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How to Save Money on Your Utility Bills
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Feb 03, 2010
Back when we had a whole-house water filter installed to remove chlorine and other undesirable chemicals from our water supply, the friendly technician who did the work was thoughtful enough to give me some tips on how to significantly reduce energy consumption.
First, he walked me through the layout of the duct work in our basement, showing me all of the ducts that allow us to heat and cool our home. He pointed to all the seams, and recommended that I tape each one up with some shiny silver duct tape to prevent leakage.
Here's an example of such a seam, though this one isn't too shabby:
I neglected to take a picture of a joint that was almost falling apart, but I found two of them in the basement of our new home.
Here's a look at the shiny silver tape that he recommended that I use to tape seams up:
And here's a look at a joint that is all taped up:
In our previous home, I found that taping all of these seams up brought our gas bill down about 15% per month, which added up to quite a bit during the winter months.
The second tip that the water filter technician gifted me with was to wrap our hot water tank with an insulating bubble wrap so that the tank doesn't have to consume as much energy to heat up our water and keep it hot.
Just about every home improvement/hardware store carries insulating kits for hot water tanks. Here's one that I picked up from Home Depot:
Inside, you'll find a couple of large sheets of insulating wrap, a couple of large coils of white spacer strips (foam), and some more shiny duct tape.
The manufacturer of this kit recommends that you first place the spacer strips around the tank - one ring up top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle, somewhat like this:
The idea with these strips is to provide a reflective air space between the tank and the insulating wrap to create maximum insulating benefits.
Next, you need to wrap the insulating jacket around the tank. This is a picture of me getting started:
The kit comes with two insulating jackets; you need to work them around the temperature valve and any pipes that are coming out of the tank. A pair of scissors and some more silver duct tape is all you need to leave your hot water tank looking something like this:
Not quite sure how much savings results from wrapping a hot water tank in this fashion, but it just makes sense that an insulating jacket can only help reduce energy consumption over the long term.
Both projects - taping the seams of your duct work and wrapping your hot water tank with an insulating jacket - shouldn't take more than a couple of hours and shouldn't cost more than about $40.
If you have any other energy saving tips, please consider sharing with our readers via the facebook connect or comments sections below. Thank you.
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