Want to save energy? Use less hot water

            Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, so if you use less hot water, you’ll save energy.

Here are three ways to save hot water around your house.

            Washing clothes. Your clothes don’t really get any cleaner if you wash them in hot water instead of cold. In fact, the kind of laundry detergent you use is more of a factor than water temperature when it comes to getting your clothes clean.

            Ninety percent of the energy your washing machine uses goes to heating the water. So you can save up to $40 a year just by selecting the cold-water cycle instead of warm or hot.

            Don’t believe it? Experiment with it for a few loads and see for yourself.

            Washing dishes. Your dishwasher needs to use hot water to dissolve the dishwashing detergent and to get the grime off of your dishes. However, you can save hot water by placing your dirty plates, cups, glasses and silverware right in the dishwasher after you use them, without rinsing them first.

            Most modern dishwashers do a good job of cleaning even dried-on gunk from dishes, so there’s no need to waste hot water by washing them by hand before you load them into the machine.

            Another way to save hot water: choose a short cycle. The less time your dishwasher runs, the less hot water it will use.

            Washing your family. Low-flow showerheads save water—hot and cold. Replacing your old showerhead could save more than 40 percent of the water you use when you bathe.

            Paying attention to how much water you’re wasting in the shower can save precious resources as well. If you turn on the water to let it get warm—but then brush your teeth and shave at the sink before hopping in the shower—you’re letting gallons of heated water run down the drain unused.