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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Energy Saving Tips for your Tank Style Water Heater

Did you know that the water heater is the 3rd costliest appliance to operate in your home? It uses 14% of an average home’s cost. Here’s why – most homes have tank style water heaters. That means the heater is continuously heating the water so that hot water will be available when you want it.

According to Kevin Lawson, Vice President of Tri-State Laundry Equipment Co., tank-less water heaters are becoming more popular. “They are definitely the way to go,” said Lawson. “The cost of the heater itself continues to decline and then there are the tax advantages. But there is a considerable cost involved to convert to a tank-less system. It can take around 5 years to realize a payback.”

If you are like me, you’ll be using your current tank style heater for some time to come. Here are some things you can do to make it more cost efficient:

On both electric and gas heaters –

• Turn them off or set the temperature way back when gone for an extended period. There’s no sense heating water if you’re not there to use it.
• Set your water heater to 120 degrees F. According to energysavers.gov, for each 10 degree reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3 – 5% in energy costs.
• Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. This will reduce the heat lost through the walls of the tank. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s specifications, don’t cover the thermostat, and don’t restrict the air inlet on gas heaters.

On electric heaters - Keep elements changed out. Lime and minerals deposits build up on the heating elements and heat has to get through that stuff to heat the water. This reduces the efficiency of the heater and can easily be replaced for a minimal cost.

On gas heaters – Make sure the gas pressure set properly. The lack of pressure along with the demands put on the water heater can cause the burner to stay on more often to keep up or recover.

We hope these tips will cause your water heater to not so costly. We welcome any suggestions you may have.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exciting Find

I love long hot showers. So does my husband, and now that I work from home, he gets in the shower first Monday through Friday. Recently as I was standing in the shower feeling the water getting less and less warm, I began to wonder about the inner workings of a hot water heater. More importantly, I began to wonder how I could go about ensuring I could have a hot shower instead of a lukewarm one.

Knowing that I am stuck with our current water heater until it gives out, I decided to learn a little about it. Seems we have a standard electric water heater with a 50 gallon capacity. Then I wondered how many gallons of water the average person uses while showering. The average person takes a ten minute shower and if you have a regular shower head, you can use as much as 42 gallons of water.

Notice I mentioned that the average person takes a ten minute shower. Matt spends the first five minutes merely standing under the hot water just to wake up. Based on the above information, I figure he ends his showers just as he has depleted all the hot water from the heater.

Knowing that changing his habit is pretty unlikely, I’ve decided to purchase a 1.5 GPM Energy and Water Saving Shower head. This particular one I found has a trickle savings mode that activates when the water reaches 95 degrees F. The best part is that is saves about 8 gallons of water for every five minutes spent in the shower.

I see many benefits from this small change – reducing our water use, saving on utility costs, and no more lukewarm showers for me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I recently purchased some new running clothes. It was long overdue; many of my things were starting to show their age. I stumbled on to a good sale at a local sporting goods store, and I invested in some nicer stuff.  Imagine my disappointment when I pulled a tank from the washer after wearing it only once to find that there were three snags on the front.

I quickly called someone at A Cleaner World for help. Mike’s thought was that delicate undergarments with hooks could be causing the problem, but he also suggested that there could be an issue with the washer or dryer wheel. I had already narrowed it down to the washer so he suggested that I do a thorough inspection of the inside of the washer using a flashlight to look slowly and carefully, paying attention to the edge where the ribs join on the wheel. After the visual check he also suggested a physical check. I thought this was a very clever idea – taking an old pair of nylon hose, I slipped them tightly over my spread fingers and palm. Then I wiped down the wheel in a controlled and measured fashion, making sure I covered every square inch.

I pulled my hand from the washer to find several snags on the nylons. After further investigation, I found two decent size nicks on the smooth part of the wheel just inside the door.  I am certain of the culprit but will not (this time) throw my husband under the bus.

Mike said I should do some investigating but that Matt could probably use a file and some steel wool to smooth out the nicks. I showed Matt my finding and the solution, and he was able to fit the problem easily.  But I am still placing anything I consider to be precious into a mesh bag before placing it in the washer. Mike said he does that with all his delicate items as well as turning them inside out before placing in the washer. Great advice. Thanks A Cleaner World!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Smell Like Bacon

I love bacon. I probably on average eat it once a week unless its summer and tomatoes are in. Then I eat BLT’s several times a week. I learned a long time ago that baking it in the oven is way less messy. No more worries about splashing grease on my clothes or smelling like bacon. Or so I thought.

Recently I was driving to pick Gray up from preschool, and I kept smelling bacon. I thought perhaps it was because I had just eaten a bacon sandwich before getting into the car. But as the afternoon went on, I still smelled it, and I was surprised. I called Mike Feudale and posed this question: “How do you handle food smells in clothing, especially if you go out to lunch and then must return to an office?” Unfortunately, there’s no advice during the day if you already have your lunch smell on you. “If you smell like popcorn shrimp from lunch, and you work in an office,” said Mike, “you are stuck.”

Some good news is that most of the time simply airing the garments before washing and then washing following the manufacturers suggestion will take care of the odors at the end of the day. Adding baking soda in the wash load can also help. But what about the popcorn shrimp at lunch problem?  Mike has two these suggestions:

1. Certain materials absorb odors more than others – avoid wearing cotton, which is the most absorbent of the fibers, on days you know you are eating lunch out.

2. Some odors are stronger than others. Consider avoiding places that serve fried, spicy, or garlicky foods if you must head back to the office.

While Mike can’t guarantee these tips will completely solve the problem, he did have this to say, “Folks that smell like bacon make me hungry.”
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