Article Content Insulating Your Water Heater Pipe Wrapping

Article Content Insulating Your Water Heater Pipe Wrapping
Making Your Home More Energy Efficient
A little insulation can save a lot
of money.
Most folks work hard for their money. Why sit by
while it slips through the cracks? There are simple
and inexpensive steps that you can take to make
your home more energy efficient and these solutions
often bring big returns. As a bonus, they benefit the
environment as well as the family piggy bank. In this
article we look at some simple and inexpensive ways
to reduce energy consumption in the home. Lowe's
is happy to provide this information as a service to
Article Content
Insulating Your Water Heater
Pipe Wrapping
Replacing Furnace Filters
Cover Those Windows and Seal Those Doors
Developing Habits for Practical Energy Conservation
Ceiling Fans
Energy Saving Gadgets
Fireplace Dampers and Doors
Insulating Your Water Heater
If you always have plenty of hot water, you may be able to get by with
lowering your water heater's thermostat setting. Just don't lower it below
120° F. Electric heaters benefit most from this approach to saving energy.
Timers are also available which allow you to make the water heater conform
to your water usage schedule. They prevent the water heater from trying to
maintain hot water during periods when it is never used.
Water heaters are insulated, but you can always add to that. For a small
investment, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat lost by the unit,
particularly if your water heater is located in an unheated area. Inexpensive
insulating blanket kits for water heaters are available; or, if you wish, you
can make your own. If you make your own you will need a roll of duct tape
and faced fiberglass insulation.
Cut strips of insulation the same length as the circumference of the
water heater.
Wrap the insulation horizontally around the unit using duct tape to
seal the seams where they meet.
Blanketing your
water heater
saves energy.
Make cutouts to leave the thermostat, controls and drain faucets exposed.
If you have an electric water heater, cut a cap of insulation to fit the top. Provide slits for
the water inlet and outlet pipes.
If you have a gas water heater, do not cover the burner access or the flue collar. Leave
about 2" of exposed area around the flue collar.
Tape any remaining joints and seams.
Pipe Wrapping
Do your water pipes pass through an unheated area? Do they run under
your house or from an unheated utility room? If so, insulate your
pipes—at least the hot water pipes. Uninsulated hot water pipes lose
heat and cause your water heater to to work harder. While the same is
not true of cold water pipes, insulating them can prevent them from
sweating and dripping in heated areas, or freezing in unheated areas.
Wrap your pipes to
conserve energy.
Easy to use, pre-formed foam pipe insulation sleeves are available.
These sleeves have a slit down their length and just snap in place on
the pipes. Cut them to length to fit as closely as possible at all ends,
corners and junctions. With a little imagination, you can cut miters and
angles in the material in such a way that the insulation completely
covers any junctions. Cover the slits and joints with vinyl duct tape.
Replacing Furnace Filters
People in the heating and air conditioning business are always talking about the importance of
changing furnace filters. There must be a reason.
Most furnace filters are inexpensive, disposable and easily replaced. There is no good reason to
neglect them. On the other hand, clogged filters reduce airflow through the heating/cooling
system, forcing the unit to work harder. Severely clogged filters can cause the unit to overheat
and can lead to premature compressor damage in air conditioning systems.
Check your furnace filter monthly. In fact, some people say that if you are going to go to the
trouble to pull it out and look at it, you might as well go ahead and replace it. If you use the
more expensive disposable filters designed to filter out allergens and extremely small particles,
you may want to hold the filter up to make sure light still comes through it easily, but even these
filters should be replaced at least every three months.
Self-charging electrostatic filters that require no electricity are available. They filter out
extremely small particles and last for several years. This type of filter should be cleaned by
rinsing from the clean side once a month.
Cover Those Windows and Seal Those Doors
Heat lost through windows and doors represents a significant chunk of most heating bills. Some
sources estimate that loss through windows alone could account for up to 35 percent of heating
bills. If you are tired of watching your hard earned money slip through the cracks, there are
things that you can do:
Check around windows and doors with a candle or a light
piece of thread on a windy day to determine where drafts
are. This will reveal problem areas in need of immediate
Remove and replace damaged caulk and weatherstripping. Self-stick foam and rolled rubber weatherstripping are easy to install, and can contribute greatly to
your home's efficiency.
