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Saving Money On Heating and Water Bills

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Trust's easy to save money on your water bill and the heating of that water with the help of a DTE energy expert in the house.

In part two of my five part series this week on FOX 17...saving money and energy on your utility bills, we show you the hot water heater, a whole house humidifier, low flow shower heads, water recirculators, and faucet aerators. Follow the advice of our DTE energy expert, Herman Kozub, and you could easily save thousands of gallons of water (and the heating of that water) every year.

Since there is a major price advantage of natural gas over electricity (especially when heating water), you may want to consider upgrading to a natural gas hot water tank when it comes time to change it out. Perhaps even a tankless system may be right for you. You should never have your water tank turned up all the way. It's too easy for the kids (or yourself) to get burned, and there just is no point in it. DTE recommends you dial down to 120 degrees. This will save on the unnecessary extra heating of that water. Older tanks can benefit from a hot water tank wrap or blanket to help insulate the tank. These are available at several stores for about 15 to 20 dollars. DTE also says to drain about one to two quarts of water (from the bottom at the spicket) each month or two. That helps keeps the sediment out and the tank running/heating more efficiently.

Whole house humidifiers mounted directly on the furnace can be great for adding moisture in the air during the dry winter months. You'll actually feel warmer and more comfortable with moisture in the air, so it sometimes will allow you to dial the thermostat down. The added benefit is it reduces static electricity and keeps your wood products and furniture from drying out. The big disclaimer here is make sure to check/change the filter in these humidifiers each year. Yes...they have filters that get dirty, clogged, and moldy if not changed annually. For those of us without whole house humidifiers on the furnace, purchase a tabletop model...they do the same task of putting moisture in the air.

Alot of houses today do not allow individual control of the hot/cold water in the shower. The faucet is either on or off with no flow control. DTE suggests a low flow shower head to cut water consumption. Traditional shower heads use up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute. A low flow shower head will use only 1.5 GPM. Take that, times the number of showers in your house each day, each week, and each month, and you can clearly see the savings add up! In fact, DTE Energy offers a "free" starter kit with one of these shower heads to DTE customers by simply going here and filling out a profile.

Faucet aerators do the exact same thing on your kitchen and bath faucets by limiting or restricting the water flow. These are also included free in the DTE starter kit for DTE customers.

Have you ever turned on the shower and waited a minute or two for the hot water to arrive BEFORE stepping in? Think of the 2.5 gallons of water wasted each time you or a family member do that. You can cut water consumption big time by installing a "water recirculator". The do-it-your-selfer can do this in about 30 to 60 minutes and these are available from the big box stores. I got mine at Menards, but the big drawback here is the upfront cost. It's about $225, but the water you save will pay for it in no time. The way it works is the recirculator is installed under the sink at the farthest faucet from the hot water heater. It has both a timer and electric plug to pump (very quietly I might add) the cool water from the hot water line, force it into the cold water line, and bring the hot water up from the tank/heater. No water is wasted in this process and the recirculator shuts off when it reaches a certain temperature. You can get more information here or get a full diagram to explain how it works by clicking here.

So follow these tips and tricks and enjoy the savings. In the event you are a DTE customer and may be replacing an old hot water tank/heater, remember there is free money available in the form of a rebate. Click here for the information. Remember to check with your particular utility provider since other companies offer similar rebates.

Our energy savings tips are being done in conjunction with FOX 17's Project you the chance to win 300 dollars to help pay your heating bill this February. Click here for the official rules and regulations.

Coming up Monday on FOX 17 News at Six, part three of my series will show how important caulking and insulation are, as well as energy saving tips for fireplaces, and the importance of using power strips.



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