The current drought conditions have heightened everyone’s awareness of the need to conserve. All households rely on utilities such as electric, natural gas and water service to meet basic, everyday needs. Each day, you use these utilities to perform many daily tasks. But did you know that there is a direct relationship between energy and water? Pumping water to your home consumes a lot of energy — as does heating it for everyday use. Minor changes to your daily habits can help to reduce your water usage, in turn, helping to lower your energy footprint. This can contribute to lower utility bills – benefitting not only the environment, but your pocket as well! Here are some tips to reduce water and energy usage to save money on your utility bills:
- By switching to a water saving product, you save money on energy and water utilities. If your current showerhead was manufactured before 1992, switching to a water saving product could save you more than $260 a year if you have an electric water heater. Showerheads manufactured before 1992 use 2.5 times more water than efficient showerheads. Switching to a newer, more efficient water saving product will save you loads on water, which in turn helps you save energy and money, and protects the environment.
- Taking a shower uses much less water than filling up a bathtub. A shower needs enough energy to heat 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath takes up to 70 gallons! Lower water usage means lower energy, and reduced utility bills!
- Water heating accounts for 15% of home energy use, and the shower is probably your largest consumer of hot water. If you already have an ultra-low flow shower head, cutting a minute from your shower should save one to two gallons. Shorter showers lead to lower water and energy usage!
Water Heater Tips
- Settings: Next to heating or cooling, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home. To conserve energy, conserve hot water. Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit or about midway between the low and medium settings to help save energy and dollars.
- Insulation Blanket: Unless your hot-water storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), install an insulation blanket. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs. If you don’t know your water heater tank’s R-value, touch it. A tank that’s warm to the touch needs additional insulation.
- Wash and rinse laundry in cold water: Even without using warm or hot water, your laundry will still be clean, and using cold water saves $60 annually in a typical household.
- Switch to a front-loading washing machine: These use one-third to one quarter the water per load compared to a top-loading model. As an added benefit, the extremely fast final spin cycle leaves clothes drier, also saving energy!
One of the simplest ways to save both water and energy is to install water–efficient products. WaterSense labeled products not only save water, but can help reduce your energy bills. Installing WaterSense labeled faucet aerators in your bathrooms, for example, costs just a few dollars but could save you enough electricity to dry your hair every day for a year!
You can choose from thousands of models of WaterSense labeled plumbing products. What’s more, you can be sure the products will not only save resources, but will perform well. All WaterSense labeled products are tested and independently certified to ensure they meet EPA’s criteria for both efficiency and performance.
Start saving both water and energy! For more information, visit the WaterSense website.
In addition, some energy providers in our New York area offer programs to help you use water and energy more efficiently. These range from rebate programs to discounted prices on conservation devices. Learn more from our local energy providers below: