If you keep up with frugal living blogs, environmental news or alternative health practices, you’ve no doubt encountered brave souls the world over extolling the benefits of cold showers. No longer are these teeth-chattering experiences reserved for those in need of a harsh rousing after a night out or folks who simply “need a cold shower.” Now they’re a vital part of eco warriors’ collective design to save energy and money at a time when people should be doing both. But if the concept strikes you as a bit over the top, take solace in the fact that you don’t have to give up warmth cold turkey to save.
Cold Water Savings
Especially during colder months, a cup of hot coffee and a hot shower are two joyous ways to face another day at the office. But, unfortunately, your home’s hot water tank is one of costliest energy sucks in your home. Providing you’re game to take the polar bear plunge, the potential savings generated by switching to cold showers certainly can be a motivating factor each morning. For example, based on the Pays to Live Green: Shower Water and Energy Use Calculator, if a single Washington D.C. resident with an electric water heater took a 65-degree shower once a day, her showers would cost about $50 per year, rather than $200 per year for a daily hot shower. If you’re not interested in committing to truly cold showers indefinitely, adjusting the thermostat on a 50-gallon tank from 130 degrees to 115 degrees will still save approximately $50 a year on energy costs.
More Shower Savings
Whether you are or aren’t going colder, there are further steps to shave dollars and cents off your monthly utilities. Implement a self-challenge to decrease your shower by four minutes, and you’ll save 2,000 gallons of water a year, which will decrease both your water and heating charges. Also consider low flow showerheads to conserve heated water or purchase a $25 water heater insulation blanket at your local hardware store, which can save between 4 to 9 percent of your yearly water heating costs.
Cut Unnecessary Use
Pinpointing when you’re using hot water unnecessarily is another excellent way to boost savings and become more conscientious about energy use. Turn off the tap when shaving, lathering your hands and brushing your teeth. And in dishwasherless homes, do dishes in a washtub, rather than letting the water run for the duration of the task.
Cold Shower Perks
Although setting your water heater’s thermostat at 120 degrees should produce a hot shower without issue, restricting usage to the cold water faucet could prove rewarding not only in monetary and environmental ways but to your health as well. According to a study cited in Organic Soul, the advantages of cold showers could include everything from increased fertility in men to better hair and skin to improved well-being, circulation and immunity—all things that, if true, could ultimately save on healthcare costs.
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