Saving Water and Energy
The water heater is the second biggest energy user in the home. You're charged for the water - and for heating it. An average family can spend about $290 a year just taking showers, and many families spend more.
- Install a low-flow shower head. They use half the water that regular ones use - and can save $2 a month per family member.
- Turn the water heater thermostat down to 120°F. That saves energy and prevents scalding.
- Take short showers. They use about half as much water as a full bathtub.
- Repair leaky water faucets. One drop a second can waste as much as 25 gallons a week!
- Buying a new water heater? Get one that is no larger than required for your household needs, and consider a heat pump water heater. These super-efficient electric water heaters cost more up-front, but can save a family of four around $330/yr according to the EPA.
If you use a dishwasher:
- Wash only full loads. It costs exactly the same to wash one dish as a whole load.
- Air dry dishes. If the dishwasher has an air-dry feature, use it.
- Hand-rinse dishes in cold water and only if you plan to wait a day or more before washing. Most dishwashers today do a great job of washing dishes without pre-rinsing. So save energy, water and elbow grease - and time.
- Fill dishwasher with detergent right before running. Dry detergent may harden, while liquid detergent can leak.
- Fill the dishwasher according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will allow the flow of water to properly clean the dishes.
If you wash by hand:
- Rinse dishes in groups rather than one at a time.
- Don't leave the water running.
- Don't wash a few dishes - wait unit you have a full sink.
- Wash laundry in warm or cold water instead of hot. Hot water needs to be used only for oily stains and very dirty loads.
- Lower the thermostat from the recommended 140°F to 120°F. Each 10 degree reduction in water temperature will generally save you 3 to 5% on your water heating costs.
- Wash and dry only full loads. The machine uses about the same amount of water whether you wash a full load or just one item.
- Clean the dryer lint filter after every load. Clogged filters drive up drying costs.
- Clean your outside dryer exhaust vent. It draws unwanted heat away from the house.
- Dry several loads of laundry in a row. Using the heat already there saves money.
- Dry clothes outside in good weather. Sunlight is free!
Last updated April 1, 2022