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Using Hot Water

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Use these tips to make sure you get the most from your hot water

Did you know the average family uses 360 litres of water a day? And of that, 220 litres are hot water. Try these no-cost, low-cost hot water tips at home.


Fix leaky taps

A leaky tap, at one drop per second, wastes 800 litres per month. The drops are your energy dollars dripping away. Fixing the tap is as easy as replacing a rubber washer that costs pennies. The job can be done with a simple wrench and screwdriver.


Use faucet aerators

Faucet aerators mix air into the water flow from your taps and reduce water consumption by 25 to 50% per tap. Your local retailer has a selection of models that you can install. Look for ones with washers that don’t need to be replaced.


Shower or bath?

A typical bath uses about 75 litres of hot water, while a 5-minute shower with an energy-efficient showerhead uses less than half of that. The savings add up quickly.

  Shower And Appliances

Use your washer more efficiently

About 25% of hot water is used for clothes washing. Try using cold water wash and always rinse with cold water. Cold water protects your clothes from fading and shrinking and can save enough energy for 220 showers per year.


Sparkling savings from your dishwasher

Use the light or short cycle for easy-to-clean loads. Use the energy-saving drying cycle for further savings. If you don’t have that feature, open the dishwasher when the wash cycle is complete and let the dishes air dry – you can reduce your energy use by 10%. And always run full loads.

Invest to Improve

Significant hot water savings can be achieved with inexpensive projects that you can do yourself. And if you’re replacing a hot water tank, dishwasher or clothes washer, you will want to shop for the most energy-efficient models to get the best value for your investment.


1. Install an energy-efficient showerhead

  • This alone can reduce your hot water use by up to 30%. In a year, one energy-efficient showerhead can save over 28,000 litres of water. You’ll still get a great shower without sacrificing anything.
  • Taking short showers instead of baths also saves both energy and water.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce the flow of water by 40 to 60%.

3. Use your hot water tank efficiently

  • Have a certified hot water service technician check your tank’s temperature setting. It should be 60°C (140°F).
  • You might want a heat trap installed on the hot water outlet pipe to stop hot water from rising up the pipe unnecessarily.
  • If you rent your hot water tank, check the rental agreement and consult your retailer before making changes.
  • You can insulate electric, natural gas or propane water heaters using an insulating kit that is certified by the Canadian Standards Association. Kits are available at hardware stores.
  • Be sure to keep the insulating cover clear of the air inlet for burners and of the temperature controls.

Hot Water Tanks

SEE ALSO: Using Appliances

Now that you know how to use hot water more efficiently, get more tips to use your home’s appliances wisely


2. How do you know if your existing showerhead is energy efficient?

Here’s a simple test. Open an empty two-litre cardboard milk carton and hold it up to the shower while it is fully on. If it fills in less than 10 seconds, it’s not energy efficient and you should consider replacing it.


4. Insulate hot water pipes

  • Insulate at least the first metre of pipe leading to and from the hot water tank with tape wrap or snap-on foam pipe tubing.
  • If your hot water pipes run through sections of your home that aren’t heated, insulate them too.
  • Plastic pipes shouldn’t be wrapped – the extra heat might soften them.

Man With Water Pipe

Time-of-Use Tips

  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine after 7:00 p.m. during weekdays or any time on weekends.
  • If your dishwasher has a built-in timer, use it to take advantage of off-peak times.
  • If you reduce the amount of hot water you use during on- and mid-peak periods, you also reduce your bill.

Shopping Tips

Choosing an energy-efficient showerhead

  • Prices vary from about $8 for a no-frills unit to $70 or more for the top-of-the-line models, but the cost is usually recovered from energy savings in less than one year!
  • Look for features such as spray adjustments, spray pattern and coverage, forcefulness, quiet operation, and ease of cleaning.

Looking for a new dishwasher or washing machine?

  • It pays to read the EnerGuide label and comparison shop for the most energy-efficient model. Remember, the lower the kWh rating, the better the efficiency.
  • Appliances last for many years, and the “second price tag” – the cost of running the appliance – can add up to more than the initial purchase price. Use the EnerGuide label to help you shop smart.


Let the EnerGuide label help you decide

All new major appliances carry an EnerGuide label to show that appliance’s energy consumption and a CSA label to indicate that it meets safety standards. EnerGuide labels tell you how many kWh of energy you can expect that model to use each year.


The large number is the appliance’s estimated annual energy consumption, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.


The shaded bar scale displays the energy consumption range for similar appliance models. The figure at the left end indicates the lowest consumption rating; the figure on the right indicates the highest.


The arrow just above the bar scale shows where the appliance ranks relative to similar models.


Look for the ENERGY STAR® for highest efficiency

The ENERGY STAR program identifies the most energy-efficient appliances on the market.

  • ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers use 35 to 50% less water and 50% less energy than the average clothes washer.
  • ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers can be almost 50% more efficient than a standard dishwasher.

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