Green plumbing, plumber, heating, ac, energy saving ideas

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Green plumbing & heating ideas lowers operating costs

  1. Reduce water usage
    • New low water toilet saves thousands of gallons water a year.
    • Waterless urinal work completely without water or flush valves. The system is touch free, improves restroom sanitation and eliminates odors. A Waterless urinal can save up to 45,000 gallons of water and more per year. See top ten urinals in world.
    • Green shower heads help conserve hot water, un-hot water, and money. Cut shower water usage by 2/3.
    • Faucets aerator - Save water without sacrificing performance.
    • Demand hot water re-circulator - Stop wasting and waiting for hot water in your bathroom.
  2. Choose new energy efficient products
    • Water heaters - older units can waste 27% in energy.
    • New Heating system - New high-efficiency heating system can often cut your fuel bills and your furnace's pollution output in half. Upgrading your furnace or boiler from 56% to 90% efficiency will save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year if you heat with gas. US Dept. of Energy
    • New ac system - old unit can waste up to 40% of your energy. Average home consumes more than 2000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, causing about 3500 pounds of carbon dioxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide to be emitted at the power plant. US Dept. of Energy
    • Whole building power ventilator fan can replace all of the stale air every two minutes with cooler outdoor air.
    • Front load clothes washer uses 40% less energy than standard washers and uses 18–25 gallons of water per load, compared to the 40 gallons used by a standard machine. EnergyStar
  3. Neglect is the #1 cause of furnace or ac breakdown and wasted energy. Inattention can increase your utility bills up to 15% or more. Tune-up your ac and heating equipment annually. It works!
  4. Programmable thermostat saves you money. “The rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat full-time, says Bill Prindle, deputy director for the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees when you go to work, and again when you go to bed -- 16 hours a day -- and you can save up to 14% on your heating or cooling bill, says Prindle.
  5. Bottled water swells plastic trash, uses 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the plastic and can cost $1.28 to $2.56 to over $7.00 a gallon. Learn how pure filtered water at your tap adds convenience and savings.
  6. Plug air leaks. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, you can save 10 percent or more on utility bills just by pluggin air leaks like...

  7. Energy Star fluorescent light bulbs and use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Green showers

How would you describe your showerhead? Is it a "Niagara Falls" shower head - running at 6 or 7 gallons per minute (gpm) ? Or maybe you have no idea how much water your shower head uses.

A 2 gpm shower head could cut shower water usage by 2/3 which is very significant, especially in a household of several dirty humans. With a 50:50 mix of hot:not-hot water the heated water savings would be about 3 gallons per minute of showering so a 5 minute shower equals about 15 gallons of heated water. Multiply that by a spouse and two teenagers and your customer easily pours 60 gallons of heated water down the drain in just one day of showering (which would be Saturday around this household).

But raw numbers don't make a shower enjoyable. Some folks enjoy those huge "rain shower" showerheads and some think the massage shower heads are the cat's meow. You know what's "best" for your pocketbook and the environment.

Green shower offer: "Use our money saver showerhead for one full month. After a month, if you decide you just don't like it we'll re-install your old water hog of a showerhead at no charge."

During the trial month, you're conserving hot water, un-hot water, and money every time they take a shower. In other words, you're being paid to try something that's good for the planet and good for your pocket book.

Showering consumes about 17 percent of residential indoor water use—more than 1.2 trillion gallons of water consumed each year. To raise consumer awareness and help improve the water efficiency of showerheads PDM offers water saving showerheads. EPA

Faucet areators work

Most of us know we can save water when we turn off the tap while brushing our teeth (as much as 3,000 gallons per year!), but did you know that there are products that will help save water when you turn on the tap too?

High-efficiency bathroom sink faucets and accessories such as faucet aerators can reduce this standard flow by more than 30 percent without sacrificing performance. We could save billions of gallons each year by retrofitting of the country's 222 million bathroom sink faucets. If every household in America installed a good faucet aerator it could save more than 60 billion gallons. (EPA)

Americans use large quantities of water inside and outside of their homes. A family of four uses 400 gallons (or more) of water every day.

