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Posts Tagged ‘energy costs’

Water Heating bill: 7 Ways to Save

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

According to Energy.gov, your water heating bill accounts for 12 percent of your monthly electricity use. That is substantial considering hot water is something that most folks use two to three times a day at most. Aside from going out and buying a new, energy-efficient water heater, there are ways you can reduce your water heating expense. Take advantage of the money-saving tips listed below and reduce your energy costs. Not only is it good for your wallet, but also helps to reduce your carbon footprint, which is good for the environment.

  1. Annual Flushing: Scheduling an annual water heater flush with your plumbing contractor is beneficial to both extend the life of your appliance and maintain its maximum efficiency. Sediment buildup is the main culprit that leads to reduced efficiency and performance as well as premature tank failure.
  2. Adjust the Temperature: During an annual flush, ask your plumbing contractor to adjust the temperature settings to 120 degrees. Energy.gov states that for every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you can lower your water heating costs by 3 to 5 percent.
  3. Install a Timer: Water heater timers have been around for many years and are one of the most efficient ways to control or reduce water heating costs. Once installed, you can set the time of day your water heater activates as well as when it shuts off.
  4. Turn It Off: Many people fail to realize or forget they can simply turn off the water heater by flipping the corresponding circuit breaker in the main circuit breaker box. Do you really need to heat water while away from home for extended periods or on vacation?
  5. Wrap Your Heater: Ask your plumbing contractor about insulating your water heater with an additional water heater blanket. An extra layer of protection will slow down energy loss even further, cutting back on the appliances’ energy use. You should also consider insulating any exterior hot water lines and the first few feet connected to the water heater.
  6. Reduce Bathing Use: A nice, hot bath at the end of a long workday is very relaxing. However, if your goal is to conserve energy and reduce water use, try utilizing shorter showers. Limit your time in the shower to five minutes or less. If you require more time due to shaving, shampooing or lathering up, try turning off the water in between tasks. Ask your plumber to install Low-flow Showerheads that conserve water use, including hot water. Many incorporate a handy button that allows you to shut off the water without changing the temperature settings on the main control.
  7. Use Household Appliances Responsibly: Wash your laundry in cold water whenever possible and always during the rinse cycle. Always wash only full loads in both your washing machine and your dishwasher to reduce energy consumption and reduce your water heating bill.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Flickr

Tankless Water Heaters: How Do They Work?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Tankless water heaters also referred to as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters, produce hot water only when called for. This feature provides the system with improved energy efficiency, which can save you money in energy costs. To help determine if it is right for your home, you should take the time to understand the basic functions of the system.

How They Work
A tankless system does not require a storage tank; they heat water directly when you turn on the faucet. When a flow switch affixed to the unit detects water flow, it activates the system to heat the water. An electric element or gas burner is responsible for heating the water before it reaches your tap. When you turn off the faucet or outlet, the water flow stops and the sensor deactivates the water heating system. Since tankless systems heat water only on demand, you can expect to save a few dollars on your energy bills.

Energy Consumption
The amount of energy tankless water heaters consume depends on the amount of hot water used. According to Energy Star, a typical home that uses 41 gallons or less of hot water daily can expect to achieve between 24%-34% more energy efficiency versus a conventional storage tank system. You can realize significant savings on your utility bill. Homes that use more water — 86 gallons per day — will only achieve between 8%-14% more energy efficiency. You can increase energy efficiency further by installing tankless systems at each water outlet; however, you incur more upfront costs as you will need additional units.

Cost Factor
You will experience a higher out-of-pocket cost when installing a tankless system. These systems cost more than most conventional storage tank water heaters. However, a tankless system’s expected lifespan is more than 20 years, which is far greater than its traditional counterpart of between 10 to 15 years. When you consider its increased lifespan with its lower operating costs, it could offset the higher purchase price.

Installation Considerations
Proper installation and periodic maintenance will ensure maximum energy efficiency for a tankless water heater. Many factors are involved when purchasing and installing a tankless system including fuel types, building codes, climate, and safety concerns especially involving gas-fired heaters. To ensure proper and safe installation as well as full energy efficiency, it would be wise to hire a professional plumbing contractor to install the system.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

How Plumbing Repairs Can Make Your Life Easier

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Plumbing repairs are vital to ensuring your home runs smoothly and efficiently. When your plumbing fails, not only do you face the inconveniences presented by faulty plumbing, you also face potential additional costs for home repairs. Handy homeowners often attempt easy plumbing repair projects. However, they should leave the more difficult tasks to professional plumbers. This makes your life easier—as it gives you peace of mind. You’ll know your plumbing was repaired correctly. Below are a few common plumbing problems homeowners often face that can turn into larger problems if ignored.

