Don't let your energy bill get you in hot water

12:51 PM, Dec 22, 2008   |    comments
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October may be Energy Awareness Month but using energy wisely should be top of mind for every Floridian all year round. Being smart about energy use is critical to our state's long-term energy future. It helps reduce our dependence on foreign fuel and results in a cleaner environment. Best of all, using energy wisely can also result in lower energy bills each month.

The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that almost 13 percent of the annual energy consumption in the average home is due to hot water usage. Generally, the only appliance that uses more electricity is the air conditioning system. As a homeowner there are many simple, low-cost ways to save energy around your home to reduce hot water costs.


Progress Energy Florida recommends the following:


  • Set the water temperature at 120°F. Lowering the thermostat on your water heater can reduce energy consumption for hot water by as much as 10 percent.
  • Add an insulating blanket to an older water heater.
  • Reduce expensive heat loss by insulating the cold and hot water pipes that enter the water heater tank.
  • Turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker if your home will not be occupied for two or more days.
  • Install low-flow showerheads water. A low-flow shower head is inexpensive, easy to install and uses up to 60 percent less water.
  • Check for leaky faucets. A leaky hot water faucet wastes water and the energy used to heat it.
  • Take quick showers instead of baths.
  • Wait until there is a full load to wash clothes or dishes - this saves the electricity that heats the water and runs the machine. 
  • If buying or replacing a water heater, purchase the most efficient unit available. The Energy Guide label found on most units can help you determine which one to buy.

To really impact your energy bill's bottom line, you may want to consider a solar water heating. According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, solar water heating could save between 50 and 85 percent on the hot water portion of your monthly electric bill - about $200 - $300 per year for a family of four.


In addition, when you invest in a solar water heating system for your home and participate in Progress Energy's EnergyWise program, you can receive a $450 credit from Progress Energy Florida and up to $60 in additional credits every year.


EnergyWise is a program that helps Progress Energy temporarily reduce energy consumption if our community experiences an unusually high power demand. If that happens, Progress Energy may send a signal to cycle power off and on to selected electric equipment such as water heaters, central heating or cooling system or pool pumps from among the more than 400,000 EnergyWise participants to reduce the overall energy demand. Not only will you enjoy lower energy bills each month, you'll also help your community be sure there is enough power to go around.


Additional solar water heater incentives - up to $2,500 - may also be available through state rebates and federal tax credits. Details about Solar Water Heating with EnergyWise - or other energy saving programs from Progress Energy Florida - can be found at, or by calling 1-800-700-8744. 


By making a few simple changes in your household routine, you will save water and energy. And, you'll keep your hard-earned money from going down the drain. 


Water consumption figures for typical household uses*



Average number of gallons of hot water per usage

Automatic clothes washer






Automatic dishwasher


Food preparation


Dishwashing by hand


                        * Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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