An inexpensive method of weatherizing windows involves
attaching thin, clear plastic film to the window trim inside
of the house using two-sided tape. The film is then
stretched taut using heat from a blow dryer to remove
wrinkles and creases.
Caulk around the
doorway to keep out
Decorate your windows with efficiency — closed shutters, window shades, blinds,
curtains and lined draperies. All contribute to energy savings by helping to insulate
For a long-range solution, consider installing efficient replacement windows, or storm
windows and doors.
Developing Habits for Practical Energy Conservation
You can reduce your energy expenditures simply by developing energy saving habits:
Showers usually require less hot water than baths. Additional savings can be realized by
installing simple water-saving shower heads. This will reduce water consumption, which is
good for everyone. The primary benefit is lower heating bills brought about by using less
energy to heat less water.
Use heat-generating appliances such as washers, dryers or ovens during the cooler
hours of the morning or evening. This reduces the load on your air conditioner in the
summer, and actually helps heat the house in the winter.
Electric cooktops are energy drains. Use the appropriate burner for your pan size. Also,
flat bottom pots make better contact and conduct heat from the elements more efficiently
than pots with warped or rounded bottoms.
Wash only full loads of clothes when possible and clean your dryer's lint filter after every
Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs
put out approximately four times as many lumens per watt. For example, a 25 watt
fluorescent bulb provides as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs
also last about ten times as long!
In the summer, keep drapes and curtains closed on the sunny side of the house. In the
winter, open those drapes and curtains on sunny days to take advantage of the sun's
heating power. Close all drapes, blinds or shades at night in winter to make use of their
insulating properties.
Use an exhaust fan to pull excess heat and humidity out of the kitchen and bathroom in
the summer. Be aware, however, that exhaust fans can rapidly pull the heat from your
house in the winter.
Perhaps the most often quoted hint for saving energy in the home is to set thermostats
at 68° F in the winter and 78° F in the summer.
Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can save energy in both the summer and winter. In the summer, fan blades should
revolve in a counterclockwise direction. Since moving air feels cooler, using ceiling fans in the
summer allows you to raise the thermostat temperature, reducing the workload of your air
conditioner. Air conditioners use considerably more energy than ceiling fans.
In winter months, set your ceiling fan at its slowest speed and reverse it in order to gently push
warm air down from the ceiling without generating a breeze.
Energy Saving Gadgets
Programmable thermostats help reduce energy costs by lowering
energy use during those times when you do not need it. In the
winter, for example, your house does not need to be quite as warm
when you are away at work, nor does it need to be as warm when
you are asleep in bed. A programmable thermostat can tell your
home's heating system to gear up for your arrival after work, or to
knock off a bit until an hour or so before you get up in the morning.
thermostats regulate
house temperature.
Programmable units range from simple timer-like devices to
elaborate multifunction units which can provide special instructions
to your climate control system based on the day of the week. Once
programmed, these thermostats work behind the scenes.
Fireplace Dampers and Doors
Believe it or not, a burning fireplace can actually rob your house of heat by drawing it up the
flue! Still, not many people who enjoy their fireplace would be willing to trade it in for smaller
heating bills. Fortunately, there is a middle road which allows people to have their fireplace and
heat it too:
If you do not use your fireplace, you may want to seal off and insulate the chimney. Be
sure, however, to provide some ventilation for the flue. If you fail to provide ventilation,
condensation will form in the chimney. If you seal off your chimney, you also have to
remember to remove the insulation if you ever decide to use the fireplace.
Check to make sure that your damper is in good working order.
Add glass doors to reduce heat loss as the fire dies down.
Consider installing a combination tube and glass door insert. The glass door seals the
face of the fireplace, and the tube and blower mechanism makes more efficient use of the
heat generated by the fire.
If you use your fireplace a lot, consider adding a well-designed fireplace heater insert.
These units come with blowers and thermostats. They are designed to significantly
increase the heating efficiency of the fireplace while maintaining the classic fireplace
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