Especially during the deep freeze days of winter, those energy bills can really light up – and burn through your money. Don’t let higher heating bills put additional strain on the household budget just when you’re trying to figure out how to pay for those holiday expenses, set aside cash to pay your taxes, and plan expenses for yet another challenging year. Start off the New Year by investing in highly effective and proactive measures that are easy to do but have a really solid impact on your utility bills.
Blanket the Tank
Most people have a bare hot water tank, and that means that they are basically throwing money away on energy bills, no matter how much insulation they install all over their home. But if you buy an insulated blanket that was specially designed to fit your water heating unit you’ll solve one of the most expensive energy consumption problems in your household.
Think about it this way: Next time you put a saucepan of water on the stove to make pasta, pay attention to how long it takes for that water to boil. Now imagine if you were making such a big pot of pasta that you needed enough water to fill a bathtub or two. That’s what it’s like when you turn on the water to take a hot shower. If the water in the holding tank has cooled off, you have to wait for it to all heat up again. Typically you do that by turning on the water and letting it run (down the drain) until it gets hot enough for your bath. That wastes water and it also wastes heating energy in the water heating unit. Then you go to work or school. By the time you get home the water in the tank is cold again so you have to repeat the whole process.
When Convenience is Silently Costing You
But wait a second. Chances are you don’t have to wait all that long for the water to get hot when you turn on the tap. You might think your water heater is doing a great job, helping you save water, because soon after you crank the faucet open you have hot water. That’s great, and it’s convenient. But unless you have a high-tech “heat on demand” water heater (which is a fantastic product and a great idea, by the way) what is happening is that the water heater is keeping hot water ready for you all day long. Even when you are away from home, your reliable appliance is maintaining a huge tank full of hot water, ready for you to use. Each time the water in it cools to a certain temperature, the heating unit kicks on and heats it up again. But keeping it nice and toasty costs you money on your utility bill. You could go away for eight hours, eight days, or eight months – and that process will still happen, despite the fact that you are not there and don’t need a tank with 40 gallons of hot water at the ready.
Dial-Up the Savings
The solution is right under your nose – or right on the water tank. Water heaters have a dial or other mechanism that the homeowner can set. Set yours to the vacation setting, for example, and it won’t wastefully heat water while you’re away from home. If yours has a setting where you can time the appliance turn off while you’re at work, use that.
But here’s another great idea. Instead of being satisfied with the savings you earn from managing your hot water heater why not reinvest those savings to multiply them in a sustainable way? The best way to save money on hot water at home is to install one of those previously mentioned heat-on-demand style units.
Start Your Green Piggy Bank
There are tons of new “green energy” upgrades you can do around the home, but most of them are kind of expensive. One of the best is an on-demand water heater, but those are also relatively pricey. So here’s the solution. Figure out how much your new hot water management practices (like using a blanket and the water heater’s available settings) are saving you. Then set that amount aside each month in your piggy bank By the end of a year or two you’ll have a nice nest egg to use to lower the cost of upgrading to a fantastic on-demand water heater appliance that will really amp-up your energy savings while slashing your utility bills.