Here are some effective ways to save on your hot water energy consumption. It will save you some money too. The less hot water you use, the less energy consumed, the less money it costs you for that energy.
There are a few simple things that you can do. Actually, they are habits that you might consider changing.
Regardless of your energy source, this will work for you. Me? My hot water energy source is LP propane. Maybe yours is natural gas. Or electric.
My hot water tank is a bit unique. The tank assembly itself is not ‘gas fired’. Rather, it’s a well insulated holding tank. The tanks’ water is heated by a system of internal coiled pipe which itself contains water that’s heated in the neighboring LP gas furnace. It’s pumped and cycled in and out of the hot water tank (back and forth from the furnace) as it heats the tanks’ water reservoir.
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter how it works.. the point being is that this is what motivated me to experiment with saving on hot water energy consumption.. Because I was curious whether or not I could reduce my propane consumption. And that thought also arose from my attempt to calculate and estimate how long a full tank of LP / propane would supply the house. Why? Just curious regarding a worst case scenario of supply chain disruption.. A mental exercise of sorts.
Ways to save on your hot water consumption and costs
Okay, back to the issue of how to save on your hot water energy consumption.
Break the habit of always turning on the hot water faucet handle
Right handed people instinctively use left hand to turn on hot water
This one is interesting, and effective. Since we’ve changed this habit, I have definitely noticed fewer cycles of my hot water tank / furnace combo.
Most of us are right handed. Studies suggest that approximately 90% of people are right-handed (source). Why does this matter in this context? It has to do with when we’re at the sink. Washing hands. Brushing teeth. You name it..
If there’s something in our right hand, we reach for the faucet handle with the left hand. And the left faucet handle is the hot water.
Do we really need to use the hot water for everything? Answer: No.
I’m right handed. Nowadays when I’m holding my toothbrush, I use my left hand to reach a bit further over to turn on the cold water instead of the hot water. Break the habit of always using the hot water.
Maybe you’re rinsing a dish in the kitchen sink. Do you really need the hot water? Maybe, if it’s greasy. But not always, right?
Did you know that using a dishwasher to wash dishes usually saves lots of water (and hot water) compared to washing them by hand? Yup..
Turn down your hot water temperature just a bit..
Every hot water tank has an adjustment for how hot the hot water gets. I turn down my hot water temperature during the summer because I don’t need a very hot shower during the summer (though more enjoyable during the winter ;). I would rather a warm/cool shower after a hot day’s work anyway! It makes a difference.
Here’s how I noticed that all this makes a difference. Every hot water tank has a thermostat. A hot water tank that has heated itself up to its ‘set’ temperature, will rest nice and easy while holding that hot water. The tank is insulated. It stays hot for a good period of time. The tank only very slowly cools down – until it reaches the thermostat threshold to fire back up again until it reaches the hot water temperature setting.
Use washing machine only when you have a full load
You can probably fit more clothes in the washing machine than you realize. Now ladies.. I know you might disagree. But from an energy saving perspective, you will consume a lot less hot water with fewer washing machine loads during a given time period.
I know.. I’m a guy.. I’ll just throw everything in the washer for one load if it were up to me. Mrs. J is in charge of this at the MSB homestead. Yes she does separate loads for particular types of clothes. But at least we have one of those front loading energy saving washers..
All of your incremental hot water savings adds up
When you’re constantly using (throughout the day) a bit of hot water here, a bit of hot water there, etc.. your hot water will trigger the thermostat more often. More fuel consumption. More energy and cost.
But on the other hand, breaking a few ordinary habits can noticeably save fuel/energy when it comes to hot water usage.
[ Read: Hot Water Without Electricity ]