Adjust your thermostats: You can save 3% of the operating cost for every 10º Fahrenheit you reduce the temperature on your electric water heater. Flathead Electric recommends setting your water heater temperature to 120º F. This will save money on your energy bill and possibly extend the life of your water heater. Remember, water temperatures above 120º F can cause burns.
Flush it (your water heater): Flush the sediment out of your water heater to maintain efficiency. How often depends on the quality of your water. Flush it every 6 months, and if you do not get much sediment, switch to every year.
Clean with cold water: Save the hot water for showers and if possible, do household cleaning with cold water.
Use less laundry water: If your clothes washer has a water level selector, use the lowest practical level for each load of clothes. If there is no water level-selector wait until the washing machine is full before starting the laundry.
Wash your laundry in cold water: 90% of energy consumption for washing clothes comes from heating the water. Utilize cold water with a cold water detergent to get your clothes just as clean and save. Besides, they’ll fade less and have fewer wrinkles. You might even save on ironing. Save washing in warm water for whites or hard to clean items. Not sure if this will work for you? Start small: rinse in cold water and wash in warm. If this works, try a cold rinse with cold wash.
Run full loads of dishes: Washing full loads will reduce the amount of energy and water required to clean your dishes. One full load costs less to run than two smaller loads.
Skip the Pre-Rinse: Don’t use the pre-rinse cycle on your dishwasher. Normally it is not necessary with today’s dishwashers. Skipping it can save as much as 20 gallons per load or 6,500 gallons per year plus the cost of heating that water.
Take shorter showers: Reduce your shower time. Even eliminating just a couple minutes per shower can really add up since every minute you cut from your shower time saves an average of 2.5 gallons of water and the energy used to heat the water.
Going on Vacation: Turn the water heater thermostats down to a low or vacation setting. For even better energy savings; if there is no risk of freezing turn off your water heater at the electric panel when you are on vacation.
Consider install location for a new water heater: Installing water heaters in conditioned space will prevent you from paying to heat the great outdoors (or your unheated garage, crawl space, etc.) If you have no other option, insulate the space (crawl space or garage) to prevent excessive heat loss.
Fix those drips: If you have a leaky faucet, you’re pouring money down the drain. A slow drip can waste up to 450 gallons of water a month. If it’s hot water, you are not only paying to heat the water, but you are paying for the water, and may be paying for the disposal as well. If you have a domestic well, pumping costs are also a factor.
Install low flow heads/faucets: Showers can account for over half of the hot water consumed in a home. Low-flow shower heads are a great way to save both energy and water, up to 11% of your water use or 2,300 gallons a year (Based on EPA water sense). Faucet aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets also reduce water flow, saving energy and water. Lower hot water usage means lower utility costs for you! Shower heads and aerators can be purchased at most hardware stores. Worried that you will feel like you are showering under a trickle? Ask around, find a friend with a low flow shower head that they are happy about.
Stop heating your home with your water heater: Wrapping an insulation blanket around your hot water tank will reduce the heat loss from your water heater and will save on your energy bill. You can buy an insulation blanket for your water heater at your local hardware store and install it yourself. It can save as much as 9% on your water heating costs. Before you install a blanket check the caution label on your water heater. Some newer models come with adequate insulation levels and may prohibit installing a blanket. Otherwise add the insulation and start saving!
Insulate hot water pipes: Insulating your hot water pipes saves you money. You also won’t have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or shower head, which helps conserve water. Insulate all accessible hot water pipes, especially within 3 feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to insulate the cold water inlet pipes for the first 3 feet.
Stop going in circles: If you utilize a continuous loop circulation system install a timer to limit time of operation to match with your schedules or call FEC to learn about other smart control options. Continuous circulation systems can turn the water heater into a space heater. Insulate all the pipes in the loop and make sure it is enclosed in a well insulated space in the home to prevent heating the outdoors. Consider shutting it off in the summer to prevent heating your home during the AC season.
Consider a high efficiency heat pump water heater: Water heaters are usually the second largest energy user in a typical home after space heating. A heat pump water heater uses heat pump technology to save over half of your water heating costs. FEC offers a rebate for the installation of heat pump water heaters in qualifying homes.
New Dishwasher: Is your dishwasher more than 10 years old? Replacing it with an ENERGY STAR model will save you energy and water since ENERGY-STAR-rated models use at least 41 percent less energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption and a third less water.
New Clothes Washer: If you are considering replacing your washing machine or it needs significant repairs, you can reduce your washing costs by as much as 70% by replacing your washing machine with a new ENERGY STAR® labeled model. These models can also reduce your detergent use, reduce clothes drying time, and cut water use by 30% or more which could equal 6000 gallons per year. Less water also means a lower water bill. FEC offers a rebate for the purchase of a high efficiency clothes washer.
Install a drain water heat recovery system: Remodeling? Capture the heat from your shower drain with a drain-water heat recovery system to reduce the energy needed to heat your water. Any hot water that goes down the drain carries away energy with it. That’s typically 80 to 90% of the energy used to heat water in a home. Drain-water heat recovery systems capture this energy to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures.
Install a solar hot water system: Install a solar hot water system to supplement your existing electric water heater. A SHW system preheats the water that goes into your existing water heater and reduces the amount of electricity your water heater consumes by 50 to 70%.