally
- Insulate the water heater storage tank as per recommended by the manufacturer and cover the cold and hot water pipes with insulation too.
- Use heat trap on your water heater tank. It helps to cut $15-$30 from your water heating bill.
- Use a timer to shut off the heater at night or when it not in use.
- Take a shower as a substitute for use bathtub, keep it as short as possible.
- Don't run the faucet while brushing your teeth, saving or go for find soap or bring another dish for the wash. All these extra minutes will compile much wastewater. Moreover, more…
An average household emits around 14 tons of greenhouse gases every year, mainly produce during generation of electricity for heating water. To keep this world greener for future generation let’s start using as much as renewable energy from today.