Save energy and water by not leaving the water running when you wash dishes.
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Save energy and water by not leaving the water running when you wash dishes.

Saving Water and Energy

Water Bills

The water heater is the second biggest energy user in the home. You're charged for the water - and for heating it. An average family can spend about $290 a year just taking showers, and many families spend more.

  • Install a low-flow shower head. They use half the water that regular ones use - and can save $2 a month per family member.
  • Turn the water heater thermostat down to 120°F. That saves energy and prevents scalding.
  • Take short showers. They use about half as much water as a full bathtub.
  • Repair leaky water faucets. One drop a second can waste as much as 25 gallons a week!
  • Buying a new water heater? Get one that is no larger than required for your household needs, and consider a heat pump water heater. These super-efficient electric water heaters cost more up-front, but can save a family of four around $330/yr according to the EPA.

Washing Dishes

If you use a dishwasher:

  • Wash only full loads. It costs exactly the same to wash one dish as a whole load.
  • Air dry dishes. If the dishwasher has an air-dry feature, use it.
  • Hand-rinse dishes in cold water and only if you plan to wait a day or more before washing. Most dishwashers today do a great job of washing dishes without pre-rinsing. So save energy, water and elbow grease - and time.
  • Fill dishwasher with detergent right before running. Dry detergent may harden, while liquid detergent can leak.
  • Fill the dishwasher according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will allow the flow of water to properly clean the dishes.

If you wash by hand:

  • Rinse dishes in groups rather than one at a time.
  • Don't leave the water running.
  • Don't wash a few dishes - wait unit you have a full sink.


  • Wash laundry in warm or cold water instead of hot. Hot water needs to be used only for oily stains and very dirty loads.
  • Lower the thermostat from the recommended 140°F to 120°F. Each 10 degree reduction in water temperature will generally save you 3 to 5% on your water heating costs.
  • Wash and dry only full loads. The machine uses about the same amount of water whether you wash a full load or just one item.
  • Clean the dryer lint filter after every load. Clogged filters drive up drying costs.
  • Clean your outside dryer exhaust vent. It draws unwanted heat away from the house.
  • Dry several loads of laundry in a row. Using the heat already there saves money.
  • Dry clothes outside in good weather. Sunlight is free!

Last updated March 23, 2021