Billy the Sunshine Plumber is here to help you make your water heating more efficient and less costly.
You got an ugly surprise when you opened today’s mail – your electric bill was sky high. After seeing that, you needed your weekly qigong practice for relaxation. You can’t really understand it. Admittedly, you’ve been using more electricity because you’ve been home more since the pandemic began. But you thought that usage had evened out.
The problem might lie with your plumbing system and the cost of heating water.
Energy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy’s prime resource for saving energy and using renewable energy techniques around the home, says that “water heating can account for around 12 percent of a family’s utility bill—the biggest chunk after space heating and cooling.”
That factor, energy.gov says, likely accounts for the fact that the most popular pages on its site concern solar water heaters and tankless water heaters. Both will help you save money while providing plenty of hot water, but, as the site says, not everyone can instantly buy a new water heater. But there are steps you can take to make your water heater more efficient.
Among the steps suggested on energy.gov’s website:
- Take short showers instead of baths. Of course, your savings here depends on your and your family’s habits. A long, hot shower may use a lot more hot water than a bath where the tub isn’t filled to the brim. But even a bath with only a few inches of water can use a heck of a lot of water if you have one of those HUGE jetted bathtubs! A warm bath is a nice luxury, but for daily bathing stick with a short shower. And if you can stand it, you might even try turning off the water while soaping up, shampooing, or shaving!
- Reduce your time in the shower.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120°F; for every 10ºF reduction in temperature, you can save from 3 percent to 5percent on your water heating costs.
- Don’t let the water run. Are you guilty of leaving the water on while you brush your teeth? Or when you step away to grab dirty dishes, or find the soap? All of those extra minutes can add up to a lot of wasted water. It only takes a second to shut it off!
- Use cold water for most laundry loads, and always use cold water for the rinse cycle.
- Use your dishwasher efficiently. Wash only full loads, choose shorter wash cycles, and activate the booster heater if your dishwasher has one.
- Fix leaks. A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month. That may not seem like much, but this drip calculator from the American Water Works Association puts it into perspective: at 60 drips per minute, you waste 8.64 gallons per day, 259 gallons per month, and just over 3,153 gallons per year. That is a LOT of good, clean water just going to waste!
- Install low-flow fixtures. Federal regulations require new showerheads and faucets to have low flow rates. Showerheads and faucets that pre-date 1992 can use more than twice as much water as new ones. For a small investment, you can achieve water savings of 25 percent to 60 percent.
- Install heat traps on your water heater tank. You could save $15–$30 on your water heating bill. You may need a professional to help you install them on your existing tank, but some new storage water heaters include heat traps.
- Insulate your hot-water storage tank. For electric tanks, be careful not to cover the thermostat, and for natural gas or oil hot water storage tanks, be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. (Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations).
- Insulate the first few feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- Install a timer that turns off your electric water heater at night or times when you don’t use it. You could also use it to turn off the water heater during your utility’s peak demand times.
- Consider purchasing a new water heater. Don’t limit yourself to just conventional storage water heaters! There are other efficient options that might be right for you.
You can do most of those yourself. Others, however, require the expertise of a professional plumber. You can find a trusted professional plumber at Billy the Sunshine Plumber.
Billy the Sunshine Plumber has been the go-to company for plumbing repairs, maintenance and upgrades since opening almost 100 years ago in 1924. Billy the Sunshine Plumber is the trusted plumber of choice in Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties where he is available 24/7/365. Days, nights, weekends, holidays, anytime – Billy the Sunshine Plumber is always here for you.
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