Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling
Want to save up to 25 % on water heating? Follow these simple recommendations:
SAVINGS ON HOT WATER HEATING:
1) If you have a tank water heater (electric, gas, or oil-powered), the easiest way to lower your bill is to lower the water temperature. Most usually, a setting of 100-110 F should provide water that is hot enough for pretty much anything. In some water heaters, this corresponds to somewhat below the "MIDDLE" setting.
2) Touch the outside of your water heater tank. If it feels warm, purchase a "water heater blanket" for around $10-$20. It goes around the water heater to help keep the heat inside. Be sure you DO NOT cover the very top vent of the heater (if you have a gas-powered one).
3) If your water tank is more than 15-20 years old and it needs to be replaced, buy one that has at least a 12 year guarantee. In a recent article, Consumer Reports cut open several different brands of water heaters. The ones with a guarantee of 12 or more years had almost TWICE the amount of insulation that the ones that only had a 5 or 9 year guarantee. Also, be sure to get one that has a high efficiency, even if they cost a bit more. You'll save money in the long run.
4) Install a "low flow" showerhead (2.5 gallons per minute or less). You can buy them for as low as $10-20. With a 2.5 gpm showerhead, a 15 min. long shower will only use 37.5 gallons of hot water. Some "ultra low flow" showerheads deliver 1.6 gpm, saving even more.
5) Do not take baths in your bathtub too often. Although bathtubs vary in size, they are usually around 50 gallons, so filling up your bathtub will use 33% more hot water
6) At least once a year, drain the water from your water heater to get rid of any hard water deposits or any solids that may develop inside the tank. To do this, turn off the circuit breaker of the water heater (if you have an electric one) or turn the gas off (if you have a gas one). Wait at least 30 min. to let it cool down a bit. Close the cold water intake to the tank (there should be 2 pipes on top of the tank; the coldest one is the cold water intake). Locate the drain valve, usually on the BOTTOM of the tank. Place a bucket under it and open the valve (BE CAREFUL; VERY HOT WATER WILL COME OUT). Drain all the water. Close the drain valve. Open the cold water valve and allow the tank to fill up all the way (this may take a while). After the tank is full, open the gas valve (if you have a gas water heater) and light up the pilot or turn the circuit breaker on (if you have an electric one).
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