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Your Water Heater: How To Save More While Still Getting What You Need

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Your water heater is a tremendous source of energy consumption. Hot water is necessary for showers, dishes, laundry and much more, but heating it can cost a lot of money. And since so many of the things your water heater does are necessary, you can’t exactly cut back, can you? Actually, there are several ways you can cut energy consumption without sacrificing quality of usage.

The simplest way to save hot water energy is just to save hot water in general. The less water you use, the less your water heater has to work to replenish. There are a number of simple ways to reduce your hot water use comfortably.

  • Repair leaking faucets, pipes, and other fixtures. Leaking faucets waste an inordinate amount of water each month, and it all just goes down the drain.

  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucets. You’ll save up to 60 percent on your water consumption with the same amount of use.

  • Use cold or warm water to wash clothes instead of hot. It will get your clothes just as clean, while using less energy.

  • Buy energy-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers. The Energy Star program identifies the most efficient appliances available; looking for the Energy Star logo when buying a new dishwasher or clothes washer can help you save water, energy and money.

Another way to cut down energy consumption is to turn down the thermostat. Many water heater thermostats are set by the manufacturer at 60 degrees. Not only is this more than is generally necessary, it can also scald you if you aren’t careful. For most household uses, a setting of around 50 degrees is fine, and it can save you up to 10 percent in energy costs. Insulating your pipes can allow you to turn down the thermostat even more. In addition, insulating the water heater tank itself can reduce overall heat loss and cut your energy bill a further nine percent.

How Geothermal Cooling And Heating Benefits GTA Homeowners

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During the summer air conditioning season, saving energy becomes a major concern. There are all sorts of steps you can take to keep your HVAC system from using too much power, from basic conservation tips to shopping for a more energy-efficient unit. But there’s one option you might not have thought of: tapping into renewable energy sources like the earth and the sun, with solar thermal and geothermal cooling and heating.

Geothermal cooling and heating is perfect for a temperate climate like Toronto. It works using heat energy from the ground. It transfers heat from the ground to your home to warm it in the winter, and cools it in the summer by transferring heat from your home back into the ground. Geothermal energy provides several advantages over traditional HVAC systems.

  • The utilization of the ground’s energy allows it to use up to 50 percent less electricity. It can reduce energy consumption by up to 72 percent compared to a regular air conditioner.

  • Geothermal cooling and heating systems lend themselves perfectly to zoned cooling, allowing you to cool different rooms of the house to different temperatures. They’re also good for reducing humidity.

  • Geothermal equipment is smaller and takes up less room than a full sized HVAC system. It also makes much less noise.

  • Geothermal systems tend to be very durable, with indoor components lasting for 20 years or more. The parts under ground can last up to 50 years.

Another alternative to traditional air conditioning is solar thermal cooling. When you think of solar energy, you usually think of it generating heat. But that heat can be used for a form of evaporative cooling. The evaporation of water using solar energy can be used to cool the surrounding air using much less electricity than a regular A/C. That combined with a desiccant, which draws moisture from the air and dehumidifies the room, makes for an effective and efficient alternative cooling method.

Its Never Too Late For Heat Pump Maintenance

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Heat pumps are perfect for the warm, temperate summers of Toronto. More energy-efficient than air conditioners, they work by moving heat energy from cooler places into warmer ones to cool them down. But they can only maintain their efficiency if they’re properly cared for. Without regular heat pump maintenance, your unit can use up to 25 percent more energy. This neglect can also lead to stress on your system that will cause damage and ultimately shorten its life.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to remedy the situation and have an HVAC technician start performing regular heat pump maintenance. A general heat pump maintenance inspection should be performed prior to the peak of the cooling and heating seasons. Here are a few of the things your HVAC technician needs to do:

  • Clean your filters every two to six months, depending on how much use your system gets. Clogged filters will decrease airflow, putting stress on the system and leading to wasted energy. Cleaning or replacing the filters is easy enough to do yourself, but your HVAC technician can advise you on exactly how often it’s necessary.

  • Clean dirt, plant matter and other debris from the outdoor unit. Also clean dirt from the fan blades. The more dirt is allowed to contaminate the system, the less efficiently it runs.

  • Seal any duct leaks. Leaking ducts cause energy loss, since not all the air is making it to its intended destination.

  • Measure your system’s airflow to make sure it’s at the correct level for maximum efficiency.

  • Measure your unit’s refrigerant charge to make sure it’s correct and that there are no leaks. Too low of a charge wastes energy by forcing the unit to work harder to cool the room. Too high a charge can damage the system.

  • Clean the evaporator coil and condensate pan to prevent overflow or leakage. This should be done every two to four years.

  • Inspect the unit’s components for wear or stress. Lubricate the motor and tighten the belts.

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