In the United States, about a quarter of every energy dollar spent in a residential home goes to heat hot water. Changing the type of water heater used to a more-efficient model can help, but if your conventional water heater is working fine, consider the following tips:
- Install low-flow fixtures in sinks, bathtubs and showers.
- Fix leaks right away.
- Purchase energy-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers.
To determine if your shower head qualifies as low-flow - a rate less than 2.5 gallons per minute in the United States - the Department of Energy recommends placing a bucket marked in gallon increments under the shower head. Turn on the water to the pressure you normally use and time how many seconds it takes to fill to the 1-gallon (3.8 liter) mark. Anything less than 20 second means your energy bills might benefit from a low-flow shower head.
Both dishwashers and clothes washers come in small-capacity sizes which can seem to be more energy efficient at a glance. However, if the smaller capacity means more loads of dishes or clothes, the savings can be eaten up over time.