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Improve Your Water Heater’s Energy Efficiency and Save Money!

Improve your water heater's energy efficiency and save money featured blog image

Learn how to improve your water heater’s efficiency and perhaps even lower your utility bills.

There are a few ways to help prolong the life of your water heater and keep it in top working order. Following these six tips, each year may help you to have a longer tank life expectancy, lower energy bills and minimize damage as a result of water leakage.

1. Know where your water heater is located

Not only should you know where the water heater is, but you should also have clear access to it, as sometimes it’s tucked away in an attic or basement and the plumbing is not easy to reach.

2. Know what type of water heater you have

You should know whether your water heater is natural gas, electric or propane, or whether it’s a storage tank type or a tankless type water heater. Also, write down the model number and the serial number of your water heater or at least know where this information is on the tank as it has the age and gallon capacity coded into it.

3. Know how to turn off the water

It’s a good idea before you’re facing a water heater dilemma, to know how to shut off the water and the fuel or power supply to the water heater. This is important in the event of an emergency or if your water heater is leaking or you smell gas. There should be a gas valve or a disconnect switch within a few feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to know where your main gas shut-off valve is or which breaker is used for the water heater.

As for the water shut-off, most shut-off valves are located above the water heater on the cold side piping. You also should locate your water shut-off valve coming into your home. If you need any special tools to turn any of the valves off or to open the breaker box, keep those nearby and in clear sight. This will make all the difference when you have water leaking all over or if you smell gas and time is of the essence.

4. Clear the area around your water heater

There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to give your water heater some space.

  • A gas-fired unit needs a good supply of oxygen to burn the gas. If a water heater is smothered and can’t get enough oxygen, it can affect the efficiency of the unit as well as cause damage to the burner chamber and other water heater parts. It can even cause carbon monoxide leaks.
  • If the unit starts to leak, you may not catch it as soon if the area is hidden from view. This has the potential to cause severe water damage and even waste energy as the water heater has to reheat the water more often.
  • Storing items too close to the water heater can be a fire hazard.

5. Drain or flush your water heater

It is always a good idea to have a Brother’s plumbing professional drain and flush your water heater at least once a year. If we notice a lot of sediment or debris, then a full flush is recommended.

Nobody thinks that a hot water tank could be a safety concern in their homes but we at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, & Electric know better. Our water heater repair service and water heater replacement service is your solution. We also recommend that once your water heater repair or water heater replacement is completed, your hot water should not exceed 125 degrees F. Exceeding this temperature poses a serious risk of burns, particularly to younger children.

Your water heater is a major energy consumer in your home. If your water heater is more than a few years old, you may consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model.

Sunday, March 10 2019 it’s time to “Spring Forward” one hour with Daylight Savings Time!

Spring Forward
Sunday, March 10 2019 it’s time to “Spring Forward” one hour with Daylight Savings Time!

Setting the clock forward means it’s time for a seasonal safety check! As you circle the house, setting clocks ahead, SAVE time for this short safety checklist. It’ll launch you into Spring from a safe home.

  • Change The Clocks, Change The Batteries, Change the Bulbs – Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives … if they’re powered on by a fresh battery. Safety experts recommend replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year and to replace the unit entirely every 7-10 years. Brothers stocks and recommends combo units for added safety. Also, Check the furnace thermostat and change the time setting. Chances are, you’ll have stepladders out to reach smoke detectors and clocks, so double up on safety (and energy savings) by checking light bulbs and light fixtures. Consider replacing conventional bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. The U.S. Environmental Protection estimates that replacing standard bulbs with energy-efficient ones saves over $30 in electricity costs over their lifetime.
  • Check Your Sump Pump(s) – Check to make sure your sump pump is working by making sure that you don’t have standing water in the pit that is above the height of the pump and that you have a battery backup in case the power goes out. Remember, Spring in Colorado is a very wet season so you want to make sure your home is protected.
  • Check Your Sump Pump(s) – Check to make sure your sump pump is working by making sure that you don’t have standing water in the pit that is above the height of the pump and that you have a battery backup in case the power goes out.
  • Replace or Clean Filters Around Your House – You should inspect the filters in your HVAC unit to make your systems are still running well, but also check the water filter in your fridge and HEPA filter in your vacuum. This is also a great time to get your HVAC system checked for safety. Brothers 33-point safety check toughly evaluates your system to make sure you are running efficiently and also to make sure your system will continue to run safely for your family.
  • Reverse Direction of Fan Blades – As the weather warms up, don’t forget to change the direction of your ceiling fan blades. In the winter, ceiling fans should rotate clockwise at low speed to pull cool air up. As you start to use your air conditioner, you should rotate the blade in a counterclockwise or “forward” direction to redistribute warm air which naturally rises to the top of the ceiling.
  • Outside Faucets – It is still too early to leave the hose connected to your outside faucets. Make sure you disconnect after each use. Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced. It is also still a little too early to get that sprinkler system going! If you see your lawn drying out now would be a great time for some relaxing hand watering.
  • Inspect Your Water Heater – Check to make sure you don’t see any obvious cracks or leaks and that there is no water on the floor or standing in the drip pan. If you do not see any signs of trouble, then you can shut it off or put it into vacation mode.
  • Outside Faucets – Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.
  • Schedule your AC Safety Check – It is still too early for your check to be done, however, now is a perfect time to get it scheduled. Secure your appointment now and make sure your home is ready for the Colorado Summer.

