Save Energy, Save Water

One of the best ways to save on your energy bill is to reduce hot water consumption. Fixing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures, and switching to more energy-efficient appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines) are just a few simple ways to save energy by adjusting hot water usage. Here’s why:

Fix Leaks

Leaky fixtures and pipes can increase your energy costs by slowly adding up over a long period of time. In fact, a leak of one drip per second can add $1 per month to your energy bill—so imagine how much a larger leak, or several smaller leaks can cost!

Leaks are generally easy to fix, either by patching them at the point of the leak or by simply replacing the fixture or pipe.  This eliminates any additional cost caused by inefficiency. However, there is one exception:  if you have a leak in your water heater, you will definitely need to replace the unit.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Federal regulations state that showerheads must flow below 2.5 gallons per minute. Naturally, if your showerhead uses less water, then your energy costs will be smaller. Here is a handy test for determining whether or not your showerhead is low-flow and if you will need to replace it:

  1. Place a bucket under your showerhead and make marks in gallon increments.
  2. Turn on the shower at the normal water pressure you typically use.
  3. Start a timer and measure how long it takes to fill the bucket with 1 gallon of water. If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach 1 gallon, you should switch to a low-flow showerhead.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the best ways to save energy is to invest in energy-efficient appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. This is a great way to save energy because these appliances generally use a large volume of water.

One thing to consider about energy-efficient appliances–regardless of whether you are using a dishwasher or doing dishes by hand, how often you need to use your appliances determines how much water they use. An energy-efficient appliance sounds great on paper, but if it requires you to use it more often (because, say, the dishwasher has a smaller loading area), then it might end up costing you more money in the long run. Therefore, it is incredibly important to get information about an appliance before making a purchase. Checking the EnergyGuide label on each appliance is a great way to start.

Finally, here are some quick tips about washing machines:

  • Front-loading washing machines are better than top-loaders because they use less energy.
  • Use cold water for washing clothes whenever possible.  Eliminating the need to use your water heater for laundry can save you a lot of money. Therefore, a washing machine with both cold and hot water settings is valuable.