The bathroom is one of the essential parts of the home, but it’s also one of the most wasteful. For instance, water heaters aren’t exactly known for their energy efficiency. According to the Energy Information Administration, water heaters are responsible for 14 percent of the average home’s power consumption. And its design doesn’t lend well to energy conservation: they run 24/7 to keep your water hot. While you can always turn it off, you’ll have to turn it on again every time you need hot water.
Improvements in plumbing technology have made our lives easier. Many bathroom fixtures now consume less water and energy, and it’s not easier to perform trenchless sewer repair. However, some areas have been left out of the mix. Even the most efficient bathrooms consume a lot of water and energy.
Here are a few tips for making your bathroom more efficient.
1. Lower the temperature
The formula is simple: the higher the temperature, the more energy is required. A 50-degree drop can translate to a 5 percent reduction in power costs. Most heater models are preset to 140 degrees, which might be too warm for some people. Lowering the temperature to 120 or even 100 can lead to significant savings. The unit also exerts less effort when heating water.
2. Minimize water use
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’ll save more money on utility bills if you control your water use. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that each person uses up to 100 gallons of water a day. That includes showers, baths, and toilet use. A family of five uses up to 3,500 gallons of water every week.
Plumbing upgrades and adjustments to your lifestyle can lead to drastic water savings. New faucet aerators and water-saving showerheads help reduce the water coming out of the tap. Less water use also means less energy expended when heating water.
Dishwashers are known for consuming a lot of water as well. Consider buying an energy-efficient model that has a low-water setting. You can also skip the pre-soaking if the plates aren’t that dirty.
3. Perform regular maintenance
All water heaters require regular maintenance to keep it in top condition. For instance, a heater unit has to be drained of sediment at least twice a year. Sediment in the water gets filtered in the heater, and the buildup can result in lowered efficiency. A quick inspection every quarter and a drain every six months go a long way in keeping your heater in top shape.
4. Cover the plumbing
Pipes that are exposed to cool air carry hot water less efficiently. Keeping the tap running forces the heater to consume more electricity to compensate for the temperature loss. Investing in insulation reduces energy use and keeps your water warm for everyone.
Best of all, you don’t need a plumber to insulate the pipes. You can easily buy sleeves from your local home improvement store. Just wrap the sleeves around the exposed pipes, and you’re good to go. Pipes embedded in the walls can be safely ignored.
These things will help make your home’s plumbing system more energy and water-efficient. Using less water, lowering the thermostat, and investing in plumbing upgrades all play a role in reducing water use.