The Cost of Wasted Water Waiting for it to Heat
So . . . I finished taking out the trash, garbage, and recycling materials to the curb and, as is my wont, I took to the kitchen sink to wash my hands. Because I’m far more acutely aware of our water use due to the drought, I ended up washing them with cold water; I just didn’t want to let the water run long enough to get hot.
That got me wondering about how much water could be saved if we had instant water heating. I did a little research into tankless water heaters and quickly found out how little the technology seems to have progressed in the last 10 years or so. Most articles I came across suggested the break-even point for installing one that was reasonably efficient/effective would probably exceed your lifespan.
In the process, I came across figures for the number of gallons of water an average household runs down the drain while waiting for the hot water to push out the cold that’s in the pipes between the sink/tub/shower where it’s going to be used. The figure I came across is 26 – 29 gallons. I also looked at the US Census to see how many households there are in California. The number of housing units listed, as of 2013, is 13,790,495.
So, taking the number of households and multiplying by the more conservative number of 25 gallons per day down the drain, I determined the following. If we could find a way to heat water directly at the point of use, thereby not wasting that 25 gallons per day, the State of California would save 125,838,266,875 gallons of water per year. As it turns out, that’s a third of one percent of the water in Lake Tahoe. Drop in the bucket, or significant savings? Probably doesn’t matter, unless you’ve got an idea for how to provide on-demand, on-location hot water . . . cheap.
I stayed up last night to see if I could catch a couple of Leonids. After all, some of the news stories were predicting the possibility of a half storm (as many as 500/hr). Well . . . truth to tell, by the time yesterday rolled around the reality was that if it was going to be that strong anywhere on the planet it would be in Asia, but they were still saying there should be 25 – 30/hr in North America, with the possibility of as many as 200/hr. I don’t live in the darkest part of the world, but Simi Valley is a somewhat sleepy little town and my back yard is reasonably dark.
My first experience with a meteor shower was about thirty years ago, out in the Mojave Desert where some friends and I had gone to view the Perseids, one of the more spectacular showers that usually peaks on or about the morning of August 12. It’s a good time to view them – the weather at night in the desert can be quite pleasant and it was. I saw some beautiful bolides; a couple being bright enough to cast faint shadows on the desert floor. Spectacular! Wondrous! Unfortunately, life intervened and I was never able to get out to that spot again, but I’ve attempted viewings many times since; just never in a really dark location. Now that I have more time, or at least my time is more flexible than it’s been for the last couple three decades, I’m beginning to wonder if my eyes are giving out. Surely my patience is wearing thin.
This year I’ve so far attempted both the Perseids and the Orionids and haven’t seen a damn thing! Last night (this morning) was no exception. I did see two meteors, but neither was a Leonid. One came out of the West and was bright and extremely fast. The other came out of the Northwest and was a bit slower and quite a bit fainter. However, the Leonids were a no-show for me. Perhaps I should have planned to stay out all night, but I just couldn’t afford to give up all of today. I guess I’ll have to content myself with the knowledge I have seen at least one spectacular showing and, perhaps, that will have to be good enough. I’ll probably try again; the Geminids are coming up next month. <sigh>