The Department of Energy has listed some ways that you can decrease the money you spend on heating water. Here are their suggestions:
- Reduce the water temperature on the hot water heater
- Reduce your use of hot water
- Insulate the heater and hot water pipes
- Install heat traps
- Install a heat recovery system
- Use off peak electricity to heat water in an electric water heater
Reduce the Temperature Setting on the Hot Water Heater to 120 Degrees
The easiest way to save money is to reduce the temperature setting on the hot water heater to about 120 degrees. There have been rare cases of legionnaires disease bacteria living at 120 degrees but higher temperatures can cause scalding so be sure to consider these factors. The Department suggests 120 degrees as safe unless you may have a weak immune system or suffer from chronic respiratory disease.
Have Cooler Settings on Your Dishwasher and Clothes Washer
Another way to reduce use of hot water is to have cooler settings on your dishwasher and clothes washer. Pipe insulation and blankets are available for “do it yourselfers” but it is recommended to have an experienced plumbing contractor cover any gas and oil fired water heaters. Our expert Lorain County plumbing contractors are experienced with these insulating jobs and can also check your whole system for leaks and any other potential problems.
Install Heat Traps or a Heat Recovery System
An experienced Lorain County plumbing contractor can also improve efficiency by installing heat traps or a heat recovery system. A heat recovery system takes used heated water from bath drains and sinks and diverts them to coils that surround pipes going in to the water heater to transfer that heat to the water.
Photo Credit: Neff Conner
Proctor and Gamble Joins the Alliance to Save Energy
The Proctor and Gamble Corporation has joined with the Alliance to Save Energy in an effort to help promote washing clothes in cold water to reduce energy use in the home. Heating water for washing clothes can consume 80% of the energy used per load according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Proctor and Gamble wants to promote the idea that clothes laundered with their new product that is designed to work best in cold water can reduce energy use and emissions.
Proctor and Gamble has a natural resource education initiative, Future Friendly, which will be involved in an Earth Day project to inform consumers about the benefits of cold water washing. Reducing energy consumption isn’t the only benefit though - there is money to be saved by the homeowner from using less energy as well. Proctor and Gamble is focusing on the benefits to the environment but the monetary benefits to the average consumer should not be overlooked.
Updating Your Hot Water Heater Could Result in Savings on Your Monthly Utility Bill
The hot water heater is one of the most overlooked sources of energy use in the home. There have been many improvements to this very important appliance over the years. New water heaters are much more efficient than those made years ago and upgrading to one with an Energy Star rating could result in dramatic savings on your monthly utility bill.
Two choices that are highly efficient and environmentally friendly are the tankless water heater and one that can be part of a heat pump. Your Lorain County plumbing and heating contractor can explain all the variables involved when choosing the right hot water heater for your home. They also have all the information about any tax credits that may be available and can help you decide which choice will be best for your family needs and budget.
Make Appliances More Efficient to Save a Substantial Amount on Your Utility Bill
Many appliances are improved every year to use less and less energy but buying new models every year is hardly cost effective. There are ways that you can keep improving the efficiency of some of the biggest energy users in your home after their purchase.
Make Your Washer and Dryer More Efficient
Your washer and dryer for instance can consume a tremendous amount of energy – up to ten percent of your total utility bill if you don’t take the necessary steps to help make them more efficient. The first thing you can do after purchasing a more efficient washer would be to use the cold water feature for all clothes. There are cold water detergents that will get clothes as clean as when you use hot water. You should also always try to run the washer at full capacity. If you must do a smaller load be sure to set the washing machine accordingly.
There are also actions that you can take to make your dryer more efficient. First and foremost you need to make sure that you aren’t over drying clothes unnecessarily. Many newer dryers have energy saver settings that you should take advantage of that will dry your clothes without wasting energy. You should also keep the lint trap clean and check the vent pipe for clogs to prevent the dryer from shutting down and wasting a lot of energy in the process.
Insulate the Pipes for Your Hot Water
The hot water heater’s performance can be improved by insulating the pipes that carry the water to your kitchen, bath and laundry room. You can also adjust your water heater to lower temperatures to increase savings.
Upgrade to a New Water Heater
Your Lorain County plumbing contractor has Energy Star rated hot water heaters that have many new efficiency improvements. Upgrading to a new water heater and taking the steps to make all three of these appliances more efficient can help save a substantial amount on your utility bill immediately and for years to come.
Three U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to give homeowners up to a 30% tax credit for improving the energy efficiency of their homes. In a press release Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine said the bill would give Americans who improve their energy efficiency by twenty percent a tax credit of 30% on the expenditures up to $5,000. This bill introduced November 18, 2011 would continue the work of previous tax credits that are available until December 31, 2011.
The bill would make these credits available until 2016. In addition to promoting energy efficiency the bill will also help to stimulate the construction industry.
Our Lorain County HVAC professionals have been working to improve Ohio citizen’s energy efficiency for a long time. The information on all current federal and state sponsored rebates and tax credits is available on our website.
