Did you know?
There are lots of easy ways to reduce your hot water energy use regardless of the hot water system in your home. It isn’t just about energy savings – if your water is metered, every litre you save is saving you money.
Wrap your hot water cylinder and hot water pipe
Pre-2002 electric hot water cylinders probably aren’t insulated effectively, so should be wrapped in specially-designed insulation. You should also insulate the first 1-1.5m of hot water pipe coming off your hot water cylinder. For an older (pre-1987) cylinder and pipes, you could save up to $85 a year. Note that you can’t put a cylinder wrap on a gas hot water system.
Check your hot water temperature
It should be 60°C at the cylinder (to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria) and no more than 55°C at the tap so you don’t get burnt (children are particularly vulnerable). Depending on your cylinder, you may need an electrician or plumber to adjust your thermostat. Even an extra 10°C on the thermostat of your hot water system could be costing you $30 a year.
Maintain your hot water system regularly
This includes gently moving the easing lever of the temperature/pressure relief valve every six months, to prevent it from sticking. Glass-lined water cylinders should have their anode changed every 5 years, more frequently in hard water areas. A plumber can help if you’re unsure. Depending on the type of system you have, you may need to do other forms of maintenance – check your manufacturer’s instructions.
Easy hot water habits
- Wash your clothes in cold water – at four loads a week, this could save you around $55 – $80 each year.
- Fill the sink – rather than leaving the hot water running when doing things like shaving.
- Shower rather than bath – it typically uses only half as much water and energy.
- Skip the hour long shower – in a household of three, each minute you add to your shower time is about $90 a year.
- Rinse dishes with cold – rather than hot water.
- Run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded – and on an ‘eco’, ‘half load’ or ‘fast’ wash setting if available.