It takes a lot of energy to treat, transport, and heat the water we use every day.
We use a lot of water throughout the day for drinking, cleaning and cooking.
Most people probably do not stop and think of all the ways they use water on a daily basis; fewer still realize the amount of energy that is needed to treat, transport and heat water for our daily use. However, there are a number of different ways to reduce the amount of water we use and save energy.
Residential Water Use, Canada
Source: Environment CanadaView data
Water Heating System
Roughly 10% of all the energy used in a home is to heat water. However, there are some ways to save energy when heating water:
- Consider efficient options. Hot water storage tanks use a lot of energy because they are almost constantly running to keep the water at a set temperature. As a result, they have a big impact on your power bills. However, high efficiency water heaters, such as tankless or heat pump models, use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models, which can save homeowners money on their utility bills.
- Choose the best location. Your water heater should be installed in the optimal location to minimize the amount of time the hot water travels through the pipes. When you're installing a new water heater, place the unit as close as possible to the kitchen, laundry machines and bathrooms.
- Safely insulate your tank pipes. You can help keep the heat in your tank by wrapping it in an insulated blanket, but check with the manufacturer first make sure this is recommended for your model. You can also save energy by insulating the pipes coming from the tank, but don't place any pipe-wrap insulation near exhaust vents at the top of water heaters and never insulate plastic pipes.
There are a number of new products to help you reduce the amount of water you use in your home:
- Low-Flow Showerhead - Conventional showerheads use up to 15 to 20 litres of water per minute, while a low-flow showerhead can reduce that water use by half and still provide good pressure.
- Aerated Faucets - Install aerated faucets in your bathroom and kitchen to reduce the amount of water used in your home. Flow rates of about 6-9 litres per minute in the kitchen and 6 litres per minute in the bathroom are recommended.
- Low-Flush Toilets - A standard toilet uses 19 litres of water per flush, while a low-flush toilet uses about 13.2 litres and an ultra-low-volume (ULV) flush toilet uses only 5.7 litres per flush. Replacing a standard toilet with a ULV model therefore represents a 70% savings in the amount of water that is flushed.
Tips to Save Water
Wasting less water is easy. Here's a list of things you can do on a regular basis to be more water efficient:
- Repair leaky faucets.
- Repair constantly running toilets.
- Don't leave taps running.
- Avoid washing multiple small loads of laundry.
- Only water your lawn when necessary and do it early in the morning to reduce evaporation.
- Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket or flush it unnecessarily.
- Make sure the dishwasher is full before you turn it on.