Slow or Obstructed Drains

Slow or obstructed drain lines can cause many problems for your home. A slow drain will eventually fail—and will leave you with a nasty sewage backup that could potentially flood your home. Slow or obstructed drain lines can also be a real drain on your quality of life, as they will increase your workload. You’ll have to struggle to keep your sinks, toilets and tubs clean. Professional plumbers, on the other hand, can use high definition video to inspect the inside of your drain lines. This will help identify problem areas that need attention. In addition, certified plumbers carry the necessary skills and tools to restore your plumbing quickly and efficiently.

Insufficient Hot Water

Your water heater should be inspected and flushed by a professional plumber annually to maintain efficiency and top performance. A neglected water heater can drive up your energy costs and could fail, leaving you without hot water. Since tanked systems also become more susceptible to leaks and possible ruptures as they age, it is to your benefit to hire a professional plumber who can determine if it is time for replacement.

Leaking Pipes

Leaky water pipes and drains can cause severe damage to your home’s flooring, cabinetry, walls and baseboard leading to costly repairs. It could also be a sign of a more serious problem (like deteriorating pipes a simple turn of the wrench will not fix). Professional plumbers carry the experience and knowledge that allows them to identify these circumstances and make the necessary repairs to head off these potential disasters.

Professional Plumbing Benefits

The problems mentioned above are just a few of the unfortunate circumstances you may face when dealing with your home’s plumbing. Since plumbing repair can be a nasty business, professional plumbing services can make your life easier. Aside from their experience and knowledge, licensed and certified plumbers carry liability insurance that protects your home in the event of any plumbing mishaps associated with their work.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

A Standard vs High-Efficiency Hot Water Tank

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Replacing your hot water tank is a decision you should not make lightly. The ever-changing technology of today’s water heaters makes choosing one more difficult. Examining the pros and cons of each type will help you choose the right system for your home.

What Are the Ratings?

There are two very important rating systems a homeowner should pay close attention when deciding on a hot water tank. The first is the energy factor “EF” which tells you how efficient the unit is. The second is its first-hour recovery time for tanked systems or flow rate when you are talking about a tankless system.

Understanding the EF ratings is easy with the higher the numbered units the most efficient. The first-hour recovery time for tanked systems tells you how much hot water it will produce in its first hour. The flow rate for tankless systems indicates just how many gallons of hot water it will produce in usually 2- or 5-minute intervals. Both the EF and flow rates are important information you should consider before purchasing a hot water tank and usually depends on the number of people using the system.

Hybrid Electric Heat-Pump System

Heat pumps are remarkable systems used to produce hot water as well as heat and cool your home. The technology transfers heat from the surrounding air to your hot water tank, which will save energy costs.

Pros:

  • The lowest operation cost of any system means the most energy savings to you.

Cons:

  • The initial cost is far larger than conventional systems.
  • Often available in only taller sizes, it may require plumbing modification during install and takes a more space.
  • The heat pump is basically a compressor, which can produce more noise than other systems.
  • Usually requires a larger area as it needs approximately 1000 square feet of surrounding air to function properly.

Conventional Water Heaters

Conventional water heaters, both gas and electric, have been around for decades. Although they are extremely dependable systems, it comes at a cost, as they are the least efficient.

Pros:

  • Upfront costs are smaller than higher tech systems.
  • They are easy to install.
  • They are cost effective as there are no pumps, fans or other exotic parts to replace.

Cons:

  • Use the most energy.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater, sometimes referred to as an on-demand hot water system, produces hot water as you need it. Since there is no storage tank, the system does not have to maintain the water temperature 24-hours a day. This reduces energy consumption, which can translate into energy savings for you.

Pros:

  • It never runs out of hot water.
  • It can save between 30 and 50 percent in energy costs.
  • No tank means a compact size.