You can improve your home’s efficiency and qualify for rebates by using Energy Star rated hot water heaters, furnaces and other appliances such as a geothermal heat pump. These credits can still be taken advantage of if you take action by the end of the year. The credits for the geothermal appliances and solar powered products are in place already and will continue into 2012.
The bill announced by Senator Snowe has yet to be voted on but the current plan is still available if you act now. There are state rebates through First Energy of Ohio that you may qualify for and some manufacturer incentives as well. Contact your Lorain County HVAC professional today and get all the information available to take advantage of current programs before this tax year is through.
How Will You Reduce Your Winter Energy Expenditures?
Many Lorain County residents are getting ready for the winter. It’s going to be cold for sure with the temperature on some days dipping down close to zero. With that in mind some of us may be a little too focused in one area when thinking of how to reduce our winter energy expenditures. We may go into the basement and look over the heater and decide to replace the filter and clean up parts we can reach
Schedule a Heating Performance Check
You concentrate on how you heat your home but what about that other heating enterprise you are involved in, heating your water? The Lorain County HVAC contractor is available to do a heater performance check for you that will include more than the quick filter replacement and brushing of some dust off the unit. They will check for gas leaks and give the unit a thorough once over and report on its performance, making any recommendations that can improve its efficiency.
They also can look around and check on another major energy user - your hot water heater. The replacement of this unit may be something you and your tunnel vision have missed. That will not happen with a plumbing and heating professional. It is too often that the first time someone asks a professional to look at the water heater is when there is no hot water and the unit is in the process of flooding the basement.
Your Lorain County plumbing and heating professional can advise you on what ways you can improve the hot water heater’s performance. If it is an older unit they can recommend and install a highly efficient Energy Star rated unit that uses renewable energy and that may qualify for a rebate from Edison of Ohio.
Do you have tunnel vision? Make sure to have your furnace checked with the pending seasonal change. You might be able to save even more on your utility bills by having an experienced HVAC pro examine your water heater while they are there to service your furnace. Schedule heating performance check online now and save $20.
The government’s tax credit program to help encourage energy efficiency has extended some of the credits available for water heaters. There are some limits placed on the type of heater and no electric heaters are included. If you have recently decided to replace your water heater, a plumbing contractor will be able to advise you which type of water heater will best serve your particular needs.
Get up to a $300 Credit with the Installation of a Tankless Water Heater
The credit for water heaters will not be available for any electric warmed water heater in the year 2011. Gas or oil fired water heaters can get you up to a $300 credit including installation, but most of these credits are for tankless water heaters. A tankless heater saves on the fuel used to warm the water, but there can be a drawback. The tankless heater may not be a good choice for larger families that may have a higher demand for hot water at any one time during the day.
The cost of a tankless water heater is usually higher than a traditional water heater. It’s best to consult with a plumbing contractor to get estimates for both installation and the energy efficiency ratings of the different heaters available. These ratings also effect whether the tax credit is given to you. You need an energy factor of .82 or thermal efficiency rating of 90% according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Another factor for consideration is the method of ignition. A Lorain County plumbing pro will be able to advise you on the pros and cons of an intermittent ignition device and a more traditional pilot ignition water heater.
Some pilot models burn enough gas that energy savings can be minimal. The models with the intermittent ignition avoid this wasting of energy. With so many choices and factors to consider, you should call in an expert Lorain county plumbing contractor before making any decisions.
Get the facts on the 2011 tax credit with our free download!
Photo Credit: RJL20
If your water heater tank is starting to leak, it’s time to get a new, energy-efficient hot water heater. Lorain County residents have several options to choose from. In making your decision, consider your family’s personal needs, utility availability, cost and energy-efficiency. A licensed Lorain County plumber can discuss the pros and cons of each option and install a new hot water system in your home.
Select The Water Heater That is Right for you!
- Conventional storage water heaters are the type of water heater most often found in Lorain County homes. These water heaters have a cylindrical storage tank. Cold water flowing into the tank is heated by a gas burner located below the tank. As hot water is used, a valve allows more cold water to flow into the tank. A thermostat tracks water temperature and automatically activates the gas burner when the water in the tank begins to cool. The need to constantly reheat water wastes energy when hot water is not being used. Insulating a storage water heater can reduce energy loss. Storage water heaters are most frequently fueled by natural gas but can also be powered by propane, fuel oil or electricity.
- Demand water heaters, also called tankless or instantaneous water heaters, heat water directly in the pipe as it passes over an electric element or gas burner. Because water is heated only when it is needed, demand water heaters lose less energy than traditional models.
- Heat pump water heaters are sold as both stand-alone units and as part of a complete HVAC system. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from the surrounding air or ground to the water supply. Because heat pumps operate most efficiently between temperatures of 40 and 90 degrees F., a backup system is required with Lorain County installations.
- Solar water heaters harness the sun’s heat to heat water. Solar collectors capture and store heat which is transferred to water via a circulating system.
Federal tax credits on qualifying, high-efficiency HVAC equipment have been modified and extended through December 31, 2011. If you need an energy-efficient hot water heater, click here for details on how you may be able to get a federal tax credit.
Photo credit: Roger_mommaerts