For a full printable “Spring Forward Home Check List” Click: HERE

If needed, we can help you get your Day Light Savings Time “To Do List” …. done! Give us a call at 303.468.2294 or visit www.BrothersPlumbing.com to schedule today!

Brother’s Gives Back to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Brothers Gives Luekemia & Lymphoma Society
For our February 2019 Brothers Gives Back Campaign we are thrilled to be donating to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

What is LLS?

LLS is at the forefront of the fight to cure cancer. Compared to other blood cancer nonprofits, LLS is the largest funder of cutting-edge research to advance cures. We have invested more than $1.2 billion in research. We are leaders in advancing breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics, and personalized medicine. This research saves lives. These revolutionary new treatments originally discovered through blood cancer research are now being tested in clinical trials for other cancers. If you would like to register or become involved with LLS, please visit https://www.lls.org/

At Brothers Plumbing, Heating & Electric, we believe in giving back to the community. Every month we give up to $1000.00 to a local charity or nonprofit…nominated and chosen by you, our customers! If you have a non-profit nominee suggestion, please let us know by filling out the form.

DIY Plumbing | Improve Energy Efficiency

You’ve left that envelope on the kitchen table long enough. You finally open your utility bill and just like you feared it is ridiculously high again. We’ve all been there, but thanks to modern energy efficient and water saving appliances you don’t have to stay there. We’ll guide you through some of the best appliances to focus on to get the most out of your investment in energy efficiency.

Upgrade to a More Efficient Furnace or Air Conditioner

energy efficient air conditionersAlmost half of the energy your home uses is spent on heating and cooling which make this area a great place to focus on. Older units can be very inefficient and cost you much more in utilities than a new model would to do a better job. Focus on these in fall and spring before you need them the most and you can save a lot of money in the hottest and coldest months of the year. Newer furnaces and air conditioner are also programmable so you can set them to only be on when you are home so you don’t waste energy heating or cooling an empty house. Energy Star rates furnaces and air conditioners as well so you can discuss which models you’re interested in for your home with your installer and make sure that your new unit will be the most efficient possible.

Install an Energy Efficient Dishwasher

Upgrading your dishwasher is a great way to save water and energy at the same time. Modern Energy Star rated dishwashers use as little as 3 gallons per load compared to 27 gallons if you wash them by hand according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That means that using an energy efficient dishwasher saves you on utilities and makes less work for you and we’re sure anyone can get behind that. Consumer Reports has a helpful list of the most efficient models on the market that we recommend looking over to find one that will work for what you need.

Energy Efficient and Tankless Water Heaters

 energy efficient water heatersConventional water heaters heat a large tank of water and hold the water at the specified temperature so that you have hot water when you need it. Heating water this way wastes a lot of energy though because as the water in the tank cools the water heater has to turn back on to keep the water hot. Tankless water heaters avoid this problem and only heat water when you need it. When you turn on a hot water tap in your home, tankless water heaters run cold water through superheated coils that instantly heats the water to the desired temperature. This reduces energy waste and also means that you have a practically unlimited supply of hot water so you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up after the tank is emptied. Check Energy Star ratings before you buy to make sure you’re getting the most efficient model possible.

Install Low Flow Shower Heads

Don’t dismiss low flow shower heads just because they’ve been the butt of jokes for years. Modern low flow fixtures still deliver water at 80 psi and can achieve water savings of 25%-65% according to the Department of Energy. Saving that much water every month can add up to a lot of savings on your water bill and free up money in your budget for other fun things. Considering that low flow shower heads are the least expensive on our list this is a great place to start on your road to having a more efficient home.

We Can Help You Save Money!

No matter how you decide to try to make your home more efficient you can rely on our team here at Brothers. From bathroom fixtures to new furnaces we can do it for you. Contact us today!

DIY Plumbing Blog | Valentine’s Day Plumbing Tips

Valentine's frozen pipe
More and more couples are opting for a night in rather than going out for Valentine’s day. We don’t blame you. Everyone likes a home cooked meal and you can avoid the crowds out at popular restaurants. If you’re planning on spending the night in though, we recommend doing a little preparation so you can avoid an evening ruining plumbing disaster. We’ve got a few easy to do tips for you to get ready for Valentine’s Day.

  • Know where your water shut off valve is – Don’t wait until a broken pipe is dumping gallons of water into your home to try to figure out where your shut off valve is. Nothing will kill the romantic mood more than extensive water damage and the necessary clean up afterward. Knowing where your water shut off is ahead of time can save you a lot of hassle if you ever have a water line break.
  • Track down and repair minor leaks – Even small leaks will cause mold and water damage over time and nothing is less romantic than mold. Take the week leading up to Valentine’s Day to hunt those leaks like the mood-killing monsters they are and get them fixed before they put a damper on your evening.
  • Insulate your pipes – Your honey might be keeping you warm this Valentine’s Day, but your pipes need something to keep them warm also. You can pick up pipe insulation from your local hardware store for cheap and can stop pipe bursts which are often very pricey repairs. Insulating your pipes will also help hot water lose less heat as it travels through them which can save you money on utilities and free up some money for fun stuff with your partner.

Need Help? Call us!

So you did everything on our list, but it’s Valentine’s night and you’re faced with a plumbing emergency. Don’t despair! Our plumbers at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric can fix any plumbing problem and get your night back on track. Hopefully you won’t need us this time, though and your Valentine’s Day goes off without a hitch!