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Save energy with improved water-heater technology

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Gas and utility bills can fluctuate month to month depending on your AC or heater usage and your hot water usage. With water-heating bills accounting for the average homeowner’s second-largest energy bill, learn ways to save energy in your Lawrenceville home. Invest in an energy-efficient water heater, and limit usage where you can.

Select a new water-heating system

Manufacturers have come up with new technology that revolutionizes how the once wasteful, standard storage-tank water heater works. Long gone are the days when energy losses through the tank walls and through the venting systems led to costly wasted heat. Today’s water heaters use high-quality insulation around the storage tank to reduce standby losses, and sealed combustion minimizes energy waste through the venting.

Tankless water heaters entirely bypass wasteful standby energy loss by eliminating the storage tank. Instead, whenever you turn on the tap, water flows through the pipes and through the unit’s element (either electricity or gas), which heats the water before it passes through the faucet. Tankless systems offer another perk in that they can sometimes last 10 years longer than a conventional system with a storage tank.

Both types of water heaters use the same efficiency rating: Energy Factor (EF). As with most efficiency ratings, the higher the rating, the higher the efficiency. High-efficiency storage units start at 0.6 EF, while tankless units start at 0.82 EF.

Save energy throughout the home

If you’re not ready to invest in a new water heater, or even if you are, conserve energy around the home and watch utility bills decrease. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stop leaks. Small leaks add up, with a single leak dripping once every second costing you $1 per month.
  • Install low-flow faucets and showerheads where you can, so that you and your family use less water around the house.
  • Apply water-heater insulation around the tank of an older model to stop waste.
  • Install an energy-saving appliance the next time you upgrade your washing machine or dishwasher.
  • Run full loads of clothing or dishes to maximize hot-water use.

There are lots of ways to save energy when it comes to your household’s water consumption. From no-cost tips like running full loads to a larger investment in an energy-efficient water heater, you can eliminate waste, run a green home and get a good return on investment, too.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Got sump pump problems? Get expert solutions

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Have you ever experienced sump pump problems that led to a flooded basement and damaged property? Install a backup sump pump in your Alpharetta home to avoid the operational problems that cause sump pump failure.

Sump pumps are a great resource for keeping water out of the basement. A properly sized and installed pump will keep up with heavy rains and groundwater accumulation. However, it’s not uncommon for a sump pump to stop working — often when you need it most.

  • Power outages. Sump pumps will only work if they’re powered by electricity. If the power goes out in your home and it’s raining heavily, water will quickly accumulate in your basement.
  • Mechanical malfunctions. For example, the float can get stuck on the wall of the well where the pump is installed. Then it will fail to signal the pump to power on and take care of rising water levels.
  • Improper size. A homeowner who installs the pump in do-it-yourself fashion must make sure it has the capacity to deal with the home’s water overflow. If the pump is overwhelmed, it won’t be able to keep up with water disposal. If you installed the sump pump yourself and your pump is running almost continuously — or if your home is in an area with a high water table — you should invest in a larger pump. It’s best to consult a licensed plumber to assess if the pump is the right size.

Prevention is the cure

Face sump pump problems head on and install a backup that will automatically cycle on when the primary pump fails for any reason. Furthermore, battery backup systems don’t rely on electricity, so they are a must-have for any home.

Get expert advice before installing a primary or backup sump pump. For optimal protection, select a pump that’s sized appropriately for your home. For example, a home that’s located in a high water table area might need a dual sump pump to ensure the system can handle the water volume.

A plumber can inspect your Alpharetta home to guarantee that other factors aren’t contributing to basement flooding and to look over the home’s drainage system, the grading of the floor and more.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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