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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Hot Water

Although at about 14% of your energy bill hot water is not nearly the greatest user of energy, but it is still an important chunk of the bill and deserves a look.  First off, you may want to replace your heater.  On demand, tankless water heaters are an option, but they require a gas source and are still quite expensive.  At about $1000 plus gas connection and plumber installation, they may take you a while to realize any savings.  Consider a more efficient electric unit to replace the old one.  Next, check the water temperature.  To do this open the hot water faucet and allow the flow to come up to temperature.  Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.  If it is over 120deg.F, then you can turn the thermostats on your tank down.  Studies show that 120 deg. is all you need to properly wash dishes, hands, etc.  If you have exposed hot water pipes in a cold basement or garage, cover them with insulating foam available at any hardware store.  To help your tank maintain water temperature, and therefore turn on less often, wrap your heater in a water heater insulating blanket.  To help reduce hot water use, wash clothes in cold water, today's detergents work very well without hot water.  Avoid running water when you don't need to.  Us men can fill a sink with warm water for shaving instead of running the water for 10 minutes, just as an example.  If you really want to go green, you can have a solar preheating system added, but again, there may be some time lapse before savings are realized.

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