Hot water use is one of the first things you should address when you start thinking about savings. About 25-30 per cent of your home’s energy use belongs to hot water systems alone.
That’s a lot of money just for heating water.
If you’re feeling the pinch when it comes to money the good news is there are some incredibly simple ways to save. Some of them can even happen before you go to bed tonight!
Take a look at our 9 tips to save hot water expenses.
Take Shorter Showers
Okay, okay, you’ve heard this one before. But the thing is, shorter showers are the first thing you can do to save money. In a family of four, the difference between daily 5 minute or 15 minute showers could easily be $1000 per year. If you can shower during off-peak times, you can also save on some costs.
Besides, not only will shorter showers save considerable cash, they save a lot of water too.
Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Paired with shorter showers, a low-flow showerhead is a simple, cheap way to save. You can buy a low-flow showerhead for as little as $20, and a 4-star rated showerhead in an average family could save around $300 a year.
The best part is you don’t compromise on water pressure, just the amount of water which is used.
Fix Leaking Taps
When you first notice a leaking tap you put up with the occasional drip while you’re in the bathroom or laundry. But do you know just how much water that could actually waste? If left alone, a dripping tap can waste up to 20,000 litres of water every year!
While it’s not directly a hot water issue, fixing your dripping taps will save a considerable amount of money – and water.
Lower the Thermostat Temperature
In a storage tank, the recommended thermostat temperature is 60°C, while an instantaneous unit should be set at 50°C. Why 60°C, you may ask, well that’s the optimum temperature to kill off bacteria that could grow in the storage tank. If your temperature is any higher, well that’s just wasted energy. Particularly as the tempering valve reduces hot water back to 50°C for when it comes out of the tap.
Insulate Your Hot Water System
Insulation helps reduce heat loss, which is beneficial for storage tank owners. Even when it’s not in use, a storage tank heats the water. Insulation retains heat so the heater does not have to turn on as frequently.
Likewise, insulating the pipes will conserve heat as the water’s delivered to your taps, especially in exposed outdoor areas.
Book Regular Maintenance
When was the last time your hot water heater was serviced? If you can’t remember, book it in. Regular maintenance prolongs its life and efficiency. Sediment in the unit, faulty or damaged parts will all impact how hard your hot water system has to work, for the bare minimum output. More work equals more money spent.
Use Cold Water in the Laundry
Roughly 13 per cent of your home’s water use takes place in the laundry. This could be more or less depending on the WELS rating. For example, a medium sized 2-star unit can use about 130 litres of water per wash, while a 4-star model uses 60-70 litres.
Just think of the amount of hot water used during a warm wash. If you can, stick to cold as it’ll save you a considerable amount of money over a lifetime. Also, look at upgrading your washing machine if the water and energy ratings are low.
Maximise Dishwasher Efficiency
A dishwasher does need hot water, so the key is to maximise output by washing full loads only. Shorter washing cycles, off-peak use and not rinsing dishes pre-dishwasher will also help.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, use as little water as possible in the sink. And don’t let the tap water run down the drain while you wash.
Upgrade Your Hot Water System
How old is your hot water heater? Five years, 10 years, 15 years? Hot water systems which are 10 years or older are nowhere near as efficient with newer models. Instantaneous units and storage tank systems do have different life spans so it’s not always black and white, but you can definitely save with newer models.
Potential changes could include swapping your electric storage tank for a gas instantaneous system. Or, you could even take advantage of government rebates and install a solar hot water system (or solar panels). Hot water heat pumps are also an efficient, electricity-based unit which is environmentally friendly and effective.
Also consider upgrading dishwashers and washing machines if they’re starting to look ancient, with water efficiency and energy efficiency two key areas you can save in with recent models. High WELS rating options are going to give you maximum benefit in all areas.
Contact Jim’s Plumbing for Your Hot Water Needs
If you’re considering a hot water system replacement, showerhead installation or hot water service, call Jim’s Plumbing today! Our licensed plumbers and gas fitters can work with any system and provide suitable advice for you to achieve the most savings.
Whether it’s a regular maintenance visit or emergency plumbing fiasco, Jim’s Plumbing can be there 24/7 with $0 deposit, interest free payment plans** for your peace of mind.