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Reducing Demand for Hot Water

Changing Your Water Heating Habits

The quickest way to reduce your water-heating expenses is by adjusting your habits. Some of these tips can make a surprising difference in consumption without causing much hardship.

  • Use cold water whenever possible.
  • Take shorter showers, Avoid running the shower for longer than needed before you get in. Consider installing a recirculating pump.
  • Run your washing machine with full loads. Waiting for full loads to build up decreases the number of wash loads needed. You'll use your water much less. If you must do a small load of wash, adjust the machine's level to match the load size. Don't use hot water setting on your washing machine. Modern detergents work perfectly well in warm or cold water, and your clothes will last longer.
  • Run your dishwasher with full loads. Set it to air dry to save additional electricity. Avoid pre-washing dishes when loading your dishwasher.

Simple Improvements

You can also make some inexpensive improvements to your water heating system that will produce a handsome payback. Taken together with the above changes in habits, these improvements can help most households save a third or more of their water heating bills.

Lowering Your Hot-Water Temperature

One of the most effective ways to reduce water heating bills is to reduce the temperature of water in your storage tank. That's because many storage water heaters are set to keep water at 140 degrees F. or more, causing more heat to conduct through the walls of the tank than would occur at lower temperatures. High water temperatures also encourage scale and corrosion to form inside the tank, shortening the life of the tank.

If you can keep it below 120 degrees F, the savings abound and you use less cold water mixture to get a usable temperature at the faucet.

Changing Shower Heads

Showering is typically the biggest hot water use in the house, and so should be one of the first places you turn to reduce your consumption.

Modern low-flow shower heads must by law deliver less than 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). Most can do this while still producing a satisfactory shower - a design advance that includes controlling the size of the droplets and mixing air into the water. In California, these as well as water saving toilet tanks must be installed when a home sells. Both buyer and seller need to sign off on it before escrow closes.

Insulating Storage Water Heaters

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