A Hot Water Experiment And What It Can Tell Us

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Ever thought about how much water you use? How about how much hot water? It’s pretty easy, as we go through the day, to simply not think about the costs of heating all that hot water. We don’t really know what it costs, because our water heater isn’t itemized on our power bill.

It’s a boring subject, one that’s far from sexy – but it’s important. We concentrate heavily on areas that should get our concern – like hybrid cars and sustainable power generation – but at the same time, real sustainability is going to have to come on all fronts. If we learn to generate enough power in a sustainable way, what’s going to be the point if we continue to simply waste it all inefficiently?

But heating water is costly. Keeping a solid source of hot water at the go, for showers, or whatever else – means we’re running our water heaters a lot, and those beasts use up a ton of power. They’re like dryers, they burn through that electricity so good.


Using Your Stove Instead

So try this little experiment (or, you know, don’t – but at least think about it). What if your hot water tank busted and you had to use your stove to generate that hot water?

In other words, every time you wanted a hot shower, or to wash your hands with hot water, or to do any of the other things it requires, you had to actually pour out that water and boil it yourself?

You’ve probably been there a couple of times before, if your boiler has ever broken, for example.


Appliance Load

But that’s the thing – heating water really does cost a lot, and if you were really forced to heat all that water yourself, instead of relying on a pretty inefficient appliance to keep it hot, you’d start to realize what it was costing you.


Old Tricks that Actually Work

Look, in the end, it’s not really realistic to ask you to stop using your boiler. It’s one of those things that works better as a thought-experiment than in practice.

But the real idea behind all of this is to start separating out the costs of what we enjoy or take for granted, and to question why we take those things for granted.

One of the reasons is simply because the methods by which we use these things make it easy for us to forget about them, and there’s no realistic way that we’re going to be able to figure out why our usage habits are flawed unless we put them into a new perspective.


The Difference Between Seeing & Doing

Kids (and anyone) learn better when you show them. If you force yourself to actually use your stove’s electricity to boil all your water, and ignore your boiler for a day, you’ll get a concrete sense (or at least a more well-developed one) of the costs of your boiler.

It’s not an incredibly practical thing, but learning how to see something old in a new light rarely is.

What do you think? Leave a comment!