Save Water and Go Green for Spring

When it comes to implementing eco-friendly solutions in your home, the word intimidating is more than likely coming to mind. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You may be thinking, “Where do I even start? Isn’t it more expensive?”

Save Water, Save Money

But the amazing thing about going green is that the opportunities are endless. Whether it’s using natural air fresheners, homemade soaps and detergents, conserving water, recycling paper and plastic or installing low-flow shower-heads, every little bit makes a difference and you can start right now. Even though it might not seem like you play a significant part in the green movement, you do and your influence does as well.

How to Save Water at Home

Let’s tackle the first question, “Where do I even start?” If you feel overwhelmed, start out small. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” so don’t stress out. Begin by adjusting your routines. For starters, unless you’re washing towels or items that need are in need of serious disinfection, switch the washer knob to “cold.” See, this isn’t so bad! We’re just going to continue easing you into this.

What else can you do in your laundry room to save money and conserve water, you ask?

  • Wait until your hamper is completely full to wash a load. Just because your washing machine has “small” as a load option doesn’t mean you should use it.
  • Jeans that have been worn a couple of times or a shirt that is worn once don’t need to be thrown in the hamper just yet.
    • Sheets, every 5 to 7 days
    • Jeans, every 4 to 5 wears
    • Bras, every 3 to 4 wears
    • Pillows, every 3 to 6 months
  • Inspect the water fixtures connected to your washing machine for leaks. If there’s moisture, you more than likely have a leak.
  • When replacing your washing machine, look at Energy Star and other high-efficiency models. Depending on the model you have, you could save up to 20 gallons of water per load!

Let’s shift our attention to the bathroom.

  • Are you guilty of running the sink while brushing your teeth? We aren’t judging, but if you do turn the water off, you’ll save 4.5 gallons each time! Think about it. If you brush your teeth twice a day, that’s nine gallons a day. Now, who else in your family does the same thing? Make it a goal for everyone in your household to turn the sink off.
  • Test your toilet for leaks by adding a couple drops of food coloring into the tank. Once you place the drops in the tank, don’t flush. If the dye appears in the bowl, you have a leak. If you don’t know the first thing about fixing a leak, read our blog for How to Fix a Toilet Leak. If you are still having difficulties, give Larry & Sons a call – (301)733-5428. We’ll be more than happy to address the issue!
  • If you shorten your shower by even just a couple minutes, you’ll conserve up to 150 gallons per month! Now add that to each family member.
  • Keep a bucket under the faucet and use it to water your plants.
  • Choose low-flow shower-heads. In just a few short years, the gallons per minute (GPM) standards have changed. A standard shower-head from two years ago would have had a 5-8 GMP while today’s have a 1.5 or below rating.

For ways to make your kitchen Green and energy-efficient, see our blog, Energy-Efficient Kitchen Tips.

See, a majority of the things listed above require simply altering your daily routines. For beginners, we believe this is a good place to start. Water is such a critical component of our society and is necessary for sustainment. Let’s conserve and be smart wherever we can.

For a comprehensive list of things you can do inside and outside your home to save water, money, and the environment, see this list of 100 Ways to Conserve Water.

how to read water meter to save waterOne of the biggest sources of home water waste is water leaks in and around your home. You can find out how to read your water meter to determine if you have a leak from

Essentially, to save water and money, you should:

  • switch to energy-saving appliances and plumbing fixtures
  • repair leaks in and around the home
  • practice water-saving behaviors

For more ways to save water, give Larry & Sons a call at 301-733-5428.

If you are still having trouble finding or repairing your water leaks, or need help finding/reading your water mete, give Larry & Sons a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be more than happy to help!

Check out our maintenance plan; we provide annual HVAC tune-ups, 15 % off all repairs, and much more!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.

New Water Heater Regulations for April 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy’s new water heater regulations go into effect this April 16, 2015!

U.S. DOE Water Heater Regulations 2015

What this means for you depends, but we do know that after April 16th, water heater manufacturer prices will increase $100-$200 and the stricter installation requirements will increase your upfront costs even more.

The graph below shows us that the new water heater regulations will mostly affect larger gas and electric models. If you already have a solar, tankless, or small water heater, these new regulations won’t affect you as much. In fact, your water heater might already meet these new standards.

Water Heater Regulation Energy Efficiency


The larger gas and electric water heaters (greater than 55 gallons) will need to significantly increase their Energy Factor (EF) in order to comply with the U.S. DOE’s Final Rule.

Starting April 16th, all new water heaters will need to be made more efficient and installed in a specific way. Manufacturer prices could increase upwards of 30%, raising the cost of your new, larger, energy efficient water heater over $200.

New requirements, such as vent piping and possible relocating, will also increase installation and maintenance costs on the new system.

Basically, the new water heater regulations will increase your home energy efficient (remember, water heating accounts for about 20% of your home’s total energy uses), but the larger upfront costs may offset the savings. Basically, do you want $100 now or 27¢ every day for a year?

So you have two choices:

  • Buy an older, smaller water heater now and save on all the new, higher upfront costs and avoid having to find a new home for your water heater.
  • Wait until after April 16th and purchase a larger, more energy efficient water heater and reap the energy efficiency savings over the period of your water heater’s lifespan.

Our recommendation is that if your water heater needs to be replaced soon, save on the upfront costs of the new models and install an older, but still energy efficient model now.

Here are some signs that you water heater needs replacing, courtesy of

1. How old is your water heater?

It’s crucial to know the age of your water heater. Find the age by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper portion of the water heater. Generally, most water heaters that are more than 10 years old should be considered for replacement.

2. Rusty water

If you discover rusty water coming from your water heater and it only comes from the hot side piping in your home, this can be a sign that your water heater is rusting away on the inside and it may begin to leak soon.

3. Rumbling and noise

As a water heater ages, sediment will build up on the bottom of the tank. As the sediment is heated and reheated, it eventually will harden. When this happens, you can often hear rumbling or banging sounds coming from the water heater as it is heating up. This is a sign that the water heater is at the end of its useful life.

4. Water around the water heater

If you notice moisture around your water, you may have a small leak or a fracture in the tank. If your water heater is in a location that will not cause damage if there is a leak, you can wait until it develops a leak before replacing it, but that really is not recommended.

If you do install an older, less energy efficient model, there are some things you can do to increase its energy efficiency, such as lowering the temperature and installing and insulation blanket.

Consider Tankless

A tankless water heater only operates when water is turned on so that it’s not using any energy when not in use, but just on standby waiting for you to turn on a faucet. The natural or LP tankless heater has up to a 15 year warranty with enough capacity to supply any hot water demand and any size home with proper professional sizing of the tankless unit.

If your Hagerstown water heater is nearing the end of its life expectancy period, you can consider replacing it with a new one, so that you can stop wasting money on your energy bill every month.

Call Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn about our Hagerstown water heater replacement services!

If you are having trouble figuring out how old your water heater is or if it is need of service or replacement, give Larry & Sons a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be more than happy to help!

Check out our maintenance plan; we provide fall and spring HVAC tune-ups, provide 15 % off all repairs, and much more!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.