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Energy tip #13: lower your water heater from “scalding” to merely “burning”

waterheater.gifTurn a knob and put $100 in your pocket. We often aren’t aware of how we’re using energy, and therefore not aware of what we can do to limit our consumption. This week a simple turn of the knob could help save 9-15% on your heating and cooling bill.

Next time you open up that extra hall closet or are in the basement, be sure to pay a visit to your water heater. If you have to strap on those orange floaters and swim backstrokes through pooled leaks to reach it, you probably should think about a replacement. Otherwise, have a look at the temperature settings.

Most hot water heaters are set to 150° F. According to the Iowa Energy Center, 120 F will suffice for almost all households. They also claim that for every 10° the water temperature is lowered, you’ll save 3-5% of water heating costs. Lowering from 150° to 120° will presumably lower your bill 9-15%.

(Note: math nerds may catch that you can’t add percent reductions this way, but we’ve taken the liberty for ease of calculations.)

So wading through the numbers:

Average yearly heating/cooling costs: $850
Savings 9-15%: $77-128
CO2 Savings: 1,700-2,800 lbs.

Last week 78 people said ‘Yes’ to making changes in their driving habits (Tip #12). If everyone sticks to their word and gets the receiving end of a “let’s go, buddy!” honk for it, that’s a fair piece of CO2 reduced. 345,696 pounds precisely. According to a fun little website tool I use, this is the equivalent to 53 tons of waste recyled instead of landfilled.

P.S. A few readers commented on how some cars come equiped with a running MPG gauge. Does anyone know if this type of gadget can be installed on older cars? I’d know of a few prospective purchasers.

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