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Conserve Hot Water

After heating the home itself , the second largest portion of all residential energy consumption goes toward heating water. In Maine, where many homes are heated by oil or wood, heating water represents the largest portion of an electric bill. Cutting back on the use of hot water need not be a hardship, however. There are a number of ways to conserve:

Use low-flow shower heads and sink faucets. Some older fixtures may use two or three times as much water, most of which is wasted. A study by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal power marketing administration, suggests that fixtures with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less can save up to 12.6% of the total cost of heating water

Use hot water heater jackets. This cuts down on energy wasted keeping water warm when no hot water is being used. While some plumbers believe the jackets trap moisture and cause the water tank to rust prematurely, that debate is still open, and conventional wisdom recommends the jackets.

Turn the thermostat on your water heater down to 120 degrees. This is generally considered the optimal temperature for conserving energy on hot water heat.

Other tips on conserving hot water:

  • Repair all water leaks.
  • Wash clothes in cold water when possible. Most detergents will work nearly as well in cold water.
  • Run cold water when using the garbage disposal.
  • Rinse dishes in cold water.


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