Energy Savings with Plumbing & Gas
Date: 05 December 2022
Plumbers & Gasfitters Enable Energy Efficient Living.
Who knew plumbers and gasfitters could make such a difference when it comes to energy savings around your workplace or home? There are many ways to make a difference.
Whether it’s something as simple as fixing leaking taps or adjusting water pressure to reduce wastage or upgrading your hot water or heating systems to utilising the very latest technology developed by some of the leading-edge plumbing and gas suppliers – all addressing the need to become as energy efficient as possible.
Energy Prices Soar in NZ and Around the Globe
Around the globe energy supplies and the cost of electricity is reaching crisis level in some countries, particularly disturbing as the Northern Hemisphere winter looms.
That may seem a world away from New Zealand with our massive hydropower resources and warmer times ahead as we head into the summer months.
However New Zealand’s power prices have continued to rise over time, and we can all remember the stress of previous years’ water shortages in Auckland – although this wet spring may allay fears of that for now! Indeed, Niwa has reported that 2022 was our country’s warmest and wettest winter on record.
But it is never time for complacency and some simple lifestyle changes can help up us all save on our power bills and water charges.
These can be achieved both in businesses and at the home – in fact many of us now get to work from home a day or two a week!
How can we Reduce Energy Bills with Water?
We use heaps of water during summer: for the garden, cooling showers after working outside or rinsing off after ocean swimming, icy refreshing jugs of water in the fridge and portable water bottles to cope with the heat and so on.
Reducing water usage with showers
Showers are preferable over baths when it comes to water consumption. Even so, showers are responsible for about a quarter of all water use in the home so reducing your shower time is a great way to stay on top of water usage.
Old shower heads use more water than is needed. Shower head fittings can be installed which reduce flow and aerators (also called atomisers) are simple devices that can also help save up to half of the hot water but still feel just as good. They introduce compressed air into the jet to create bubbling water. These can be easily fitted on taps in the bathroom and kitchen. Some smart showers even have LEDs which change colours according to how much water you have consumed.
This YouTube link shows how you can check the flow rate (the amount of water in litres per minute that flows from your shower head) collecting the water in just six seconds and then using a simple calculation. If it comes out as over 12 litres a minute you can save on your water and power bill by installing a flow restrictor or low-flow shower head. These are widely available through plumbing and hardware stores.
How toilets can help save water
Check that your toilet isn’t leaking by dropping some food colouring into the cistern and if it ends up in the bowl without flushing you have a leak – repairing this can significantly reduce water waste.
It is ideal to replace older toilets with dual flush models. New toilets come with water rating labels so look for the four-star toilets which only use three litres for a half flush and 4.5 for a full flush.
Reducing water usage around the home or workplace
Also remember simple measures like fixing dripping taps (including outside), turning off the taps when brushing teeth or shaving. You can even collect cold water in a pot until the hot water comes on and use that in your pot plants or re-use water in the garden.
Detecting water main leaks
If you have a high water bill and suspect a water main leak, check for damp patches in the garden, lawn or driveway in dry weather and listen for running water inside your whom when no taps, hoses or showers are turned on. If you discover a leak, get in touch with a registered plumber. Even small leaks can be detected by reading your meter at night then first thing in the morning.
Water and Energy Efficiency
How to become more energy efficient with water usage?
A range of tips to reduce excess water use, from fixing that leaking tap or showerhead from wasting water to ensuring your water pressure is optimal, installing flow restrictors, and making use of rainwater by recycling it with retention tanks.
How to Reduce Power Bills
Saving power in your workplace or home:
Many of the above actions can also help reduce your power consumption as hot water is one of the biggest consumers of power in the home. In just 10 minutes you can use of up 200 litres of hot water in one shower. Five minutes is more than sufficient.
Energy efficient hot water systems
Ensure you hot water cylinder is not set too high. By law the hot water must be stored at 60 degrees Celsius as that is hot enough to keep diseases at bay but not cause scalding. However, your plumber can install tempering valves in the hot water unit to avoid dispensing water higher than 55 degrees Celsius.
The ideal water temperature in the shower does not need to be more than 30 degrees Celsius – hotter showers can cause heat rashes of even your blood pressure to fall.
If you are off holidaying for over a fortnight you might consider switching off the hot water heater, but you need to allow at least 12 hours for it to reheat and kill any bacteria.
When is the last time your hot water cylinder was maintained?
If you haven’t maintained them with annual system flushes sediments can settle at the boot of the tank which can cause it to run out of hot water more quickly. The annual maintenance also ensures all safety valves are operating correctly.
Is it well insulated? Many older cylinders aren’t’ and should have a cylinder wrap, as well insulation around the first metre of hot water pipe coming out of it.
Would it pay to upgrade your hot water or heating system?
It’s always worth considering the cost savings you can benefit from by upgrading your hot water and heating system. Topline teams with some of the NZ’s best plumbing and gasfitting suppliers to bring you state of the art hot water and heating systems. We offer expert advice to help you decide what would work best.
Energy savings in the laundry
Other simple tips include running full loads in the washing machine (cold washes where possible) and dishwasher and if you do need to pre-rinse dishes (not now required in newer dishwashers) then use cold water. If you do put on half loads use an eco-programme.
- New Zealand plumbers have welcomed a revised Australian tapware performance stands AS 3718 2021 which aims at improving endurance and performance that better reflect real life usage.
- Whole house UV filtration systems can kill 99.99 percent of bacteria and remove odours and bad tastes. They have low power consumption and are low maintenance and easy to service.
- The StormSlab below ground tank systems has won the 2022 Product of the Year award at the NZ Pluming Awards. Such tanks can be installed under houses or driveways to manage rainwater and storm water when there isn’t enough space or fall on the site. Similar systems designed and manufactured in New Zealand are also available.
- Shut off valves can monitor and protect your home from leaks and water damage. The smart water valve Flo Moen detects high pressure, frizzing water and small leaks. You are alerted via an app allowing you to shut the water of if required no matter where you are.
If you would like help to upgrade, or implement some of these energy saving options, contact our experienced team. We are always happy to help advise you on how we may be able to help you to become more energy efficient in your home or workplace, future proofing, so you can feel like you are doing your bit for the earth and environment. Enquire now, or call 0800 111 818.