Menu Image: “Water Heater Thermostat”by Mark Florence is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Australian homeUp to $700 a year / 7kWh a day / 1.7 ton C02 per year*
Smart renterUp to $350 a year / 3.5kWh a day / 0.8 ton C02 per year*
Very smart renter$30 a year / 0.3kWh a day / 0.1 ton C02 per year*

*A price range has been given here as the cost for hot water will vary depending on the type of hot water system that you have.

As a renter, you can easily get clean while using 50-75% less hot water than the average Australian home. You’ll have better skin health, make cleaning dishes faster, your garments will last longer and save money in the process.

Cleaning hands, clothes and dishes

  • Every time a hot water tap is turned on, 3-5 litres of hot water is wasted just to flush cooled down water out of the pipe.
  • Soap is what kills bacteria, not water temperature unless it is 80 degrees or above so hands can be washed in cold water [1].
  • Wash your clothes in cold water; laundry soap is designed to work in cold water and avoiding hot water washing makes your garments last longer [1].
  • Hot water for dishes is only needed for scrubbing off stuck-on food.
  • Use a scrubbing sponge on a stick that holds dishwashing liquid and you can wash dishes as you go instead of piling them up. Then it’s as simple as leaving them in the dish rack to dry.
  • If you need to do a pile of dishes, boil the kettle and pour 1-1.5 litres into the sink. It’s better than waiting a few minutes to push several litres of hot water to the kitchen sink (unless you’re on solar hot water).


Dishwashing stick
Use one of these to do dishes as you go, saving time and hot water


Getting yourself clean

The biggest user of hot water by far is for showering and bathing so here’s how to stay clean without the high hot water bills:

  • Treat baths as a luxury rather than a necessity. Foot baths can be a nicer option.
  • 4-5 minute showers are king. Use a timer if you need to and save things like brushing your teeth, waxing and shaving for the bathroom sink.
  • Fit a water saving shower head if you don’t have one already.
  • Shower heads that deliver 6-7.5 litres a minute provide a decent shower, can be easily fitted by a renter and the old shower head can be easily reinstalled when vacating your property.
  • If you are not sure about your current shower head, use it to fill a jug on the strongest setting and measure how long it takes, then convert to litres/min.


Water saving showerhead installed in shower cubicle
A 6-7.5 litre/min showerhead is an easy way for renters to save hot water


  • It’s ok to skip showering occasionally, in fact, if you shower every second or third day, your skin will be softer, you will preserve helpful bacteria and natural oils on your skin, will reduce skin irritations and your hair and scalp will be healthier [2].
  • This is not for everyone but a cold shower in summer can be very refreshing, kind of like jumping into a swimming pool. It also comes with a stack of health benefits and toughens you up [3][4].
  • Seal your shower (optional). This simple fix is outlined in more detail in Solar hot water for renters but basically it makes your shower cubical much more comfortable to shower and dry yourself off in and it stops your bathroom mirror from fogging up.

Even if you shower everyday, these steps should cut your water bill in half compared to the average Australian home. To really get mileage with your hot water, check out Solar hot water for renters.

Slash your energy bills HomePage


Further Reading:

[1] In fact the World Health Organisation does not specify a temperature when washing hands:



[4] This is not just an anecdote, we both spent two and half years showering cold whilst in Germany. It took about 10 days and after that, swimming in any cold water was not an issue. We don’t do it all year round in Melbourne as the incoming cold water is just too uncomfortable in the colder months.