Conserving water in your Charles Town, West Virginia, home can give you and your family peace of mind by making sure you have a reliable source for hot water when you need it. Discover five ways you can conserve hot water in your home by installing low-flow fixtures, evaluating your water heater capacity, monitoring hot water usage in your household, checking for problems with your water heater’s dip tube, and turning down your water temperature.
1. Install Low-Flow Fixtures
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), water heating is the second-largest energy expense for homeowners. But, you don’t need to completely remodel your bathrooms or kitchen to conserve hot water in your home. Installing low-flow fixtures such as shower heads and aerators on your faucets can help you reduce the amount of hot water wasted when bathing, showering, or washing your hands.
For maximum water efficiency, the EPA recommends a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute. Since many homes in historic Charles Town date from before the beginning of the 21st century, check the flow rate on your home’s shower head. Some models of shower heads before 1992 had flow rates of 5.5 gallons per minute, according to the DOE.
Similarly, aerators, the screw-on parts of faucets, should allow a flow rate of no more than 2.2 gallons per minute for kitchen faucets and 0.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute for bathroom faucets, advises the DOE.
2. Evaluate Your Water Heater Capacity
Usually in a basement or garage, water heaters are tanks used to heat water. This heat generally occurs through fuel sources such as gas or by electricity.
Just as you’d want your HVAC system to be maintained and sized correctly for your home, make sure that your water heater is appropriately sized for your household. If taking one long shower or operating the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time exhausts your hot water supply, your hot water tank is likely too small. Contact a plumber about proper sizing and installation of a new water heater in your Charles Town home.
3. Monitor Your Household’s Hot Water Usage
If you’re finding your Charles Town home is continually short on hot water, you may not be allowing cold water enough time to reheat.
Take a careful look at how your household uses hot water. Using hot water in several appliances at the same time — for example, your dishwasher, washing machine, and shower — can use up all the hot water in the tank before the water has time to reheat. Overindulging in hot showers can also be the source of the problem as well.
4. Check Your Water Heater’s Dip Tube
Inside your water heater’s tank, the dip tube is a plastic pipe that runs vertically and delivers cold water to the bottom of the tank. Over time, this tube can become cracked or broken, which can cause cold water to mix with heated water in the upper part of your water heater tank.
If you suspect this mixing may be the problem, contact a plumber to inspect your water heater’s dip tube. Depending on the problem, your plumber may need to replace the tube or replace the water heater itself.
5. Turn Down Your Water Temperature
Make sure that you set your water heater’s thermostat to a minimum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The DOE estimates that setting the thermostat too high can cause your water heater to waste between $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses — heat lost from the water heater into the surrounding area of the basement — and more than $400 in demand losses through water consumption.
If you find that even after you readjust the thermostat you’re still having hot water issues, contact a plumber to determine if the thermostat itself is defective.
When you’re seeking ways to save money on water heating or your Charles Town home’s heating costs, our Griffith Energy Services professionals are ready to help you. To learn more about Bock water heaters, a brand we’re proud to represent, contact a member of our service team at 888-474-3391.
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