Reduce Water Heating Demand

This section will highlight some of the many simple and inexpensive ways you can save energy when using
hot water and when using and buying appliances and air-conditioners.

Controlling hot water use

After space heating, your water heater is the second largest user of energy in your home. It pays to use hot water wisely! Here are some simple tips on how to use hot water more efficiently without affecting comfort, cleanliness or safety:

• Insulate at least the first 2 metres (6 feet) of the hot water pipe and the first metre (3 feet) of the cold water pipe running from the tank, to save approximately 2% on your natural gas bill and reduce pipe ‘sweating’ problems in the summer. For safety reasons, do not place any pipe wrap insulation within 15 cm (6 inches) of the exhaust vent at the top of the water heater. The two basic types of pipe insulation are wrap around or slip-on, pre-formed foam. Both are easy to install and are available at building supply stores.

• Operating your water heater at unnecessarily high temperatures increases energy consumption and shortens tank life. It also increases the likelihood of scalds; this is of particular concern for young children and seniors. In fact, building codes require that fixtures (such as faucets and shower heads) deliver water at no more than 49º C/120º F. You can test your water temperature with a cooking thermometer held under a running tap.

• Install a low-flow showerhead (less than 11 litres/ minute or 1.25 gallons/minute) which can reduce the amount of water you use for showers by up to 50%. You’ll use less water and energy and still enjoy hot, skin tingling showers!

• Fix dripping taps immediately. Replacing a worn washer (just pennies in cost) can save you up to 800 litres (175 gallons) monthly, at one drop of water per second.

• One-quarter of your hot water use is for laundry. You can reduce that by washing clothes in warm or cold water and always rinsing in cold. Use the water level controls, if your washing machine has them.

How your energy dollar is spent*
- Water heating 20%
- Space heating and cooling 60%
- Appliances 14%
- Lighting 6%

Source: Ministry of Environment and Energy
* Based on an average of the three main fuels over a year.