Save water without sacrificing performance. In fact, the average home, retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, can save 30,000 gallons per year. If one out of every ten homes in the U.S. upgraded to water-efficient fixtures, it could save more than 300 billion gallons and nearly 2 billion dollars annually. (EPA)

Water wise toilet 1.6 gallons per flush

Toilet and urinal repair, replace or new install

According to a recent Water Conservation Study, the average person flushes the toilet 5 times a day. Those 5 flushes per person may not seem like much until you realize that each person flushing an older 3.5 - 7 gallons per flush (gpf) toilet, uses 6,400-12,800 gallons/year.

As a water-conservation measure, the U.S. National Energy Policy Act of 1992 eliminated the standard 3.5 gallon flush and mandated a new standard of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)/6 liters per flush (lpf) maximum in all new toilets.

Since 1994, all toilets sold in the U.S. use 1.6 gallons per flush, or less. Replacing old toilets with newer models in your home will save up to $50 to $125 and up to 10,500 gallons each year, depending on utility rates and usage habits.

Standard Efficiency Toilets - maximum of 1.6gpf/6.0-lpf
Using the new 1.6 gpf toilet, the same 5 flushes use 2,900 gallons per person, But even with this reduction in water usage, standard-efficiency toilets are responsible for roughly 26% of all water used indoors.

High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) - maximum of 1.3gpf/4.8-lpf
New high-efficiency toilets use 1.28 gpf (or less) - Although they use much less water, and are very efficient, industry associations are not supporting their use.

Their concern is the amount of water to move waste along your home’s sewer line, especially older homes whose piping was designed for 5 gallon per flush, has not been proven. At this time we do not recommend the toilet in most situations. While we will install if you are convinced you want one, we will not guarantee the effectiveness of the HET.

Over the course of your lifetime, you will likely flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times. If a family of four replaced a 3.5 gpf toilet made between 1980 and 1994 with a higher efficiency toilet of 1.6 gpf, they could save up to $90 annually on their water bill, and up to $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet. Savings could be as much as two to three times that amount if the model being replaced is a leaky toilet or a pre-1980 model that uses 5.0 gpf or more.

Call Best for toilet service at 815-207-4111.

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Air infiltrates through every nook and cranny.

About one third of this air infiltrates through the openings in your ceilings, walls and floors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save 10 percent or more on your energy bills just by plugging air leaks in these places in your home. Eliminate air leaks, then insulate!

  • Ceilings, walls and floors - 31% of air infiltration
  • Air ducts 15%
  • Plumbing pipe penetration 13%
  • Fireplace 14%
  • Fans and vents 4%
  • Doors 11%
  • Windows 10%
  • Electrical outlets 2%

 

Eliminate air leaks—then insulate.

If you don’t tighten up your building first, money spent on insulation may be wasted.

You may think that insulating should be the first step in making your home more energy efficient, but consider this: Air leaks through the ceiling, walls, foundation and other areas typically are the greatest sources of heat and cooling losses in a home. So, controlling air leaks is the best way to extend the life of your home, as well as to conserve energy, save money and increase your home’s comfort. The bottom line is this: If you don’t tighten up your home first, money spent on insulation may be wasted.

Did you know trying to plug an air leak with fiberglass insulation won’t work very well, because the material is not a good air barrier. Use solid materials such as caulking, spray foam, drywall, plywood or rigid foam to stop air infiltration.

 

Ventilation is a good thing—air infiltration is no. 

Every home needs some fresh air for the furnace and appliances that burn fuel, for getting rid of excess moisture and reducing odors and stuffiness. Controlled air exchange is called ventilation. A large amount of air is exchanged in uncontrolled and invisible ways, too, through hidden cracks and openings present in every home. This is called infiltration, and it occurs in three ways.

