Have you ever wondered just how much water goes to waste while you’re waiting for it to heat up? When you add up the gallons, the total might shock you. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that between 400 billion and 1.3 trillion gallons of water are wasted every year by households waiting for water to warm up!
The good news is that there’s more than one way to reduce your hot water “lag time,” ranging from small home improvements to modern plumbing upgrades. Check out the best ways to reduce your wait for hot water below.
1. Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes
Before that nice, warm water can reach your faucet, it has to travel through cold plumbing pipes, where it loses a lot of heat along the way. You can counteract this heat loss by insulating your hot water supply pipes. This is particularly effective in locations where they’re exposed to colder temperatures, like a garage or unfinished basement.
2. Flush Your Water Heater Tank Routinely
If you own a storage-tank water heater, sediment is going to build up over time and coat the inside of your water heater--right over the heating element. As sediment coats your heating element, your water heater is going to have a harder and harder time providing you with hot water quickly and efficiently. Avoid this issue by flushing your tank at least once yearly.
3. Install One or More Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters can help reduce your hot water wait time in two ways:
- They give you an essentially endless supply of hot water because they heat water on demand, rather than heating it and storing it continuously. This means no more waiting to take a shower because someone used up all the hot water and no more wasting money on heating water that doesn’t always get used right away.
- When installed close to your plumbing fixtures (or at the “point of use”), you can get hot water at a faucet almost instantly. Not only do you get to benefit from energy savings and an on-demand supply of hot water, but you get hot water in the blink of an eye.
4. Install a Recirculation System
If a tankless water heater is not a viable option for you, you can get instant hot water by installing a recirculation system. There are various types available, but the basic idea is the same: instead of staying in your water heater, hot water circulates continuously in a loop between your water heater and hot water supply pipes. This system provides you with instant hot water, requires a relatively small amount of energy to keep the water warm, and drastically reduces the amount of wasted cold water that goes down the drain.