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Home Improvement

5 Tips for Increasing Your Gas Hot Water Heaters Efficiency

Hot water heaters can be real energy hogs. Conventional gas-fired units, which store a reserve of hot water, use twice the energy required to run a refrigerator and account for up to 16 percent of the average American’s total energy consumption. Improving the efficiency of your gas hot water heater can translate into significant savings on your monthly gas bill.

Gas-Hot-Water-Heater

1. Use Less Hot Water

The first way to improve energy efficiency is to consume less of the resource itself. And the easiest way to decrease the amount of hot water you use is to install aerating shower and faucet heads. Good models deliver a satisfying stream of water yet cut the actual flow by 50 percent, which means that a family of four can potentially save 1000 gallons of hot water a month from baths and showers alone. Other ways of saving water include

  • installing a horizontal-axis washing machine
  • installing a new model dishwasher
  • using cold water to wash clothing

Painless conservation efforts not only reduce your gas bill but also help lower your water bill, resulting in a responsible use of a limited resource.

2. Insulate Your Hot Water Tank and Hot Water Pipes

Much of the energy expended in conventional storage heaters is a result of keeping the water in the tank at the right temperature, especially if the heater itself is located in a cold part of the house. Insulating the tank will reduce heat loss and improve the unit’s efficiency, in some cases by up to nine percent. It is a relatively simple project, but homeowners should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully when insulating a gas hot water heater so as not to block the air inlets.

Insulating the hot water pipes works on the same principle: The water sitting in your pipes, waiting to be used, will be kept at a higher temperature if the pipes themselves are insulated. Insulating the pipes is a more time-consuming and costly improvement than simply insulating the heater, however, so homeowners should consider their individual needs before embarking on this project.

3. Turn Down the Heater’s Temperature Setting

You can improve energy efficiency by up to five percent for every ten degrees you lower the temperature setting on a conventional storage heater. For many households, lowering the temperature from 140 to 120 degrees yields considerable savings and no inconvenience. After all, if the water that runs from your taps is so hot you have to mix it with cold in order to bathe or wash dishes comfortably, it is a safe bet that you can lower the temperature on your unit without sacrificing any comfort whatsoever.

4. Install an “On-Demand Circulator” under Your Sink

In houses with a conventional gas hot water heater in the basement or other remote location, 50 or more feet of pipe lie between the hot water source and the faucet. Bringing the hot water to the faucet expends energy and wastes water. An on-demand circulator can solve this problem. This device is a pump that pushes hot water from the heater to the tap and returns the cold water sitting in the pipe back to the heater. Because you use it only when you need the hot water, the circulator greatly increases efficiency and cuts down on waste.

5. Switch to a Tankless Unit

The next time your conventional gas-fired hot water heater needs replacing, consider installing a demand, or tankless, heater. Demand units do not store water; rather, they work by heating the water rapidly whenever you turn on the tap. Over a 13-year life cycle, tankless gas heaters cost nearly 500 dollars less to purchase and operate than conventional units. The difference in the annual cost of running these units in more striking: A conventional gas unit costs an average of $350 a year compared to the demand unit, which costs only $256.

Tankless units are not appropriate for every household, however. If you have a large home or use hot water at different places simultaneously within the home, you may need to install two separate units as the flow of hot water coming from a demand unit is limited. Since demand heaters are more costly to purchase and install than conventional ones, the price of installing more than one unit will undermine any energy savings. However, if a demand heater can accommodate your needs, these units provide great efficiency, with the added bonus that they take up very little space in the home.

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Home Improvement

Why You Should Hire Professionals for Repairs

People these days are always on the lookout for ways to save money. For many, that can mean performing do-it-yourself repair and maintenance jobs around the home instead of calling a repair professional. In some cases, there is nothing wrong with doing repairs yourself.

Tools and other home improvement products have become more user-friendly in recent years in an attempt to cater to the DIY crowd. But there are times when it’s still better to call a professional to handle repairs around the home. Here’s why.

Hire-Professionals-for-Repairs

You Could Make the Problem Worse One of the biggest dangers of tackling repair and maintenance jobs around the home yourself is that you could end up making the problem worse. There are some easy fixes to common maintenance issues around the house, and there is nothing wrong with taking care of those yourself, but many people make the mistake of overestimating their ability to fix a problem.

Repair professionals are professionals for a good reason. They’ve undergone years of training, testing, and certification to be able to do their jobs, and they continue to train and learn about new technologies that make their jobs easier. They have the tools and the knowledge to handle problems that are beyond the average homeowner’s ability.

While there are no doubt homeowners who have had the training and experience to make all kinds of repairs around the house, most have not. Their inexperience could easily make things much worse, and the resulting repairs will be much more difficult and much more expensive.

You Could Seriously Injure Yourself Many home-improvement projects are more dangerous than people realize. Working with a home’s wiring carries the risk of electrocution; hot water from faulty pipes can scald you while you are fixing a plumbing problem, and a natural gas leak could start a fire.

Repair professionals are trained to minimize the risk of injury while on the job, and they have enough safety equipment to protect themselves and your home. In other words, calling a professional to make repairs around your home is simply safer than trying to do it yourself.

