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Maintaining your New Orleans, LA, home and keeping its occupants comfortable and content is an expensive undertaking. Energy.gov notes that the energy required to heat your hot water makes up to 18 percent of your overall utility bill. If you’re looking to save some cash, your plumber has some great tips to keep more green in your pocket by reducing the cost of heating water for your family.
Turn Down the Thermostat
As any plumber can attest, one of the quickest ways to lower the cost of heating water is to lower the thermostat on your hot water heater. Head on down to the basement or out to the garage to check on your current setting. If you have the thermostat set to greater than 120 degrees F, then you’re probably throwing good money after bad when paying your monthly heating bill. For every 10 degrees F cooler you go on your thermostat, you can save up to 5 percent on your overall water heating costs. That doesn’t sound like much, but it really adds up over the course of time, especially given that a standard electric water heater can cost more than $5,600 to operate over a 10-year period. If you’re not sure how to adjust the water heater’s thermostat to your desired level, discuss your needs with your local plumber.
Switch to Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures
Old school fixtures are inefficient and use more water than modern low-flow fixtures. Replacing old fixtures with new ones can help reduce the amount of hot water your household consumes, and thus, in turn, your overall water heating costs. Not to mention that saving water also cuts down on your water bill too and helps to make the most of our planet’s water resources. If your fixtures were made prior to 1992, it’s time to replace them with more efficient ones, and your plumber will be happy to help.
Insulate Your Pipes
Plumbers agree: pipe insulation makes a big difference when it comes to heat loss from the hot water heater to the tap. The first 3 feet or so of hot water pipe coming from your unit should be insulated (6 inches from the flue for gas water heaters). If your water stays hotter on route to you, then you can reduce the temperature at which it’s delivered, and thus your overall water heating costs.
Fix Leaking Taps
Drip, drip, drip goes your money down the drain if you’ve got a leak in a bathroom, kitchen, or other faucet. It’s bad enough to pay for water that’s not used but simply dripping from your tap, but it’s doubly bad if the water is coming from a hot tap, since you’re also wasting the money to heat it for its wasteful end. It might be hard to imagine, but plumbers report that even a slow leak of just 60 drops of water each minute can waste a total of 3,153 gallons of water over the course of a year. The problem is so big, in fact, that the American Water Works Association has created Drip Calculator that lets homeowners calculate the waste of money and water that their leaks cause.
Flush Your Hot Water Storage Tank Regularly
No matter what type of water supplies your home, sediment tends to build up in your hot water heater over time. For this reason, your plumber likely recommends regular flushing of your tank to keep that sediment from corroding the tank and causing tank failure or resulting in a clog in your hot water supply lines. Flushing also reduces the workload on the hot water heater, so it requires less energy to get its job done. Moreover, it helps your hot water heater enjoy a longer, less stressful life.
Consider a Timer for Your Hot Water Heater
Traditional water heaters keep water—up to 50 gallons of it—at the ideal temperature for use, even when no one needs to use it. This is ineffective and wasteful. Installing a timer on your hot water heater lets you decide when you need water in the tank and when you do not, such as while you’re at work or asleep. Ask your plumber about whether a hot water heater timer makes sense for your needs.
Supply and demand are set on a course together. The hotter water your household demands and consumes, the bigger supply it uses. This seems like a no-brainer, but just being mindful of the hot water you use in your New Orleans, LA, home can help you to conserve it. Plumbers say that little things like running the dishwasher only when it’s full and taking shorter showers can really help you curb your hot water (and overall water) usage.
Use Cold Water for Laundry
The modern washer is a wonder, and luckily, it is well-equipped for getting laundry sparkling clean even without the use of hot water. Detergents work in temperatures as low as 60 degrees F, and there are also cold-water detergents on the market today. Using cold water is completely fine for most clothing and linens, and as a bonus, it reduces wrinkles and helps preserve the color of clothing. Experts estimate that using hot water to wash clothing accounts for up to 90 percent of the energy usage that goes into washing them in the first place. By using cold instead of hot, you take those energy costs way down.
Upgrade Your Water Heater
If your hot water heater has seen its fair share of years, then it may be time to go with a more efficient model. Most traditional units last around 10 years, 15 tops. Replace yours with a newer model to enjoy improved efficiency and reduced operating costs. For even more savings, go with a tankless water heater that heats water only on demand.
Find out how bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of New Orleans, LA, can help you keep your plumbing system operating at peak efficiency for less.