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I am interested in energy conservation and would like some simple tips on ways I can reduce my water and energy use in the bathroom in particular, as I feel that this is the place that I use the most water (and spend the most time).

Edit

I found this article that has a lot of great answers: https://3pointsplumbing.ca/articles/save-water.html

I chose L Shaver's answer as the best though.

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    You may want to edit your question to indicate what country/climate you live in, whether you currently take showers or baths, how your water is currently heated, and whether you own your home (i.e. have the ability to change infrastructure). If you use any energy-consuming appliances or things like infra-red heaters, they would probably be worth detailing as well.
    – Tim
    Feb 27 '20 at 10:10
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    Also, the infrastructure of your bathroom. Shower, bath, toilet? Equipment like washing machines? Hot, cold taps? Number of users (including children)?
    – user2451
    Feb 27 '20 at 15:05
  • @Max I appreciate the accept but editing in some more details about your bathroom would help make this question useful for others. Also the other answers have great suggestions too so please do up-vote!
    – LShaver
    Feb 28 '20 at 14:17
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Others have already suggested low flow fixtures and reducing water usage, but here are a few other ideas, from least to most expensive:

  1. Turn down your water heater. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a setting of ~120 F / 50 C. Many water heaters are set at the factory to 140 F / 60 C, which can increase the standby losses (energy spent keeping the water in the tank hot) up to 20% annually. You may find you need to mix in less hot water at the shower or sink, which reduces your usage as well. Note that anything lower than the recommended setting may increase your risk of Legionnaire's disease.
  2. Insulate your hot water pipes. Using pipe insulation on your hot water lines can result in savings of up to 4% annually, according to the DOE.
  3. Insulate your hot water heater. If the heater is warm to the touch, you may benefit from adding a water heater blanket. Note that most modern hot water heaters have well-insulated tanks, and older water heaters only last 10 to 15 years, so this is unlikely to be a necessary upgrade (i.e., if your water heater is old enough to benefit from this, you might be better off saving your money for the imminent replacement water heater).
  4. Install a "Shower Start" shower-head. Shower Start TSV (no affiliation) is a special showerhead that reduces flow to a trickle when hot water arrives at the fixture. This way, you turn on the showerhead and collect the cold water with a bucket (for watering plants, flushing toilets, etc). When the flow reduces, you move the bucket and pull the lanyard to start your shower with warm water.
  5. Install a recirculating pump. A retrofit recirculating pump is typically installed under the sink in the bathroom farthest (by pipe run length) from the water heater. The system works by pumping water from the hot water pipes into the cold water pipes, shutting off with a thermostat, so that water at the tap is hot when you open it. Older systems, intended to improve comfort, ran continually, or on a timer (keeping them on in the morning and evening), which wasted a lot of energy. There are now on demand systems with a push-button -- you simply press the button a few minutes before you want to shower. The pump does use energy, but it saves water, and reduces the chance of hot water going down the drain (since you can get right in the shower after turning it on, rather than waiting too long for the water to be hot). Note that they are relatively expensive, so probably not a good choice unless you have a large house or a lot of people taking showers with long gaps in between.
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Stick a water meter on your shower and bath taps. This one looks adequate

I don't know what the optimal time to spend in the shower is, or whether a long hot deep bath is more satisfying than a long hot shower, its personal taste. But with a meter you can track how much water each uses and then weigh that against how much satisfaction or washing you get from each.

There was an Instructibles page where someone had hooked up their water meter to a bell that rang for every litre so you could have pace your showers that way. Sadly I can't find the webpage right now.

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To save water get a low flow shower head and when using the sink use the lowest flow rate of water. If possible, spend less time in the shower.

To use less water in the laundry, consider using the bath towels for a few days instead of using clean one daily.

For energy savings, if possible do not use a ventilation fan, instead, open the window whilst having a shower, so the steam and water vapor are removed by natural ventilation. Also, if possible keep the window open for a period after you have finished in the bathroom, giving more time for the water vapor to be ventilated out of the room. The window doesn't have to be wide open, but sufficient to allow natural ventilation of the room to occur.

If you don't need to, don't use a heater while in the bathroom, and use low energy lights. Using low energy lights does not mean having reduced lighting. Some light bulbs produce a lot of light for small amounts of electricity.

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