water heater http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10297/all en-US Save Hundreds by Getting Yourself Out of Hot Water http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3406535350_33fb5d6216.jpg" alt="inside washer" title="inside washer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An average household spends about $300 a year on hot water &mdash; about 12% of a family&rsquo;s total annual energy budget. But if you have family members who take long showers and generate loads of dirty laundry, that expense could easily double. If hot water expenses are putting the family finances in hot water, it&rsquo;s time to make some changes. The good news is that if everybody pitches in with some minor behavior alteration, water-heating expenses will definitely diminish.</p> <h3>1. Find a Better Way to Start the Day</h3> <p>Raise your hand if you use the shower to wake up every morning. If you don&rsquo;t need a shower to get clean, there are better ways to get your body going in the morning &mdash; like taking a few minutes to stretch or do light exercises, for example. This new wake-up regimen will save you time and money, and it could even help you lose weight and get in better shape.&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Try Sponge Baths</h3> <p>If exercise or other activities make you feel like you need a shower, consider a quick, targeted wipe-down instead. This isn&rsquo;t always the answer, but you&rsquo;ll be surprised at how effectively some speedy sponge work can get you clean. Saving time and money is good motivation for making this change.</p> <h3>3. Start Singing in the Shower</h3> <p>By the time you finish belting out one of your favorite songs (in 3-6 minutes or so), you should be just about done washing up. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Shaving in the shower takes more time, for example. But for your basic shower, sticking to the single-song rule will add up in savings.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Upgrade Your Showerhead</h3> <p>A low-flow showerhead uses 30% less water than a conventional version. Don&rsquo;t let the &ldquo;low-flow&rdquo; label on these showerheads get you down. The best water-saving showerheads produce an invigorating blast while delivering just 1.5 gal. per minute or so. They do this by blending air into the water stream and using pulsing technology. For maximum savings, buy a showerhead with a built-in valve that shuts off the water flow while you soap up.</p> <h3>5. Clean Up at the Club</h3> <p>Are you paying for a health club membership without enjoying all the benefits? If you belong to a health club that has showers, shower more at the club so you can shower less at home.</p> <h3>6. Rinse and Reuse</h3> <p>Ever notice how many different coffee cups get used over the course of the day? Instead of filling up the dishwasher with multiple cups and glasses, try rinsing a single glass or coffee cup out when you&rsquo;re finished and simply reusing it later. Combine this rinse-and-reuse strategy with the practice of doing full rather than partial loads in your dishwasher, and you&rsquo;ll maximize your savings.</p> <h3>7. Give Your Clothes the Cold Treatment</h3> <p>About 85% of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes into heating water. If you do lots of laundry, you&rsquo;re looking at major savings potential here. Switch to a detergent designed for cold water and use the &ldquo;cold/cold&rdquo; setting on your machine.</p> <h3>8. Call in a Pro</h3> <p>Even the most frugal hot-water habits can&rsquo;t compensate for the extra money an inefficient hot water heater is going to cost you. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it&rsquo;s worth considering an upgrade to a new Energy Star model. If you have a tank-type water heater (the most common variety), a full-service plumber can assess the condition of this appliance and help you weigh the pros and cons of replacement. Less costly energy-saving upgrades include insulating your existing water heater, insulating hot water pipes, and simply turning the temperature setting down to 120 degrees or even lower. On most electric tank-type water heaters, you&rsquo;ll find the temperature setting dial beneath a metal cover plate on the side of the tank. The &ldquo;factory&rdquo; setting of 140 degrees uses more energy than necessary.</p> <p><em>For more ideas, check out Wise Bread's </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs"><em>7 Ways to Lower Water Heater Costs</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Tim Snyder. A journalist specializing in sustainability, energy efficiency, and home building topics, Tim writes frequently for <a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/">Dr. Energy Saver</a>, a nationwide network of energy improvement contractors. Read more about saving energy on Dr. Energy Saver:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/10/how-good-is-burning-wood/">How Good Is Burning Wood?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/09/lessons-from-count-rumford/">Lessons from Count Rumford</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/08/the-greenest-insulation/">The Greenest Insulation</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-snyder">Tim Snyder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-household-leaks-you-can-fix-without-a-plumber">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill">15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home conserve water energy costs hot water utilities water heater Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:00:09 +0000 Tim Snyder 301975 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways To Lower Water Heater Costs http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shower_0.jpg" alt="water shower" title="water shower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="175" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your water heater can account for <a href="http://www.fypower.org/res/changing-habits.html">13% of home energy costs</a>.