With the cold weather comes a rise in your utility bills. However, this winter does not need to take a big bite out of your pocketbook.
Start by looking at your use of energy, to determine the best ways to save money. For example, your water heater could be costing you more than it should. By insulating your pipes, using water efficiently and keeping your water heater in good shape, you will stay warm and save money.
Water Heater Insulation
Your water heater works hard to heat the water and send it to your kitchen and bathrooms. However, a lot of that heat may be lost if the water heater and related pipes are not properly insulated. Heat loss is inefficient and causes your water heater to spend more energy heating the water. Water heater blankets provide an extra layer of insulation for the heat and are inexpensive and easy to install. Just make sure that you buy a blanket that is specifically designed for the water heater. With the water heater taken care of, take a look at the pipes emerging from the water heater. You can insulate them simply as well, by applying self-sticking insulation to the pipes.
If you have a standard tank water heater, you have many gallons of hot water in reserve at virtually any point in time throughout the day. There are variations in the temperature you can select for that water. Consider turning yours down to about 120 degrees. If you turn it lower, you may risk mineral buildup in the tank. However, you may be wasting energy needlessly if you keep it higher than 120 degrees. Once you have the water heater set to the right temperature, rethink the way you use hot water in general. Exchange a hot bath for a shower when you can, and encourage your family to do the same. You will save money on your water bill, too.
Water Heater Maintenance
A malfunctioning machine can be an expensive problem, and this is particularly true for HVAC and plumbing equipment. As long as the water seems to be hot, you may not notice problems with your hot water heater. However, without regular maintenance, you risk a minor problem turning into a costly disaster this winter. Once a year, have your plumber come in to inspect and maintain your water heater. This will help to keep it running smoothly all year long. If your water heater is old, ask your plumber about efficient replacement options.
Saving money on energy makes a lot of sense, since keeping your family warm comprises much of your utility bills in the winter. When you add proper insulation to your water heater, minimize your use of energy and water, and seek regular service for your water heater, you will keep costs down and improve your comfort in your home.