Water Heaters, Air Ducts and Lights, Oh my!

save_money1Its about 5:00pm and I am sitting on my coach listening to Obama talk in the presidential conference about the recession. I hope all of you who read these postings realize that this blog is a way for you to save money. There seems to be a myth that when you live green, you spend more money, and you live a more inconvenient life. Some of the criticisms of living green often come from people who do not understand how to make these changes, and this is where my blog can help. If some of these solutions are not practical to you, forward them on to someone who you think it would work for. All the small things add up, and I hope you try some of my suggestions! With that being said, this is the last posting in the series that teaches you how to future proof your house. Once again I would like to thank Whats working for creating these quick and simple ways to save you money by greening your house. I feel like this has a very serious tone….it shouldn’t, I am super happy right now! I just finished a midterm, I am sitting on my coach in my comfy slippers, and I am eating some ego waffles. Okay, didn’t need to tell you all that…MY POINT…after listening to Obama talk about the recession, I don’t want this to be an excuse for not making positive changes. If there is any time to do it, it is now 🙂

Water Heater
Go on a basement adventure with your kids. Look at your water heater. How old is it? Can’t remember? Buy a water heater jacket from your local hardware store. It is a fiberglass and vinyl jacket that wraps around the tank just like putting on a jacket on a cold day. It helps keep the water in the tank warm and saves energy.

Carefully touch the pipes coming out the top of the water heater. One will be hot the other cold. Get some pipe insulation and wrap the hot water pipe as far as you can, anywhere it is exposed. It also helps to wrap the cold water pipe the first 6 feet from the water heater. This keeps water from circulating through the house when you don’t want it to.

Air Ducts
If you have forced air heating, look at the ducts in the basement. They are typically sheet metal (depending on the age of the house). They can be square or round. When the furnace is on, run your hand along the ducts, especially where they are joined together or change direction. You will probably feel hot air leaking. That means it is not getting to where you want it to go. Buy a can of non-toxic, water-based mastic and with a small brush coat the places where you find leaks. This works much better than duct tape. It is preferable to coat every joint in the ductwork where ever you can reach from the basement.

Next, go back upstairs and have a beer, wine, or tap water (yes you can drink tap water, but this is lecture for another time)! You’ve earned it. Walk around the house and count all the lamps and recessed light fixtures in the house. Think about the fact that if you replaced one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb it will save the equivalent amount of energy as driving your car from coast to coast. Hmmmm. How many bulbs did you count? Go buy a few packages of compact fluorescent bulbs and replace them. It might take some time to get used to the change in light quality but you will accommodate to it. If you don’t like it after a while, go to a lighting store and buy compact fluorescent bulbs that have a warmer light, more like the incandescent color.

In less than a weekend you’ve just saved 20-25% on your utility bill and made your house more comfortable at the same time.

Last, I am not sure if you read any of the comments I receive on my postings, but I would love to highlight I comment I got from Jen Clean Bin, she writes:

I remember hearing a quote that gave me a great visual picture: if you added up all the cracks in the average house, you would have a hole the size of a basketball in your wall! Imagine living with THAT and thinking it’s not a waste of energy!

What a great quote eh? (wow I just used the word “eh”, I am Canadian and proud of it!!)

Tell me if any of you have tried making these changes, and how easy or hard it was. Also, I will be setting up a new page (look up at the top near the middle of your screen called “Suggestions for Future Postings”) for you to send in ideas for future blog postings. After all, this is a community where we can learn from each other, so let me know where you would like to save money while living green, and I will blog about it.

I am almost done I promise…. If you are a student and still live at home, or on rez, offer to make these changes for your parents. Show them how much they will save, and I sure they would be more than happy to give you some of that money. The average yearly bill ranges from $2000 to $3000, so with saving of 20-25% you could earn, $400 -$750.

Bet you never thought of it like that now did ya!

5 thoughts on “Water Heaters, Air Ducts and Lights, Oh my!

  1. Great practical ideas.

    For the water heater, you can also turn the temperature down a bit. Your water doesn’t have to be burning hot, it just needs to be slightly hotter than a shower. It takes a lot of energy to keep such a huge volume of water warm, and a couple degrees cooler means a lot of energy savings.

    And don’t worry about having to sanitizing your dishes with scalding heat – most dishwashers have a heating element in them that boosts the water temperature inside the appliance.

  2. Good solid tips. I’ve done these in the past and seen how well it works – reminded me that I have to get this done in our new place. Thanks

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