Hot water is one of life’s essentials and the good news is that you can reduce how much your household spends on heating water with a few simple changes.
Hot water taps are being turned on in homes around Australia all the time. From having a nice, hot shower to washing dirty dishes, it’s safe to say we’d be lost without them. In fact, the average household uses about 25% of its total energy consumption on heating up water.1
The good news is that there are simple ways to save hot water around the house. A few fixes here and there, plus some easy changes to your hot water habits, will help you reduce your hot water usage and lower your energy bills.
Why you should save hot water
There are two main reasons you should consider reducing your hot water usage at home:
- Using less hot water could reduce your energy bill
- By reducing energy consumption, you are also lowering your household’s greenhouse gas emissions
How you can save hot water around the house
Unless you have the budget to invest in a low-emission water heater such as a solar, gas or heat pump hot water system, then you may want to consider more economical ways to save hot water at home. Some of the things below require small tweaks to your everyday habits; others require a weekend (or more) of simple repairs and updates. Let’s get the jobs out of the way first.
For these updates and fixes around your home, you may need to enlist the help of a plumber or handyman if you’re at all unsure about how to get the job done:
- Fix leaks – if your taps or shower head are dripping, then this should be a priority, particularly if the leak is from the hot water tap.
- Check the pipes – fix any leaks in the pipes that carry hot water and check that they are well-insulated. Easier said than done if the pipes are hidden away in the walls but you can certainly check any exterior pipes.
- Invest in a water-saving showerhead – a low-flow shower head will reduce the amount of water (hot and cold) that you use when you shower, a win-win for your energy bill and the environment.
Then, there are some simple behavioural changes that could have a big difference on how much hot water you use each year:
- Shorter showers – in the average household, most of the hot water used goes down bathroom drains.1 Reduce your showers to four minutes or less, which may mean that you have to rethink things like how you wash your hair (for example, turn off the water while the conditioner’s in).
- Bye-bye, baths – if you’re in the habit of filling up the tub for a long soak each night, then you could save hot water by having a short shower instead. Depending on the size of your tub, filling up the bath generally uses more hot water than a shower.
- Use the cold cycle when washing clothes – generally, your clothes will come out just as clean if you wash them in cold water. If you’re keen to do a wash in warm or hot water, then choose a cold rinse if your machine allows.
- Change your dishwashing routine – if you wash your dishes in a sink full of soapy water with the tap running into the other sink (to rinse dishes under warm water as you go), it’s time to rethink your routine. Instead, you could stack all your dishes in the drying rack and then pour a jug of water over the lot to rinse off the suds. This will use less hot water than having the tap running that whole time.
The final word
By consciously using less hot water around your home – particularly in the bathroom – you could reduce not only your household’s overall energy consumption and bills but also your water usage!
- “Water Heating | Energy Rating.” http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/water-heaters Accessed 27 July 2018.