Cons:

  • Installation can involve major plumbing modifications.
  • Annual flushing is necessary to remove scale and maintain efficiency.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Water Heater Maintenance Doesn’t Get a Break in Summer

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Water heater maintenance is not something homeowners should ignore. It shouldn’t be last on your list of to-do’s this summer – not if you want to continue to enjoy warm morning showers, washing dishes and clothes and getting hands clean. You need hot water year round, so you can’t give your water heater maintenance a break in the summer. An annual inspection is a must to avoid water heater problems, so be sure to get it on the calendar soon.

Here’s what a plumber will do during the checkup:

  • Check for corrosion. When the water heater starts to corrode, danger ensues. Because water heaters are pressurized compartments, any damage to the sealed unit can lead to an explosion. So can worn out gas connections or electrical components.
  • Assess its safety. While checking for corrosion, the plumber will also ensure the system’s overall safety, looking for combustion problems,compromised gas connections and so forth.
  • Test the TPR valve. The temperature and pressure relief valve plays a critical role in its safety and performance. The plumber will test the valve to ensure that the system is operating correctly.
  • Evaluate the sacrificial anode. This device rests inside the tank and is specifically designed to attract rust, preventing the rust from attaching to the tank’s surfaces. The plumber will need to drain some water from the tank to assess the anode. If it’s rusted, the plumber will install a new one.
  • Drain the tank. This is an important step that should generally be performed once a year. The plumber will drain all of the waterfrom the tank. At this point, he can access the bottom of the tank with a special brush, removing mineral buildup and debris. Then, he will continue to fill up the tank with water and flushing the system, until the water runs clear. Ask the plumber to show you how to drain the tank throughout the year, using a garden hose and a bucket. Draining about a quarter of the tank every few months helps keep the system free of debris.
  • Check the temperature setting. For optimal water savings, the plumber should set the unit’s temperature to 120 degrees. If your system was set at 140 degrees, which is the typically manufacturer setting, you can save approximately 5 percent on energy costs for every 10 degrees to which you lower the setting.

Why not schedule water heater maintenance today? Make sure the system can last throughout the summer so you can depend on it to supply you with hot water whenever you need it. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Cold Pipes: Protect Your Plumbing From the Freezing Temperatures

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Homeowners should take preventive measures to avoid potential property damage associated with a broken water line. Cold pipes can freeze, causing them to burst or rupture unexpectedly in both the extreme cold of the northern regions as well as the milder climates in the south. Ruptured pipes are a common occurrence in the southern climates because the pipes are often left exposed on the exterior of the structure. Protecting cold pipes from freezing is easy when following these tips from professional plumbers.

Types of Insulation for Plumbing Pipes

Several insulating materials are suitable to protect exposed pipes during the cold winter months. Most are available at your local home improvement center or hardware store.

  • Fiberglass pipe insulation
  • Elastomeric rubber pipe insulation
  • Polyethylene — foam — pipe insulation

Before the Cold Arrives

The best time to protect your pipes from freezing is before the snow and cold weather arrives. This allows you to identify easily any exposed pipes or holes in your homes exterior. A bonus is you will not have to trudge around through the snow and ice looking for problem areas or wrapping cold pipes.

  • Locate and wrap any exposed pipes on your homes exterior with a suitable pipe insulation
  • Insulate any pipes that reside in unheated areas of your home such as crawl spaces, attics and unfinished basements
  • Block or cover crawl space venting to prevent cold air from entering
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets
  • Caulk or repair any holes in your homes exterior walls that could allow cold air to enter

During Sub-Freezing Weather

It is not too late to protect cold pipes after the freezing temperatures arrive. Unfortunately, you will also need to protect yourself before venturing into the frigid weather.

  • Allow outside faucets to drip approximately 5 drops per minute when freezing temperatures are expected
  • Allow inside faucets to drip when freezing temperatures are expected to persist for several days
  • Open cabinet doors to expose plumbing to heated air
  • Shut off water supplies to washing machines

While You Are Away

If you are planning to be away from your property during winter months for extended periods, take extra precautions to protect your pipes while you are away.

  • Turn off the water supply at its main source, either the water meter or pump for homeowners using private wells
  • Open and drain all outside faucets and leave them open while you are away
  • When possible, leave your home’s heating system on
  • Open all cabinet doors that house plumbing lines to expose them to the warm air

Insulating your pipes not only protects them from freezing, but also helps them retain heat, which can save you money in energy costs. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr