In Australia, water heating accounts to 21 per cent of the household energy use – the second largest segment in the residential sector after heating and cooling. Consequently, people have been looking for more ways to heat water efficiently.
The first thing that might come up into your mind is to replace your existing unit with a high efficiency water heater. Although this may be true, there are other things you can do to reduce your water heating bill without spending a lot of money. Here are 4 of them:
Use less hot water
Indisputably, the best way to cut your water heating bills is to reduce your time in the shower. A warm bath may be more relaxing but it could use a lot of water to fill a bathtub. Take short showers instead.
Doing laundry in cold water is also a great way to reduce hot water usage. Using cold water not only reduces your water heating bill but also prevents shrinkage and the breakdown of dyes in the clothes.
Another way to significantly lower hot water use is to install water-efficient shower heads and faucets. This small investment can increase your energy and water savings by as much as 60 per cent.
Turn down the thermostat on the hot water system
Set the thermostat to 60 degrees Celsius for storage type and 50 degrees Celsius for continuous flow systems. Energy is used unnecessarily if the thermostat is set higher than the aforementioned temperatures.
However, it is advisable to heat the water above 60 degrees for at least 35 minutes before use, especially after returning from a vacation. This ensures that any bacteria that may have grown inside the tank are killed.
Insulate your hot water system
Insulating your storage tank as well as the water pipes prevents heat loss. Be careful not to cover the thermostat of an electric HWS. For gas-powered heaters, the top, bottom and the burner compartment should not be covered as well. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when insulating your hot water unit.
Installing heat traps on the cold and hot water pipes can help in reducing heat loss as well. While modern water heaters may have built-in heat traps, most of the old units don’t.
Maintain your water heater regularly
Water with high mineral content, commonly known as hard water, is largely made up of calcium carbonates. This compound is responsible for the formation of sediments inside the hot water storage tank which settles into the bottom.
Sediments impede heat transfer and reduce the energy efficiency of hot water storage tanks. To make matters worse, sediments can cause the heating elements to burn out in electric HWS. For gas HWS, overheating may occur that can damage the tank leading to premature failure.
Fortunately, these conditions can be avoided with regular maintenance. To remove the sediments, flush your water heater regularly. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before flushing your unit.
Given these points, your hot water system should be operating at optimum efficiency while saving you hundreds of dollars in water heating bills.