&nbsp; The good news is that there are small, easy tweaks you can make to lower those costs and conserve energy at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Use less</strong><br /> Nora has a bunch of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-the-planet-one-drop-at-a-time">great suggestions to reducing water use</a>, but when it comes to hot water specifically, it's the shower that keeps most people raising the dial on their water heaters. Use low-flow showerheads, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-a-shower-in-sixty-seconds-or-less">take quicker showers</a>, turn off the water when you are soaping up, and stick with mild, lukewarm water. It's really not so bad -- trying to change your shower habits.&nbsp; Try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-hot-water-now-what">going without a water heater at all</a>, and you'll realize you need a lot less hot water than you think.</p> <p>Also consider using cold water to wash your clothes. About <a href="http://www.fypower.org/res/changing-habits.html">90% of the energy use</a> in a clothes washer goes to water heating. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-clothes-last-longer-without-spending-big">Cold water washing</a> also helps clothes last longer!</p> <p><strong>Turn it down</strong><br /> Your water heater maintains its temperature 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.&nbsp; That takes a lot of energy.&nbsp; The standard setting is 140&ordm;F but most households should get by comfortably at <a href="http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwiprint.php?article=6503">120&ordm;F</a>.&nbsp; For every 10&ordm;F you turn down on your water heater, you save <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13090">3%-5% in energy costs</a>. Turning it down to 120&ordm;F could cut your costs by 6%-10%.&nbsp; As long as you are reducing your use with the tips above, you won't even notice.&nbsp; Make sure to consult your manual for proper instructions on adjusting the thermostat. For example, the <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13090">electricity should be turned off</a> before adjusting electric water heaters.</p> <p><strong>Turn it off</strong><br /> If you're going off on vacation, turn the temperature way down, or completely off. When you get home, you'll just need to wait about <a href="http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwiprint.php?article=6503">an hour to reheat</a> before the hot water gets back in service. If you have a gas heater, make sure you know how to <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13090">relight the pilot light</a> before turning it off (or just turn it down without completely turning it off).</p> <p><strong>Insulate</strong><br /> Adding insulation is inexpensive and can reduce standby heat losses by 25%-45%, saving you <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070">4%-9% in water heating costs</a>. Check to see if your heater has a R-value of at least 24 (if your water heater is less than ten years old, it&rsquo;s likely it&rsquo;s already <a href="http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwiprint.php?article=6503">optimally insulated</a>). You can also do a touch test &ndash; if it&rsquo;s <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070">warm to the touch</a>, it needs additional insulation. Make sure to check your manual for insulation instructions.</p> <p><strong>Set a timer</strong><br /> Again, a lot of energy is used to keep the water hot 24 hours a day. And really, you only need it a few times a day. If you have an electric water heater, a timer can be installed to turn it off during off peak hours (at night after you go to bed). This can save <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13110">5%-12% of energy</a>. For gas heaters, you can keep it turned down most of the time, and then manually turn it up about a half hour before you need it. Timers cost about $60 and should <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13110">pay for themselves in about a year</a>.</p> <p><strong>Reuse </strong><br /> Hot water that goes down the drain carries away energy with it. That can be <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13040">80%&ndash;90% of the energy</a> used to heat water in a home. Drain-water (or greywater) heat recovery systems capture this energy to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. Heat can be recovered from hot water used in showers, sinks, dishwashers, and clothes washers. Prices for drain-water heat recovery systems range from $300 to $500 (and you&rsquo;ll need a qualified plumbing and heating contractor to install the system). It can take <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13040">2.5 to 7 years</a> to recover that cost in savings, depending on how often the system is used.</p> <p><strong>Buy a more efficient one</strong><br /> If your water heater is old, it might be good to look into getting a new one. New water heaters today are considerably <a href="http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwiprint.php?article=6503">more energy efficient</a> than those of 20 years ago. In addition, Energy Star models can be <a href="http://www.fypower.org/res/tools/energy_tips.html">15% more efficient</a> than standard models. Look for one with heat traps, which <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13100">prevents convective heat losses</a> through the inlet and outlet pipes. Find the <a href="http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12770">best type of water heater</a> for your home and look for <a href="http://www.fypower.org/res/tools/rgl.html">rebates and incentives</a> for energy-efficient appliances and equipment.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-mondays">12 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Mondays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-daylight-saving-time-a-complete-waste-of-energy">Is daylight-saving time a complete waste of energy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hold-off-on-heating-with-these-10-warming-ways-0">Hold Off On Heating with These 10 Warming Ways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/there-are-cheaper-ways-to-return-to-a-greener-earth">There are Cheaper Ways to Return to a Greener Earth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks bills conserve energy environment green heating water heater Mon, 12 Jan 2009 01:24:22 +0000 Lynn Truong 2730 at http://www.wisebread.com