Your Roof Is Too Important to Risk No matter how simple you believe it may be, you should never attempt to handle a roofing problem by yourself. The roof is the most important part of a building, and when it becomes damaged, it can cost a lot of money to have it repaired or replaced.

 A seemingly simple problem with your roof could become much worse if you make a mistake while trying to fix it, and what starts out as a simple repair could end with you having a whole new roof installed at a price of tag of thousands of dollars. Repairing a roof, yourself is also very dangerous. Once again, professional roofers are trained to minimize the risk of injury on the job, and there are few things that will be more dangerous than climbing onto your roof to make repairs.

This could be one of the few things that are just as dangerous for professionals as it would be for you, but it’s still best to stay on the safe side and call a professional to handle all of your roofing problems instead of trying to take care of them yourself.

So while you may feel equipped to repair a broken toilet handle, don’t hesitate to call in a pro when it comes to more complicated jobs or projects that involve risk of injury. Your investment in your home is simply too great a thing to chance on your inexperience! Your home deserves the attention of professionals when it comes to larger and riskier repairs. This article was written by Billy Dunham, a home improvement expert who hopes to help you have an even better home! He writes this on behalf of Quick Roofing, your number one choice when looking for a roof replacement professional.

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Home Improvement

How to Find the Best Properties on Rent!

The blog intends to provide a guide, which can be helpful for those who are looking for properties for rent. Read on to learn more! It is indeed a tough time for those who are about to shift the home and look out for new rental properties from scratch. Following tips can be helpful in case you are looking out for rental properties!

Bulletin Boards You can contact your local service providers to find out the availability of rental homes in your area. Visit community centers, laundries, grocery stores and other local businesses as homeowners tend to paste bills posing requirements for the tenants. If you are a student, it will be a good idea to check out the bulletin boards at college and university housing services in search of rental homes.

Properties-on-Rent

Classified sit has been the favorite home hunt destination for years. The ad sections of all important daily newspapers and weekly community newspapers have classified lists, which can be of great help! In fact, if you do not wish to spend money on newspapers, you can read the newspaper free at public libraries or at the shops. These newspapers will help you to offer information about the flats available for rent. You can contact the homeowners and strike a deal. Another idea is to look out for the online classifieds. If your local community newspaper is online, then look out for more details on its website.

Family and Friends The home where I am currently staying was found with the word of mouth. One of my acquaintances residing in my locality informed me about the vacant flat and I liked it. It has been more than 1 year and I have not faced any problem since then. Personal contacts can be the most reliable sources. It is a very good idea to ask your friends, family, colleges, and others if they are aware of the available rental homes.

Rental Listing Websites You can find a number of websites, which have rental listings. You can use a search engine to find homes best suiting your needs.

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Fashion

Is There Any Such Thing as a Designer Baby?

Before you raise your eyebrows at the content of this article, keep in mind that we’re not about to embark on a discussion on the rights and wrongs of a scientific designer baby. Instead, this guest contribution is going to look at whether or not it’s really possible to carve out that illusive designer image for your little one. In fact, more to the point, we’ll look to see if you can create it on a budget that doesn’t resemble Victoria Beckham’s.

The remainder of this post will, therefore, look at all of the areas you can create that designer appearance, before asking the question if it’s possible to achieve these effects on a budget. Furniture The first element we’re going to look at certainly can give your baby the designer image before he or she is even born. With most parents putting together their baby’s nursery long before the due date, it’s certainly easy to create that fashionable, designer image from an early stage.

Designer-Baby

Unfortunately, this is also an area which can cost a fortune. For example, if you take a look at the luxury nursery furniture, it’s plain to see that this is the exact designer image that a lot of parents wish for. However, it is highly expensive and certainly not affordable to the majority of parents.

Unlike some of the other suggestions through the course of this article, it’s very difficult to pull off the designer nursery on a budget. Fashionable furniture sets generally cost a lot of money and while you can purchase standalone wardrobes, cots, and other nursery furniture, they don’t possess the ‘designer’ factor that we’ve been talking about for the last few paragraphs.

Clothing If you visit the local Diesel store, or any other major brand for that matter, you’ll probably gasp at some of the prices. Unfortunately, baby clothes aren’t cheap either and if you are looking at dressing your little one with the biggest labels on the high-street be prepared to fork out unbelievable sums of money. Therefore, in the case of clothing – it’s most definitely possible to create that designer baby. Unfortunately, it usually comes at a massive cost.

On a more positive note, you can cut corners and dress your baby fashionably on a budget. Unlike adults, babies don’t perspire and this means that it’s perfectly hygienic to purchase second-hand clothes. Moreover, with clothes only tending to fit babies for weeks at a time, you’ll effectively be buying the garments new anyway. Therefore, through the likes of eBay and similar sources, dressing your designer baby in big labels can be done on a budget.

Toys Most people don’t realize that toys can also be bought in a designer style. Admittedly, they are a little more difficult to distinguish, but if you take your pram and venture to your nearest department store the vast majority of toys stocked there will be referred to as designer goods.

 Suffice to say, they are significantly more expensive and if you really are looking to bring your baby up ‘fashionably’, it’s probably best to save your money on clothes and furniture. Designer toys from department stores rarely do anything more than ones purchased from your standard toy shop, so save the pennies (or pounds, in this case).

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