Monthly Archives: April 2013

How to Maintain Hot Water Heater

Tips to Properly Maintain Your Hot Water Heater


There are several easy and inexpensive ways to increase a water heater’s operating efficiency and operating life. Hot_Water_Tank

By following several of these tips, you can make your hot water less expensive:
  • Add an insulation blanket.
  • Inspect the flue for breaks or gaps that could leak deadly exhaust gas.
  • Twice a year, drain and flush sediment, which reduces efficiency in the water heater. If the level of sediment is in your water supply is high, this may need to be done more often.  To drain the tank, turn off the water supply at the tank top, hook a hose to the water spigot at the base, open a hot-water tap in the house and open the water spigot. Once the tank is drained, turn on the water supply at the top of the tank and let it run until the water draining out is clear. Close the spigot and turn off the tap.
  • Once a year, check the pressure-relief valve to make sure this crucial safety device isn’t clogged. To relieve any overpressurization in the tank, place a bucket beneath the copper overflow pipe. Carefully push the relief valve at the top and a burst of hot water should spray out. If not, the valve should be replaced.
  • Make sure a viable anode rod hangs in the tank to prevent rust out.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Home Winterization

How to Use Power Strips to Save Energy

The Use of Power Strips to Reduce Extra Energy Costs

The plugging in of your electronic devices is a great way to reduce your energy expenditures. Switching power strips off when the connected devices are not in use can help cut costs by reducing the “energy vampires” that occur from electronic devices that continue to draw power when not in use. The devices that should be readily connected to Power Strips are:

  • Office Equipment (computers, printers and scanners)
  • Cell phone and PDA chargers
  • DVD players
  • Gaming Systems
  • Televisions and stereo equipment

You can take it one step further by us smart power strips.  Smart power strips automatically turn off electricity to all the things you don’t need — when you turn off your TV, a smart strip turns off power to DVD players, home theater components, cable boxes, game consoles and so on.  When you’re not using your computer, have it turn off your monitor, speakers, and printers. Save electricity, save energy, save your electronics!

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Technology

Energy-efficient Window Covering Tips

The use of exterior and interior window coverings can help keep your home comfortable year long. With a few changes you can reduce annual electricity usage.

Here are a few low cost window covering tips:

  • Close draperies  to block the sun’s heat during the warmer months and to keep out the cold air during the colder months.
  • Use drapery seals to seal drapery edges to the side of windows using magnetic or velctro tape to maintain the seal around draperies.
  • By completely closing and lowering blinds, you can reduce heat gain by 45% – 50%.
  • Affix curtain liners to draperies to help keep heat inside your home.
  • Mount storm windows inside or outside your home made from furring strips and plastic sheets to increase winter comfort and reduce heat loss during the winter.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Home Winterization

Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

The bottle water industry exceeds $100 billion in revenue worldwide per year. The industry promotes bottle water as being a safe water option, but in reality bottled water is expensive, resource intensive and poses possible general health concerns.

Here are several reasons to reconsider the use of bottled water:

  1. Not Healthier –  Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water. Since most water does not cross state lines, in many cases it is exempt from FDA oversight, while the water in your local municipal water system is regulated by the EPA. Municipal water systems are regularly tested bacteria and toxic chemicals.
  2. Resource Intensive – In the US, it takes the equivalent of more than 18 million barrels of oil to manufacture the bottles needed for the US bottled water industry. The energy and fuel costs needed to ship the the bottled water is also extremely expensive for a product that is readily available  from your own tap.
  3. Purchase Price – The purchase price for bottled water can range as high as the equivalent of $10 gallon when purchased from retail and vending machines. Compare this to gasoline that is less than $4 per gallon.
  4. Clean up Costs – It is estimated that is costs more than $80 million to clean up the more than 4 billion bottles that pass through the US wast stream.
  5. Waste - in the United States, less than 20% of PET bottles are recycled, resulting in over 1.2 million tons of plastic waste in US landfills.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Healthy Living, Recycling, Water Conservation