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How to Use Less Hot Water and Reduce Energy Costs

Hot water heaters are the second largest expenditure of energy in most households. Reducing the flow of hot water throughout your house is often a simple fix involving a change of habit – turning on the cold faucet rather than the hot while washing your hands – that can save you money. Other hot water waste, such as a dripping faucet, wastes more than money. They waste the precious resource of water. Pronto Power, your Seagoville electric company, has amassed ideas on how you can use less hot water in your household, which directly impacts the amount you spend on your energy bill.

Purchase Energy Star certified appliances

Not only are today’s appliances more energy efficient than your parents’ appliances; they are more efficient than Energy Star appliances 5 years ago. Technology develops so rapidly it renders washing machines obsolete at about the same rate as cellular phones. Knowing this, look closely at the Energy Star rating on every appliance you purchase.

If you are torn between one dishwasher and another, check out their Energy Star ratings, as well as the amount of water each uses per wash and purchase accordingly.

Cold water clothes washing

Take a look at your bottle of detergent. Chances are, it states it either works well in all temperatures, or it may specifically mention it is designed to be used in cold water. Your clothes last longer and remain colorfast when washing and rinsing in cold water. If your clothes are extremely stained, wash in warm water, but use cold water to rinse.

Most washers are now front-loading because it cleans clothes more thoroughly and saves water. When comparing a top-loading washing machine with a front-loading one, go with the front-loading washer.

Use the dishwasher

It sounds backwards when you hear a dishwasher uses less water than hand washing dishes, but a new, water conscious dishwasher can use as little as 2.5 gallons per full load.

Many models now have an energy saver or water saver mode to bring down costs (remember, less hot water use equals less money wasted heating that water).

Another habit of many consumers is rinsing dishes before they enter the dishwasher. This step wastes your time and energy. A newer dishwasher will remove caked on food without difficulty.

Lower the temperature on your hot water heater

The temperature on your hot water heater should not exceed 140°. Below that, opinions differ. Many sources believe a hot water heater set at 120° prevents scalding, deters mineral buildup on pipes, and lowers electricity costs. Other sources argue a temperature below 140° will not kill Legionella pneumophila, the pathogen responsible for Legionnaires disease. However, the amount of L. pneumophila present is considered safe for the general population.

Another facet of the hot water temperature focuses on dishwashers, which require a temperature of 140° to kill pathogens. If your hot water heater is set at 120°, you can purchase a dishwasher with a booster heater to raise the washing temperature to 140°. This feature has a cost involved, but it pays for itself in about a year with the money saved from lowering the hot water heater temperature.

Change out showerheads

Much like Energy Star, showerheads have WaterSense labels showing they meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for water efficiency without negating performance. Look for WaterSense labels when you purchase showerheads, which are generally simple to install and can save several gallons of water per minute.

Modern low-flow showerheads are categorized as either laminar flow or aerating.
Laminar flow showerheads create individual streams of water and create less steam and moisture outside the shower.
Aerating showerheads combine air with water to form a misted spray. These smaller, aerated droplets will form clouds of steam and mist in your bathroom. EPA guidelines state showerheads can no longer have a flow rate exceeding 2.5 gallons per minute.

Stop running water

When you wash your hands, brush your teeth, and even while showering, turn off the water while you clean.

Also, keep in mind that showering uses significantly less water than taking a bath, especially if your showers are 10-15 minutes in duration.

Go for the cold

Turn the knob to the right when rinsing, or use the right knob (cold) rather than the left (hot). Generally it is a matter of habit rather than necessity to use hot water while rinsing vegetables for dinner or washing hands after playing outside.

Want more water (and energy) saving tips? Contact your friends at Pronto Power by calling 1-844-621-2852 or visiting your Seagoville electric company online. We are thrilled to answer your questions and help you save money!

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