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OSO are being asked regularly and understandably about water heating costs and general energy costs.

We do have some advice. Some things are easy and will save a small amount of money, others require a rethink about your habits but could save a considerable amount.

There are some obvious things that are well known. Turn the room thermostat down a bit and put on a sweater. It really does make a difference.

Water heating costs are less well rehearsed but the reality is that if you live in a modern property, you may spend more on heating water than you do on heating your rooms. Yes, really! Modern dwellings are very well insulated and retain their heat very well.

By contrast when you heat water, after you have used it, the heat, quite literally, goes down the drain.

So here are a some suggestions.

  1. If you have a shower, and particularly a modern high pressure shower supplied by a combi boiler or a high pressure hot water cylinder, turn the shower on, get wet, then turn the shower off. Do the soapy shampoo thing and turn the shower back on to rinse yourself clean.

Standing under a running shower whilst washing your hair is not necessary. And if you follow this showering suggestion, you could save well over 50% of your water heating costs. This could be hundreds of dollars per year.

  • If you have a bath, when you are finished, don’t take the plug out. leave it for the bath to go cold, then take the plug out. The heat in the water will disperse into the house and will reduce the demand for heat from the radiators. Then you are letting cold water go down the drain.

  • If you have a dishwasher, use it. Don’t do the dishes in the kitchen sink. You will save energy this way because modern dishwasher are very efficient and use less water than manual washing.

  • It is beneficial to have a timer or programmer to manage your heating and hot water. You don’t need either to be on 24/7. Most hot water cylinders connected to a central heating boiler will heat up in less than an hour, so switch it off at the programmer and have set timed on periods. Trial and error will give you the best balance of reduced heating times without running out of hot water.

Similarly, turn the space heating off at night or when the house is unoccupied. Programmable room thermostats and properties with multiple heating zones allow separate control that can save energy.

And finally: THIS IS IMPORTANT! DO NOT TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT ON THE WATER HEATER. You will get things living in it. You have heard of legionella, yes? Hot water should be stored at 60C or greater to prevent bacterial growth.