Ways to reduce hot water usage

Reducing hot water usage follows the same principals as reducing overall water usage. To this end the federal governments Water Efficiency Labelling scheme (WELs) achieves both savings in water and energy for heating water.

Shower and tap fittings, washing machines and dishwashers are all now regulated by mandatory WELs. Therefore new products all comply with minimum water standards.

Look out for the labels..... The more stars, the better the rating. More importantly, look at the water consumption which provides a flow rate or volume of water per use, depending on the appliance.

The biggest uses of hot water in typical homes is
1) showers and baths - water efficient fittings reduce overall water use and heating costs.
2) washing machines - washing in cold water reduces hot water heating costs
3) dishwashers

While water and energy efficient washing machines will achieve the lowest hot water consumption, it is not the scope of this site to detail these products.

Energy Efficient Showerheads

Replacing an inefficient shower head is often the one single thing you can do to make the biggest savings in energy. So many showers are hugely inefficient (eg more than 20L/min). measure your shower flow rate by running the shower as you use it for showering (don't skimp) and collect the water for 1 min into a bucket and measure the volume colelcted (a standard bucket contains 9 L). You now know your flow rate. If you collect more than 9L in the minute, it is worth your while to replace the shower head with a model that uses ≤9L/min. The higher the flow rate the more urgent it is to replace the shower head. It is not uncommon to find showers having a flow rate of 40L/min. The savings in hot water costs are in the order of $300 per year, if this head is replaced!

All shower heads sold now have a maximum flow rate of 9L/min. Many quality showers heads with lower flow rates such as 7.5 and 5.5L/min are available. For example the Perfect Flow Ultimate 5.5L/min Shower Head from Todae
on-line provides an adequate shower, although the spray area is limted. Searching Google with your desired flow rate results in many reviews and products of lower flow showerheads.

Some new thinking is beginning to emerge for reducing hot water costs. Some of the associated technology includes:
  • Hot water pipe recirculator (Grundfos water recirculator) saves water and energy use by returning cooling water in hot water pipes to tank and ensuring instant hot water during hot water demand timestimes.

  • Showerheads with flow and temperature monitors displayed in the hand piece eg. Prince Flexihose digital showerhead

A great idea!!

A major problem with bathrooms is the steam and moisture generated from the shower. A simple way to almost completely eliminate the steam is to cap the shower. The benefits are many:
      • No steam
  • No condensation on mirrors
  • Much less moisture in the house
  • No cold air rushing past as the warm air rises, dragging in cold air
  • Lower water temperature
  • Exhaust fan not needed, therefore heat isn't drawn into cavity....
Showerdome is a proprietory brand of shower cap, but is no longer retailed in Tasmania
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