  1. Wind-driven infiltration happens during cold-weather months when the wind blows cold air into a house and forces hot air out. During warmer weather, the wind blows in warm air, forcing cooler air out.
  2. Chimney effect infiltration takes place during the natural process of convection. As warm air rises and escapes through cracks, it pulls cold air into the lower portion of a house.
  3. Negative air pressure infiltration starts when appliances that burn fuel use air for combustion or when ventilation fans exhaust air. Outdoor air enters through any available openings to equalize the pressure inside a home.

Air infiltration usually causes drafts and a chilly feeling in some rooms during the cool weather months. Adjusting your thermostat will not stop the drafts, but sealing hidden cracks and openings will. By stopping drafts at their source, you’ll stay warmer (or cooler in summer) at lower thermostat settings, use less fuel and reduce your utility bills.

Call Best for honest help at 815-207-4111.

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Where do you start? 

Air infiltration is an easy form of heat loss to correct. Just make a careful inspection of your home and use some inexpensive weather stripping, caulking and filler materials. We know we should caulk and weather-strip, but it is also equally important to protect from interior air leaks. Moist interior air can enter the walls and ceiling through cracks and holes, and condensation buildup in those locations can damage or destroy insulation, wiring, wood and other building materials.

 

Test for air leaks.

A windy day is a good time to check for air leaks (or hire a professional energy auditor). The most complete energy audit includes a blower door which is a large fan that fits tightly into an exterior doorway. It depressurizes the indoors, which then causes air to flow in through the cracks and other openings. You’ll feel for airflow with you hand or by using a smoke pencil and noting where the smoke is blown.

If you don’t have a blower door, try closing all the windows and doors and using a whole-house fan (if you’re interested in learning about whole home fan, call or email PDM. They are a wonderful comfort machine.) or a large portable fan temporarily sealed in an open window to exhaust the air from your home. Use your hand or a lighted incense stick to look for leaks. The test won’t be as accurate as the professional test, but it can get you started.

 

Once air leaks are located, start plugging them.

A good rule of thumb is to start by plugging holes and leaks in the attic and basement. Then move to the exterior walls, and look for smaller leaks around doors, windows and electrical switches and outlets.

  • Attic – look for holes in floor, insulate doors.
  • Plumbing piping entering/exiting home from basement to attic can be sealed with expanding foam, if large opening use board or rigid foam than caulk.
  • Fireplace – can waste more than it creates. Improve seal of damper. Light paper and see if smoke goes up. Tight fitting glass doors can improve efficiency by 10 to 20 percent and reduce air leaks
  • Exterior walls caulk (silicone) around tops of interior walls

 

Keep heated and cooled air in your ducts. 

The ductwork for a forced-air heating and ac system can be one of your home’s biggest energy wasters—especially if those ducts run through unheated or uncooled spaces.

  • Check the ducts for air leaks. Repair leaking joints first with sheet-metal screws; then seal remaining leaks with latex-based mastic and embedded fiberglass mesh or mastic or aluminum tape. Don’t use plastic or cloth duct tape because it will harden, crack and lose its adhesion in a very short time.
  • Wrap the ducts with special duct insulation; don’t use leftover insulation from other jobs.
  • Seal all insulation joints with the appropriate tape—not duct tape.
  • Make sure ducts fit tightly to the register openings in floors and walls; if they don’t, seal with caulk.
  • Seal return ducts, too, so you won’t be breathing basement or crawl space air.

 

Insulate your pipes.

The longer they run through unheated spaces, the faster the hot water pipes from your water heater or hydronic heating system will cool, causing these systems to work harder than necessary to meet your family’s needs. Use inexpensive foam insulation sleeves from your hardware store or home center to insulate these pipes; secure the insulation with duct tape.  For boilers and steam heating system pipes, use insulation with a high enough temperature rating so it won’t melt.

 

Tune-up your heating and ac equipment annually.

Dirt is the biggest cause of wasted energy and breakdowns. Safe is always a better response than sorry. Call Best for professional tune-up today. It can pay for itself in energy savings and give you peace of mind! Call 815-207-4111.

 

 

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