Sure, everyone has heard, “Don’t waste water!” But when has someone explained a few of the details? How much water does a house use in a year? How much does it heat in a year? Unless you look at the details of your bill, you may have never even checked to see how much your residence uses. And if you have a well, you likely may never know how much water you are using. The important thing to realize is that even if a well is supplying your water, you can still waste electricity by neglectfully using it.
Besides simply conserving hot water to save on water heating, there are a few things you can do so your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard.
The first thing that you can do is make sure your water heater’s thermostat is set to 120 degrees. That is more than hot enough for most uses and it will save you a fair amount of electricity at the same time. Drain a quart of water from your hot water heater every three months to remove sediment that can build up at the bottom of the tank. That sediment reduces the heat transfer, thereby reducing efficiency. Finally, insulate the first six feet of hot and cold water piping from the water heater as well as the water heater itself. For information on how to properly insulate a water heater and for more helpful tips on reducing hot water expenses, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s suggestions here.
Saving in Commercial Buildings
What do commercial buildings use water heating for? Proportionally speaking, commercial water heating only has half of the impact on an energy bill as residential water heating has on its average heating bill. It is definitely true that hot water is used much less in commercial buildings, mostly because there are few buildings that have bathing facilities, a major factor in water heating. Commercial buildings do heat water for laundry services and kitchen faucets/dishwashers, depending on the specific building, and all commercial buildings have hot water heating for bathroom sinks.
So how can you use hot water efficiently in commercial buildings? The best thing you can do is wait until the dishwasher is full before turning it on, and if you are rinsing dishes wait until you have a full sink, allowing you to rinse dishes and silverware in larger quantities. Another helpful habit is to only use full water pressure when needed. You do not always need to have the faucet on full blast to accomplish the task at hand. This idea definitely applies to bathrooms as well. You can cut your hot water usage in half by turning your faucet on halfway. It’s more than enough to get the job done and results in easy energy and water savings.