I'm all about saving energy at home, saving water will save electricity too.
Using Water Affects Your Electricity Usage
What does water got do with electricity?
Most of you may think that water and electricity have nothing in common. Probably you may think that water and electricity just come from a different source and, in some cases, from a different utility.
Some cities charge the water usage as an average and the whole area pays similar amount. Where I used to live, and we were a family of 6, we were paying almost the same as my neighbor who was living only with his wife.
Electricity Usage Metered Different than Water Usage
How does the utility meter usage?
On the contrary, electricity is charged based on kilowatt-hour usage. Maybe you don’t know it but most of us have an AMS. The AMS or smart meter is a kilowatt digital counter. This AMS sends a wireless signal to the utility every 20 – 30 seconds with energy usage. The utilities have full control of the electric meter. These AMSs are extremely sensitive and tell the utility all that is happening with the electricity. They can send a signal to the utility if it's tampered with, moved, or vandalized. It can be de-energized remotely.
On the other hand, the water meter is analog and the only way to shoot off the water in a house is manual. In a like manner, the water meter readings are done manually.
Waste more water, waste more electricity.
First, let me tell you that water does not come just like that from a well. To get to our homes there are plants involved and use a lot of electricity. Not to mention the water treatment plants.
Then, every time we use hot water, we are using the water heater. Many times, we open the hot water faucet without the need for hot water. It’s just a bad habit. If we have a conventional electric water heater, the water heater has a thermostat that always keeps the water warm. Also, the water heater is designed to always stay full.
With that said, every time we request hot water, the water is pushed from the water heater. It takes a few seconds, even minutes to get hot water to our hands. Those are gallons of water wasted, the water heater requests water from the service line which comes cold. The water heater, doing its job, will heat that water. So, if we open the hot water faucet, without the need for hot water, we are using electricity. If you don’t need hot water, make sure you only open the cold-water faucet.
How long it takes an electric water heater to heat up?
It may take up to 80 minutes to heat up a 40-gallon electric water heater. And about 130 minutes to heat up an 80-gallon electric water heater.
How Much Water and Electricity We Use When We Shower?
Let’s do the math that makes more sense
Americans use an average of 2.5 gallons of water for every minute in the shower. If we usually take about 8 minutes to shower, then we used 20 gallons of water. Now, if we take a bath, a bathtub takes about 40 gallons of water. So, if you took a bath and you live in a small apartment, your water heater tank will be empty. With this said, in one hour and 20 minutes have your water heater full of hot water.
A 50-gallon 5500-watt water tank used for about 3 hours per day will use little less than 500 kWh per month. America averages a cost of 16 cents per kWh, so the monthly cost of your hot water use is $80.
Let’s think that at this moment, most electricity and water come from nonrenewable resources. As I posted not long ago, some of our natural resources will run out in less than 50 years. I think we can help our planet with shorter showers and fewer baths. Don’t forget the water wasted while we are waiting for the hot water to hit our bodies.
How Can We Use Less Electricity for Our Hot Water?
I really believe that a tankless water heater is a solution. The beauty of this device is that it will heat up the water when you need hot water. There is no water sitting and waiting for you to demand it. A tankless water heater uses about 40% less energy than a conventional water heater. Also, the life expectancy of a tankless water heater is similar to a regular water heater.
Now, if you are not in the possibility to replace your water heater because you are renting your home, here is what you can do.
Water Heater Settings
I suggest checking the settings of your water heater. It’s not necessary to have the thermostat set at HOT. Just a notch above warm is enough to have the water at 120˚F. This is the recommended temperature. Below that, your water heater can cause growing Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaire's Disease. Also, having the settings at HOT will have water at 160˚F. 160˚F is enough to cause a third-degree burn on someone’s skin. Imagine if there is an unattended child in the shower and by accident, the child shuts off the cold water.
Shower Head Timer
This s a very cool gadget. A shower head that changes color and tells you that it’s time to get out of the shower.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Gabriel Cueto