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energy wise ■


Hot Water


Savings Simple ways to lower your water heating costs


BY JOHN DRAKE COOPERATIVE ENERGY ADVISOR


F •


or parents with teenagers, particularly teenage girls, you know what I mean when I say the water heater is an important member of the family. Without them, we don’t have hot water to bathe, shower, wash clothes or do the dishes.


Despite all the work that our water heaters are expected to do, I’ve noticed most people haven’t a clue what type of water heater to buy, what size they need or how to operate their unit for the utmost efficiency.


When shopping for a new water heater, be sure to check the amount of water your family requires. A family of four should buy a 30 to 50 gallon water heater; families with up to seven people will need a 50 to 70 gallon unit.


Don’t forget to take into consideration any other items in your home such as hot tubs or Jacuzzi baths that can increase your usage.


• Once you have purchased the right water heater for your needs, the following tips will help keep it operating as efficiently as possible.


• •


Set your water heater on 120°F. You’ll use less electricity, and you won’t overwork your water heater.


Purchase and install an inexpensive water heater blanket. A blanket costs between $10 and $12, and will save you about a dollar a month for the life of your water heater—a big return for very little investment. (When you’re wrapping the unit, make sure you don’t cover access doors or venting ports.)





Drain a bucket of water out of your water heater every six months through the drain valve. This removes sediment that settles in the bottom.





When sediment covers the element, your unit may not heat water properly.


Insulate hot water supply lines to keep heat in.


Remember, water heaters account for as much as 12.5 percent of your energy bill. A few easy and inexpensive measures will keep your water heater working as efficiently as possible. ■


John Drake is Choctaw Electric’s energy use specialist. For questions about your home’s energy usage, or to schedule a free home energy audit, please contact John Drake or Mark Zachry at 800-780-6486, ext. 233.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY Tip of the Month


If you’re expecting guests for holiday festivities, consider giving your heating unit a break. With the oven cranked up and the house packed with people, the temperature will rise on its own. Also make sure it has a clean filter so it can work as efficiently as possible all winter long.


Find more ways to save at TogetherWeSave.com.


Source: TogetherWeSave.com


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