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Not using the hot water system

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11:30 pm
March 26, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Post edited 2:38 am – August 18, 2010 by John Symond

This summer I turned off my hot water system.

I felt with my hand that it was giving off some heat and therefore heating my flat slightly, and in the process wasting electricity. 

I had been comparing electricity bills with a friend who was doing better than me, and still is. She had turned her water heater off already. When I got over the shock, I thought, 'I could do that'. She swims every day and had decided she could easily switch off. (Turns it on when the kids come). 

For me it meant cold showers. Its a great way to enforce having short showers. I made a surprising discovery: the cold water reaches my flat up through the cavity of a sun-soaked wall, and by midday it was possible to get one minute's hot water for a shower. So – get wet in cold water – does not take long; rinse off in mostly warm water. Problem solved. 

Now we are waiting to see who will be the first to crack, as winter approaches…

Water for dishwashing, shaving etc. can be economically produced with an electric kettle. Just a little bit more inconvenient, but better for the environment – both for energy and water conservation. Smile

10:02 pm
August 17, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

In two weeks it will be the first day of Spring!

I got through the winter without using a hot water system. So did my friend, but she turns it on when the family visits. The younger generation can't handle it…

I have thought about the Age of Fossil Fuel. It gave us comfort and convenience. I think we need to be willing to accept more discomfort and inconvenience at this time. Later, when technology has made further advances, we may be able to have all the old comforts and conveniences back. 

The political failure to restrain carbon emissions, and other environmental hazards, seems to be based on wanting to have someone else solve the problem, while we continue with our usual lifestyle and comforts. 

11:25 pm
August 17, 2010



posts 456

Post edited 4:26 am – August 18, 2010 by marea

Hi John,

Does that mean you have been having cold showers all through winter!!??!!

What's the problem with using hot water if people have solar hot water systems, solar panels or buy green power?

11:38 pm
August 17, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Yes! Cold showers all winter! You get used to it quite quickly. The water is turned off most of the time while you soap up. 

I buy 100% Green Power, but I have been trying to see how little electricity I could consume anyway. To answer your question – use all the hot water you like, if it is from the green sources you mentioned above. 

This is me when the cold water hits… Surprised

When I am dressed I enjoy the afterglow… Laugh

Later the self-righteousness… Smile

5:41 pm
January 9, 2013



posts 263

Self righteousness scares me. I think extremism is one of the reason that people get scared away from environmental movements. The guilt that so many of us feel is just terrrible. I feel that it is holding us back as a society. We are not trying to make the government make the coal companies sell carbon neutral coal because we are all beating ourselves up about our monsterous ecological footprints!

I'm glad to hear that being on solar or 100% greenpower means that we can lose our tag as dirty rotten polluters. I heard that our energy bills are 50% of our footprint. Does that mean that I have a 50% smaller footprint if I have greenpower or solar?  … and if so can I just stick with warm showers? I struggle with the cold enough without losing the joy of a warm shower …


11:41 pm
January 30, 2013



posts 60

You guys are more hardy than I. The temperature fell below 20 C recently & I felt cold!

I have wondered about my gas water heating though & tried to turn the heating down as low as possible to stop it wasting heating of water. I don't want to switch it off altogether, because I don't confident about relighting the the pilot flame.

I will say though a solar water system would seem ideal in Cba & I can't work out why they seem less common here than in my home state of WA? Sure, we have long winters, but you can always boost the solar with electricity off the grid. 

For the amount of hot water I need to heat my shower (because my washing machine only uses cold water) & use of the dishwasher once every week say, I could probably just have hoses carefully wrapped along the roof directly heating the water itself, without using a gas heater. What a strange world we live in where simple technological solutions seem to be over looked?

Aside from hot water use, just plain old reduction of energy use…let's go back to our parents' constant refrain, 'switch off the light when you leave the room'.

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