Did You Know? Saving Water Means Saving Energy

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You may not think about it, but every time you use hot water in your home, you’re also using energy. After all, that water has to be heated by something, which usually means your electric or natural gas water heater has to go to work. Water and energy use in your home is so interconnected that if you’re looking to cut energy costs, decreasing your water use may be one of the easiest ways.

Every time you use hot water in your home — for things like showers, laundry and dish washing — you also use electricity or natural gas. In fact, water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18 percent of your utility bill.

Average Hot Water Use

 

Here’s a breakdown of the use of hot water in an average U.S. home:

Activity

Average Use

Shower

10 gallons per day

Clothes washer

7 gallons per day

Dishwasher

6 gallons per day

Kitchen faucet

2 gallons per minute

Bathroom faucet

.05 gallons per minute

Total Daily Average

64 Gallons

 

Water (and Energy) Saving Tips

There are plenty of ways to cut back on the amount of hot water (and energy) that you use, and increase the efficiency of heating your water:

Improvement

Average Water Heating Savings

Install low-flow showerheads and aerators in your kitchen and bathroom faucets

25 to 60 percent (and about 7,800 gallons of water per year)

Repair leaks

Variable, but a leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month in hot water costs

Upgrade to an energy-efficient dishwasher

About 50 percent over older models (an additional 7 percent energy savings can be gained by using a “no-heat” drying cycle)

Wash clothes with cold water

Variable, but since 85 to 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is spent heating water, the savings can really add up

Set back the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F

From 3 to 5 percent for each 10 degree reduction in water temperature

Install a heat recovery system

Variable, depending on how it’s used

Install a whole-home tankless water heater

About 30 percent each month, compared with gas water heaters (more when compared with electric water heaters)

Install a solar water heater

Variable, depending on several factors

Install heat traps on your water heater tank

About $15–$30 off water heating costs each month

Insulate your water heater tank

If your tank’s R-value is less than R-24, about 4 to 9 percent

 

Sources

Flex Your Power, “Showerheads.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Install Heat Traps on a Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Insulate Your Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Lower Water Heating Temperature for Energy Savings.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Reduce Hot Water Use for Energy Savings.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Tips: Water Heating.”

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