Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Water and energy saving idea

I’ve posted about this before but I thought it should be repeated. Do you wash dishes by hand? Do you run hot water into the sink for washing the dishes? Or are you one of those who allows the water to keep running while you wash each dish separately? I personally would never let water run so freely even if my water and sewer came as free. I’ve never had a dishwasher so I don’t know how those things use hot water. However, I never use the hot water at my kitchen sink. Not for dishwashing or any other reason. In *my* opinion its a waste of energy. I’ll explain my reason.

In my house the water line distance from the water heater to the kitchen sink is about 15 feet. That would be 15 feet of cold water that must run before the hot water reaches the faucet. I’m not sure how much that would be in gallons. A frugal person would catch that good clean cold water and use it for something before it goes down the drain. You follow me so far? There is a much better way than simply catching the cold water in the kitchen sink. OK, picture this in your mind. Each time that 15 feet of water comes out of the water line to reach the faucet in my kitchen it must be replaced by 15 feet of cold water going into the water heater from outside. That would be 15 feet of cold water mixing with the hot water in the tank lowering the temperature causing it to start heating in order to bring it back up to temperature. If I allowed the hot water to run freely while doing dishes the water heater would have a steady flow of cold water going into the tank and it would struggle keeping the water at temperature.

Get the idea? That’s 30 feet of cold water at my house if I did nothing but let the hot water reach the faucet. Fifteen out and fifteen in and then however much hot water is used. BUT, I had a better idea. Instead of letting the water heater do the heating I use the kitchen stove. I have a pot dedicated to just heating a gallon or two of water for dishes and so forth in the kitchen. Instead of the thirty plus feet of water; I heat only a small amount. I use two dish pans for the dishes. I wash dishes with the hot water. Rinse with cold water. Pour the cold rinse water into the pot on the stove to be used for washing next time. I don’t heat it to boiling – just to comfortably hot for my hands and to clean the dishes.

I have another thought about using the kitchen stove to heat water. If you have small children that get a bath regularly here’s an idea for you. Instead of filling the regular bath tub with warm water why not use a plastic bin large enough for them to fit inside but not as large as a bathtub. Set the bin inside the regular tub sort of like a mini-sized version of a bathtub. Heat enough water on the kitchen stove for the bath. How many feet of cold water would that save you? That would depend on far is the tub is from the water heater? I credit Grandma Mama for that idea. When I was a child we didn’t have running water inside the house. We got water from an outside well. Everyone got a Saturday night bath in a washtub with water heated on the wood burning kitchen stove. Water used for washing anything, from dirty dishes to dirty people, got heated on that stove. Water for laundry too in the winter. In summer months water was heated over an open fire outside.

8 comments on “Water and energy saving idea

  1. catherine young
    January 20, 2021

    I really like your posts. They certainly make me think. I cannot do as you do with the hot water and tap water saving, but I might use the ideas in them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita
      January 22, 2021

      That’s why I write. I’m happy when something I write starts someone thinking of possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jasna
    January 20, 2021

    You are SO right Anita. I totally agree with you. I use the kettle to heat just the amount of water I need for the dishes. Also, I try to wash clothes by hand if it is possible as the washing machine uses so much. No reason to add even more to the profits of the water company! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita
      January 22, 2021

      I haven’t the strength to wash clothes by hand anymore but I’ve got it down to only two small loads a week in the washer. I could make it one load except the towels shed lint on things so I wash those separately.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Silver
    January 20, 2021

    I agree with you, leaving the water running for dishes is a waste of money, plus it’s not very sustainable. Energy an resources goes into ensuring water is treated and gets to us.

    I wash dishes using the sink with the stopper and use the water for something else once it’s done – often to wash and rinse out the Cat’s litter tray between changes.

    Regarding dishwashers they have a heating element inside them that warms the water up for when it washes the dishes. Apparently a lot of the newer models are very energy and water efficient, so much so it beats washing by hand. One day in the future we may get a dishwasher as we do have a space in the kitchen where it can go.

    I guess the question is, what uses the most energy, heating the water for dishes using the boiler, or heating the water on the stove? I guess if you only use a little bit of warm water the answer is apparent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita
      January 22, 2021

      Thanks, I didn’t know that. I haven’t the space for a dishwasher. I don’t remember exactly how many gallons of water came from the heater to the sink before it got hot but it was much more than the one gallon I heat on the stove. I guess I’ve seen too many news reports of water shortages around the world.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Silver
        January 22, 2021

        Oh no I totally agree – water is a precious commodity. One advert for WaterAid really struck me. Despite it being for a charity (and I know they are meant to evoke a response) it showed a young girl fetching water from a pond for her family, I could only describe that water in the pond as brown. She was then filmed drinking from said bucket without boiling and filtering it first:(. I know this is the reality for many many people, not having access to safe and clean water to drink.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anita
          January 22, 2021

          I think I may have seen the same advertisement. I’ve watched a few scarce water documentary videos which are very scary. I watched people bath and drink water right next to dead animals, dead people, and raw sewage floating in the Ganges river. Today I decided to watch “The world’s most polluted river“. Another documentary. I started being frugal with my water as a way to keep the bill low but a nice side effect is knowing I’m doing my part for global water shortages. The documentary videos keep me motivated to conserve.

          Liked by 2 people

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