Home life

Getting into hot water

The water bill arrived, and gives me the first chance to see the difference the efficient shower-head I installed in July makes.

Water consumption is down 20% compared to the same period last year, down from about 250 to 200 litres per day. And according to the little charts, we’re apparently using less water than a two-person household with no garden. I think it might be high-fives all round.

Mind you, in terms of person-nights spent at home, I count it up to be typically 13 per week at my house, whereas the theoretical two-person household would be 14. And although we have a garden, we only put greywater on it, so perhaps it’s not so surprising.

Also interesting was that the gas bill arrived, and Origin Energy are advertising a deal of a solar hot water service for $2395 including installation. Intriguingly I picked up a brochure the next day out of Marita’s junk mail that had another even cheaper offer from them: $1995, about double the cost of a conventional gas hot water service.

It sounded like a good deal, until I realised the catch is it’s in addition to your current service, which in my case is a gas system estimated to be 12 years old, thus perhaps reaching the end of its life (and may not be solar-ready). A new gas-boosted system will cost up to $1500 more, taking it up to close to $4000.

But I’m going to look into solar options a bit further, since I do have plenty of roof space that’s north-facing.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Getting into hot water”

20% less water is a great saving – well done. Interested to see if you get the same result next quarter (cf. with same period previous year).
And I thought my dad was joking when he said it was good to wee on the lemon tree. Every bit helps!

Well done indeed!

We also have had a good reduction on last year’s usage for the same period – down from just under 700 per day (what WAS I doing back then) to just under 400 per day, which, given that we are a 4-person household with three of us at home a lot of the time, AND we’ve had three large gatherings and two houseguests in the relevant period, is not bad.

I know we can do better again – we expend zero water on the garden (we use grey water) but I would like to use grey water for toilet flushing too, and I am working on reducing our overall “washing events” by combining showers & baths and trying to extract more wear out of clothes before washing them. (We have tended to be a bit anal about laundry – the tiniest smudge on a shirt or a pair of pants led to it being dumped in the wash – but I think we will have to overcome our preciousness in this regard!)

Well done!! Ours didn’t seem to make much difference, but then we have teenagers and that doesn’t help.

Good in two ways, Roger. Citrus trees like uric acid.

Our solar hot water system was $3700 three years ago, minus a $1260 rebate but plus installation of the panels at about $700. So that means the total cost to us was $3140. That was three panels and a 430 L electric tank on the ground.

I chose electricity because it can be generated without creating pollution while burning gas is unavoidably going to create pollution.

I would expect solar equipment to be cheaper now, but only if nobody was profiteering from increased interest in it. Our panels were about $740 each and we have three of them. The tank has a small pump that uses 25 W to circulate water through the panels whenever there’s enough sunlight to heat it.

Interestingly, you can’t get a government rebate if you install electric-boosted solar hot water in a location where natural gas is available.

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