Consumers are being encouraged this week to think about their use of hot water in economic and environmental terms as part of the fifteenth Energy Savings Week (24-28 October).
The Consumer Council for Water is urging people to think about their hot water and how they might use it more efficiently to both save money and to help reduce their impact on the environment. Around one-third of a households energy bill relates to heating and hot water for use in baths or showers or for washing clothes and dishes. By taking simple steps to use hot water more efficiently, households could see a reduction in their energy bill, and those who are charged for their water by meter could see a reduction in their water bill too.
Cutting back on the hot water you use will also cut your carbon footprint, or the amount of CO2 you create through your daily activities. It is estimated that about one-fifth of a households carbon footprint comes from heating water at home.
Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: Taking a few minutes to consider whether you are able to benefit from some simple efficiency tips could pay off in the long run. It could also have the added benefit of helping reduce not only costs but also your carbon footprint.
- Replace worn washers on leaky taps. A dripping hot water tap wastes both water and energy and over a year could unnecessarily add over £12 to your annual water bill if on a meter.
- Shorten your shower. For every minute less you spend under the shower you could save money. Or go one step further and install a water-saving shower head, which can cut the amount of water used by about 30 per cent.
- When putting the kettle on to boil, only fill it with as much water as necessary. Two-thirds of us boil more water than we need.
- Make sure that the dishwasher or washing machine is full before turning it on, and avoid using the half load setting. Half-load cycles use much more than half the energy and water of a full load.
- Washing machines use huge amounts of energy, 90 per cent of which is through heating water. By reducing the temperature from 40 to 30 degrees, energy consumption will be reduced by 40 per cent.
- The hot water cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C (140°F). Any higher is a waste of energy and could lead to scalding.
- Insulate the hot water cistern to avoid wasting energy to keep it hot. Fitting a jacket that is at least 75mm thick could save around £40 each year.
A full list of water saving tips is available at www.ccwater.org.uk where you will also find a link to the Energy Saving Trusts brand new Energy-Water Calculator.