While the bathroom is rarely the largest room in your home, it may be the busiest (and most important). From bath time for the kids to getting ready in the morning, the bathroom can be a place of high energy—and high energy consumption.
The water and electricity you and your family use daily in the bathroom can significantly increase your monthly utility bills. Fortunately, there are habits you can adjust and changes you can make to reduce your bathroom energy usage.
Explore our top five tips for creating a more energy-efficient bathroom below.
Use Less Water
The average American uses as much as 80 to 100 gallons of water each day, and most of that water usage happens in the bathroom. Knowing how to limit your water usage can be a major part of saving energy, as well as keeping bills low.
To use less water in the bathroom, you likely think about things like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or taking shorter showers. While these are great habits, the toilet is also a major water-waster. Almost a quarter of home water use comes from flushing the toilet.
While you can’t give up flushing, you can switch your toilet for a low-flow or dual-flush model. These high-efficiency options use significantly less water, bringing down your bathroom water consumption.
You can also replace faucets and shower heads with high-efficiency models, like an ENERGY STAR® shower head, to conserve water and reduce your energy use.
Here are a few more tips for reducing water use in your bathroom:
- Take showers instead of baths. If you do take a bath, fill the tub just halfway.
- Keep your showers short or try the Navy shower technique: Turn on the shower to wet yourself down, turn off the water while you lather, and turn the water back on to rinse.
- While the shower is heating up, collect the cold water in a bucket and use it to water plants.
- Look for and fix leaks promptly.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Check to make sure the toilet stopper seals properly after every flush.
- Keep trash out of the toilet and only flush toilet paper and waste.
Turn Down the Heat
Does a shower use electricity? While the shower itself doesn’t, it takes electricity to heat the water. The average Texas home uses 19% of its energy just for water heating.
If you want to know how to save energy in the bathroom, you can cut your energy costs in a big way by using cool or warm water instead of turning your faucets up to hot.
Most people wash their hands with warm water, but this isn’t necessary. In fact, cold water will get your hands just as clean and is more environmentally friendly. Plus, it’s less likely to irritate your skin.
The same can be said for showering. You can easily get just as clean in cooler temperatures, which can save money and even reduce skin dryness in the process. You can also avoid wasting water waiting for it to warm up to a hot temperature.
Related: Explore our top tips for a more energy-efficient kitchen.
Leave It Unplugged
Your bathroom may have any number of items plugged into an outlet. Hair dryers, electric razors, and powered toothbrushes clutter the counters of many household bathrooms, and it can be easy to leave these items plugged in to charge or to forget to unplug them when you leave for the day.
One of the best energy-saving tips is to unplug unused electric items. When you’re done prepping for the day, unplug all appliances, no matter how small, so they don’t sap energy while you’re away.
To limit your use of tools like blow dryers, consider air-drying your hair whenever possible. This small change can help you save energy over the long run and is better for your hair than repeated exposure to high heat.
Use the Exhaust Fan Sparingly
You may wonder, do bathroom fans use a lot of electricity? Most bathrooms have an exhaust fan installed to reduce moisture in the air and prevent mold and mildew growth. While these fans are useful for removing hot, humid air, it’s important to remember to turn the fan off once the steam has cleared to save energy. You should avoid leaving the exhaust fan on for more than 15-20 minutes, as it will remove the humidity in the room within that time, and it’s a waste of energy to leave the fan on any longer.
You may even want to replace your bathroom exhaust fan with an ENERGY STAR® model, which performs the same task of removing moisture from the air while consuming as much as 70% less energy. These products also meet standards for lower noise emissions, making them quieter and more pleasant to use and giving you a more energy-efficient bathroom.
Rethink Your Lighting
The first thing you do when you go into the bathroom is turn on the lights. Good lighting is essential to getting ready for the day, but too much light leads to unnecessary energy losses.
Switch to LED light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs for more energy-efficient bathroom lighting. Not only do they use less energy, but they also last nearly 40 times longer, making this small investment well worth it. Plus, adding LED bulbs to your bathroom vanity can result in as much as 75% greater energy efficiency.
Even with LED bulbs, everyone in the household should turn off the bathroom lights when they leave the room. If you or your family members find it hard to break this bad habit, consider installing a motion sensor or timer to ensure the lights turn off when they aren’t in use.