Isn’t it awesome? And how lucky are we to have it on tap?
But it comes at a price. Both in terms of energy and cold hard cash.
So today for the Great Energy Race, I am looking at how can we use less of it, without feeling the chill…?
Hot Water Generation and Storage
- Most hot water heating systems rely on some kind of tank to store the hot water in. Make sure yours is nice and cosy and has it’s very own coat to stop the heat leaking out
- As well as insulating your tank, don’t forget the pipes!
- I get a bit lost (bored) by the science right about now, but I think I am right in saying that using your immersion heater, is one of the most energy inefficient ways to heat your water. So if you can, set a timer to heat up your water when you think you will need it
- Solar thermal-if you have the space on your roof and the money in your bank, then have a think about solar thermal-in very basic terms-a small panel on your roof, that allows the energy from that big yellow ball in the sky, to provide you with free hot water!
- If you already have solar panels, then have a look at a handy thing called a Solar i-boost. Hubby has been looking at this for our panels. My understanding (and interest) is limited, but basically, I think you can divert any ‘spare’ energy from your solar panels to your hot water system, so that it can heat up your water, thereby saving you using gas
Washing the dishes
- This is a subject of some debate, but the consensus seems to be, that dishwashers use less water than washing the same amount of dirty dishes by hand, so if you have one, use it! But only when it’s full, and on the ‘eco’ setting if you have one
- If you are dishwasher-less, and washing by hand, fill the bowl, and don’t leave the hot water tap running (I know, who does that?!)
Washing the clothes
- I think I am right in saying that in the “old days”, washing machines used to draw their hot water from the hot tank, but more modern machines heat up the water they need, which is much more efficient. So if yours is still an old-skool model, think about upgrading it (I still struggle hugely with this-is it better to carry on with an older less efficient version, or ditch it and get a brand spanking new shiny ‘A’ rated model…???)
- Fill it up and only turn it on when full
- Wash clothes at 30-bit of a no brainer-washing at lower temperatures uses less hot water…!!
Washing the people
- Shower not bath-again, I think this is open to debate, but a FULL bath, certainly uses more water than a SHORT shower. But I guess the key is in the words in caps. If you just have a teeny tiny bath, or you share your bath water (!) then you might well be using less water than if you had a prolonged shower
- If you do bath, then you how about one of these latest energy saving fashion accessories for your bath? A foil jacket! I agree, they look a bit special, but apparently they can save up to a 1/3 of the energy and prevents you needing to top up the bath with more hot water!
- If you shower, then you have several options:
-There are a multitude of different shower timing devices out there that are all designed to gently encourage you to take shorter showers. There is a review of one of them-the Water Pebble, in the Guardian here
-An eco shower head-some aerate the water, so you use less of it, and others ‘pulse’ the water. The general gist is that you use less water, without noticing. We thought we would try one of these out, so stay tuned for another ground breaking Science Hour tomorrow….!
Any other handy hints and tips to share?