Formerly Jim's Plumbing

6 Ways to Reduce Hot Water Costs

Hot water is a daily necessity, from morning showers to washing dishes at night. However, many of us don't realise how much it contributes to our monthly energy bills.

Reducing your hot water costs isn’t just good for your wallet; it’s also beneficial for the environment by decreasing energy consumption. Luckily, making a few adjustments to how you use and maintain your hot water system can lead to significant savings.

In this post, we’ll explore six effective strategies to cut down on your hot water expenses without compromising on comfort. Whether it’s tweaking your water heater settings, upgrading to more efficient appliances, or simply changing a few habits, there are plenty of ways to make impactful changes.

These tips will help you enjoy the same level of comfort and convenience while lowering your monthly bills. So, let’s get started and find out how you can start saving on hot water costs today.

1. Check the Thermostat on Your Water Heater

One of the simplest ways to reduce your hot water costs is by adjusting the thermostat on your water heater.

For a storage tank hot water system, the thermostat should not be set lower than 60°C, so that dangerous bacteria (such as Legionella) can’t grow. However, if it’s set higher than 60°C, you’ll be paying inflated energy bills.

Instant water heaters (aka continuous flow or tankless water heaters) can be set at 50°C as water isn’t stored in a tank and so doesn’t run the risk of growing bacteria.

Woman changes thermostat on a water heater

2. Insulate Your Water Heater and Pipes

Did you know that insulating your water heater and the pipes leading to and from it can be a game changer for your energy bills? Many people overlook this simple step, but it can significantly reduce heat loss, keeping your water hotter for longer without requiring constant reheating.

If your water heater is in a garage or a space that isn’t heated, this tip is especially important. Insulating jackets for water heaters are affordable and easy to install. You can find them at most hardware stores, and they typically pay for themselves in energy savings within a year.

Similarly, insulating your hot water pipes prevents heat loss as water travels from your heater to your faucet or shower, meaning you won’t need to run the water as long to get it hot, which saves both water and energy.

Taking the time to add insulation is a low-cost, high-impact project that can start saving you money right away. So, grab some insulation this weekend and start making your hot water system more efficient.

3. Install Low-Flow Fixtures

A straightforward and effective way to cut down on hot water costs is to install low-flow fixtures, like showerheads and faucets. This upgrade can reduce your water usage significantly, which in turn lowers the amount of hot water you need to heat. It’s a double win for both your wallet and the environment.

Low-flow fixtures are designed to provide the same performance as standard fixtures but use a fraction of the water. For example, older showerheads typically use around 19 litres of water per minute, whereas low-flow models use less than 8 litres per minute. This change can save thousands of gallons of water annually, translating to substantial savings on both your water and energy bills.

Installation is usually straightforward and something you can do yourself in just a few minutes. Many of these fixtures come with easy instructions and require no special tools. Once installed, you’ll start saving immediately with every shower you take or every time you turn on the faucet. Why not make the switch today and start seeing the benefits?

4. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can make a big difference in your hot water costs. These modern devices are designed to use less water and energy while still providing top-notch performance.

Here’s how they can help:

  • Dishwashers: New energy-efficient models use less water per cycle, cutting down on the hot water needed. They often include eco-friendly settings that optimise water and energy use.
  • Washing machines: Front-loading machines tend to be more efficient than top-loaders. They use less water for each load, which means less hot water and less energy to heat it.
  • Water-efficient technology: Look for appliances with the Energy Star rating label. These have been certified to meet strict energy efficiency criteria.
  • Long-term savings: Although these appliances might have a higher upfront cost, the amount you’ll save on your utility bills will more than make up for it over the lifespan of the appliance.

Consider these upgrades as an investment in your home’s efficiency and your pocketbook. Not only will you see reduced energy bills, but you’ll also be contributing to a more sustainable planet.

Couple pleased with reduced energy bills

5. Fix Leaks Promptly

A dripping tap or a leaking showerhead might seem like small issues, but they can add up to significant hot water wastage over time, driving up your energy bills. Fixing leaks promptly is not just about preventing water wastage; it’s also about being energy efficient and saving money.

Even a small leak can waste many litres of water a day, much of it hot water that your heater has worked hard to warm up. This means your water heater is using energy constantly to heat water that isn’t even being used effectively. Addressing leaks can therefore have an immediate impact on reducing your hot water costs.

Checking for leaks is simple: listen for drips, watch for puddles, or look at your water meter for unusual usage patterns. If you’re handy with tools, many leaks can be fixed with a few tweaks of a wrench or some plumber’s tape.

For more significant issues, though, it might be worth calling in a professional. Remember, the faster you fix leaks, the quicker you’ll stop unnecessary water and energy loss.

6. Optimise Your Water Usage Habits

Making small changes to your daily water use can lead to big savings on your hot water costs. Here are some easy habits to adopt that can significantly lower your energy bills:

  • Shorter showers: Try to keep your showers under 5 minutes. You’ll save on water and the energy used to heat that water.
  • Turn off the tap: Don’t let the hot water run while shaving or brushing your teeth. It’s simple but effective.
  • Cold washes: Opt for cold water when doing laundry. Modern detergents are designed to work well in cold water, and you’ll save on the energy needed to heat up the water.
  • Full loads: Always run your dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. This maximises efficiency and reduces the number of times you need to use these appliances.

By incorporating these habits into your routine, you not only reduce your hot water usage but also contribute to a more energy-efficient home. It’s all about making conscious choices to use resources more wisely.

Woman relaxes in hot bath

Small Changes, Big Results

We’ve explored several straightforward yet effective strategies to help you reduce your hot water costs. From adjusting your water heater’s thermostat to installing energy-efficient appliances, each method offers unique benefits and can contribute significantly to your monthly savings. Remember, small changes can lead to big results.

Implementing these tips doesn’t just lower your bills; it also enhances the efficiency of your home and supports environmental sustainability. Whether you choose to insulate your water heater, fix leaks promptly or optimise your daily water usage habits, you’re taking important steps towards a more energy-efficient lifestyle.

Start with one or two changes, and as you begin to see the difference in your energy consumption and costs, you’ll likely be encouraged to try more. Hot water is a vital part of our daily lives, but it shouldn’t be a major drain on our finances. With these six methods, you’re well on your way to enjoying the comfort and convenience of hot water, while keeping your expenses in check. Happy saving!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.