Whatever hot water system you use, there are easy ways to reduce your bills. If your water is metered, every litre you save will also save you money.
1. Ease your shower and tap flow
If your shower fills a 10 litre bucket in less than a minute, it’s wasting water. Replace your shower head with one that flows more efficiently (9 litres a minute or less). This will cut your hot water use significantly. Flow control aerators for taps are a relatively inexpensive way to halve the volume of water you use while still giving good pressure. They’re great for taps over sinks or tubs that aren’t regularly filled up, where the water flow volume is less important.
2. Take shorter showers
Did you know that if you reduced your total shower time by a minute, you could save up to 220 litres of water a month? This adds up to 2,640 litres a year! Next time you shower, set a timer or create a shower playlist on Spotify with your Top 3 shower jams – and use it as a guide to help you remember when it’s time to hop out. Also try minimise the amount of baths you take and save them as a self-pamper treat.
3. Do laundry with cold water
Most of our everyday clothes are fine to wash in cold water. Not only does this help you cut down on your water heating costs but it’s better for your clothes too! Cold wash is the gentlest option for most fabrics – but be sure to check the label first!
4. Fix dripping hot taps
Depending on how bad the leak is, dripping hot taps can cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Anyone is allowed to replace tap washers, and a new washer doesn’t cost a lot. If you can’t work out how to do it though, don’t try to force it. Just call JT Plumbing and Drainage! Damaged taps can be expensive items to repair.
5. Check your hot water temperature
Your hot water should be 60 °C at the cylinder to prevent the growth of legionella bacteria and no more than 55 °C at the tap so no one gets burnt. Depending on the age and design of your cylinder, you may need a plumber or electrician to adjust your thermostat.
6. Switch off your hot water while away on holiday
If you’re away for more than a fortnight, you may want to consider switching off your hot water cylinder to save a bit of money. When you return home and switch it back on, be sure to wait at least half a day before using hot water. The water in the tank needs to get hot enough to ensure any legionella bacteria is killed first.
7. Maintain your hot water system regularly
Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your hot water system to find out the recommended maintenance and time frames involved. A general tip is to gently move the easing lever of the temperature / pressure relief valve every six month to prevent it sticking. Glass-lined (VW) water cylinders should have their sacrificial anode changed every five years, and probably more frequently in hard water areas where mineral buildup is more likely. A plumber can help if you’re unsure what to do.
8. Choose efficient water products
Like energy rating labels, water efficiency labels appear on showers, taps, toilets and household appliances. They use the WELS rating to show how water-efficient a product is compared to other products in the same class – the more stars, the more efficiently it uses water.
One thing to bear in mind when looking at new products is that swapping old fittings for new is not always a simple process. For example, if you’re looking to replace your current toilet and have your eye on a radically different design, major bathroom renovation work (and consents!) may be required to install it. When in doubt, talk to your plumber before making a purchase. Remember that any pipework involving sanitary plumbing (such as fixing or unfixing taps, waste or soil pipes, ventilation pipes, or overflow pipes and any pipe that supplies or is intended to supply water) can only be done by a licensed plumber.
For help, contact JT Plumbing, Drainage & Gas.