For the past two months we have kept the hot water heater turned off all day long, all except for 2 hours in the morning for showers and dishes.
I wish I could tell you this has saved us some money, but in all honesty we didn’t see any difference in our power bill.
So, unfortunately, this ended up not being a frugal tip at all! I think if we lower the temperature on the water heater, that would most likely make a difference in our bill. I’ll have to follow up on that theory as well!
In our effort to save money and reduce our hot water usage, I decided to look for some other ways to lower our expenses. Here are some of the tips I came up with!
Lower the Thermostat On Your Water Heater
An easy way to lower your expenses, probably without you even noticing it, is to lower the thermostat on your water heater.
Most manufacturers automatically set the thermostats at 140 degrees (60 C), but you’ll be comfortable with only around 120 degrees (48 C).
Take a bath after you’ve lowered the thermostat to 120 (48 C) – you probably won’t even notice the difference.
This tip not only can help you cut costs, but it will reduce the likelihood of you scalding yourself, too. It can also increase the longevity of your pipes and heater because it can slow down corrosion and mineral buildup.
Don’t Let the Water Run
I’m guilty of this one – sometimes, I leave the water on when I am brushing my teeth. Or I let the water run over my dirty dishes, rather than just washing them and getting it over with.
Make sure you aren’t letting water run unnecessarily.
Upgrade Your Appliances
If you’re using appliances that are more than a decade old, there’s a good chance that they aren’t as energy-efficient as they could be.
Now, I’m not saying to go out and completely overhaul your entire house. However, there are tons of new designs on the market tat not only use less water but are much more efficient when it comes to electricity, too.
If it’s time for an upgrade, consider new appliances with those features.
The same goes for your water heart itself. You will want to replace your heater that is more than ten years old, especially if it has any noticeable flaws or damages. Heaters that are old are not only inefficient but they could also cause serious damage if they happen to burst or leak.
If you’re ready for an upgrade, you might want to consider a tankless water heating system. This kind of system works by only heating water when it’s actually required.
It can save you nearly $100 per year, which doesn’t sound like much, but will add up over the course of the heater’s life.
Another option is a solar water heater. These can help you save a ton of energy. The most common systems involve liquids passing through tubing that is located in panels on your roof.
The liquid is then transferred to an insulated, sealed tank that contains copper coils. Your water will pass through those coils and then be fed to the boiler or water heater.
It will preheat the water and reduce the energy needed to bring the water up to temperature.
Take Quick Showers
Shorten your showers as much as possible. A lot of people wonder whether it’s more energy- and hot-water efficient to take a bath versus a shower. The savings depend on your habits.
For example, a long, hot shower might use more hot water than a bath. In most cases, though, a warm bath is going to use more water than a quick shower.
Install Heat Traps
Heat traps are included on many modern water heaters, but if you have a heater that is more than a decade old, you may want to install a heat trap.
This might not be a realistic option if your water heater is already on its way out, but if it’s in good condition, you can extend its life by adding a heat trap. You may need to have a plumber take care of this task, though.
Run the Dishwasher Efficiently
If you aver a dishwasher, use it intelligently. Only wash full loads and select shorter wash cycles. If you have a booster heater, use it.
Also, you don’t need to rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If there’s a ton of stuck-on food, yes – rinse first. however, in most cases, you are wasting hot water because you’re using it twice – once to rinse and then once in the dishwasher.
Prerinsing can also make your dishwasher work harder. It will cause the sensor to misread how dirty your dishes are and will adjust the settings to a lighter wash.
Don’t use the rinse hold on your machine, either – it will use up to seven gallons of hot water each time.
And while you’re at it, consider upgrading to an Energy Star dishwasher. Dishwashers with the Energy Star seal of approval use up to 33 percent less water and energy than standard dishwashers.
Plus, new dishwashers have those soil sensors that will determine the best wash cycle for optimal cleaning.
Consider Grey Water Heat Recovery
Grey water heat recovery involves running your hot water through thin copper pipes that encircle your shower drain. The water coming into your hot water tank is already preheated by the hot water going down.
It’s not worth installing this kind of system for baths, as the heater will fill up before the hot water drains. However, if you predominantly shower, it’s a great way to save money on hot water.
Up Your Insulation
This is a great tip, especially if you have an older house with an older storage tank. Make sure it’s insulated!
You’ll need to follow all manufacturer guidelines, like not covering the burner, thermostat, or top and bottom of your unit. However, insulting your tank can reduce heat loss and will prevent the heater form having to kick on as frequently.
You should also insulate your pipes – or at least, the first six feet of cold and hot water pipes. This can prevent fire hazards and will also help to conserve heat. Your tank won’t have to work as hard to reheat the water it has already heated.
Leaky faucets might just seem like minor annoyances, but the reality is that they can lead to a ton of hot water wasted.
Make sure you repair a leaky faucet immediately – if you have a plumbing leak, you could waste up to 90 gallons a day of water!
Install Low Flow Fixtures
Federal regulations require faucets and showerheads to have low-flow rates, meaning they’ll use about half as much water.
If you have older fixtures (those dating before 1992) you may want to upgrade. You can save up to 60%!
Use Cold Water
Whenever possible, use cold water. I know, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t really want ot take a cold shower every morning!” Luckily, you don’t have to – at least, not if you’re willing to use cold water for other uses.
For example, lots of us use hot water when we really don’t need to. Most types of laundry don’t require hot water, nor do basic grooming tasks, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
Switching to cold water can really put a dent in how much energy you use for these tasks.
When it comes to laundry, you can really save some serious money by using cold water. Did you know that a quarter of your hot water use is just for laundry?
Wash in cold water alone – use a special cold water detergent if you’re worried that your clothes won’t get clean enough – and use the least amount of water possible.
Not only is this better for your hot water bill, but it makes your washing machine more efficient and is easier on your clothes, too.
Drain Your Water Heater
Once a year, get in the habit of draining your water heater. Sediment in the tank can easily impede hat transfer and lower your unit’s efficiency.
This is an easy procedure, but you may want to call a water heater professional or follow the instructions given by your manufacturer.
Set Up a Timer
Most water heater tanks are always running. This is a huge waste of electricity and hot water. Set up a timer to turn your heater off at night, or during other periods when people aren’t using it.
That way, you’ll save energy and you could also add years to the life of your tank.
Time Your Hot Water Use
For those of us who are still heating our water with a standard water heater, here’s a great tip that comes straight from some little old ladies who know just what it’s like living on a tight, fixed income.
To save money on your water heating expenses, plan all of your hot water usage at one time during the day.
Whether morning or night, do all of your hot showers, dish washing, and laundry as closely together as possible. Once your hot water chores are finished for the day, turn the hot water heater off at the breaker box.
Do this consistently for a month and you ought to see a significant reduction in your power bill.
When I heard this idea I instantly thought it genius. Why in the world would I want to pay to keep that whole water tank hot all day long when I only need it several times a day?!
The trick is going to be planning. My husband likes a hot shower first thing in the morning. So either I’ll have to leave the hot water heater on all night, or get up 30 min. before he does to turn the heater back on for him. Hmmmm….
updated 05/30/2020 by Rebekah Pierce
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.