Maybe it’s the gradual shortening of the days, but this time of year often makes us think about ways to save money before the heating season is upon us. Last week’s column was about saving on groceries. This week, we take a look at saving money on water and our water heating expenses.
One of the first ways to save on both water and energy used to heat it, is to fix any leaks. If you have only one faucet that leaks for one drip per second, you are losing 34 gallons of water per month! If it’s the hot water that is leaking, then cold water is entering your water heater at the same rate that water drips out the faucet, so you are paying to heat more water than you have to.
Just fixing that one leak can save you up to $8 per month.
Wrapping your water heater with a fiberglass insulation blanket (and putting foam insulation board under a new water heater when installed) could save up to $8 a month also, making up the cost of the blanket in about three years.
Even though single-handled faucets are safer, if your hot water temperature is set at 120 degrees versus 140 degrees (that alone can save you $3 or $4 per month) installing a double handled faucet keeps you from unintentionally using hot water when you are using the cold. Savings of several dollars per month are possible. If the water is hotter than 140 degrees, not only are you at risk for being scalded, but the hotter temperature tends to allow chemicals to leach out of the water than can damage pipes.
Periodically cleaning the water heater to remove sediment will lengthen the life of the water heater, saving you money. If you suddenly notice that you aren’t getting enough hot water for the number of showers your family takes, for example, then having your plumber give the water heater a good cleaning might solve the problem.
Bathing uses more water than showering, up to twice as much, so as long as you are reasonable about the length of time you shower, savings can be substantial if you shower and avoid soaking in a tub. Time your showers for uniform savings!
Reducing the amount of water you use is a “green” thing to do, and saves money on both water, and water heating costs. Avoid running the water while you are washing your face or shaving. Wash clothes in cold water — it’s really the detergent and agitation that gets them clean. Make sure that your faucets and shower heads are a “low flow” variety, and again, fix any leaks.
You can save on electricity by showering or washing dishes, etc. at off-peak times when lower rates are in effect.
If you must use a dishwasher, at least set the delay function so that the load is done during those off peak times.
Mass Save (http://www.masssave.com/) can help you find any available rebates on energy-saving equipment, so be sure to visit its site to check, or call for an energy audit at 866-527-SAVE (7283).
Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.