How to Cut Water Heating Costs

You may think that the only way to cut hot water usage is to use less hot water, but there are other ways to save money and energy. Although heating and cooling the air in our homes takes up most of our home’s energy costs, second on the list is hot water heating.

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Water heating accounts for roughly 20-25% of our home energy consumption. Learn how to reduce your water heating costs with these 3 energy saving tips:

1. Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

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Source: The Family Handyman

Most water heaters are automatically set to 140 degrees, which is often way too hot for most uses. Thousands of people go to the hospital every year from water water burns. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also inefficient to have the temperature set that high.

Most plumbers recommend a setting of 120 degrees, but you should experiment with the temperature to get it exactly where you want it; hot enough, but not too hot that it causes burns.

If your water heater does not have temperature numbers on the dial, you may have to do a little testing. First, test the temperature of your hot water by filling a glass with hot water and measuring it with a thermometer. Keep adjusting the dial until you get a glass filled with 120 degree water.

2. Install Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

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Source: truevalueprojects

You can always save water and money by simply using less water, especially hot water, but you can continue to spend the same amount of time in the shower and still save on hot water costs by installing low-flow fixtures.

It is cheap to replace your fixtures with low-flow options and can reduce your hot water consumption anywhere from 25-60%!

Don’t worry about performance, because while low-flow fixtures can reduce the rate of flow by 50% or more, you still feel as though you are getting the same amount of water as before.

Contact Larry & Sons for more information on low–flow faucets, fixtures, and toilets.

3. Insulate Your Pipes (Maybe Your Tank Too)

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Source: DIY Network

A lot of heat is lost through your pipes. Insulating your hot water pipes save you money on costly heat loss, but while you’re at it, you might as well insulate those cold water pipes to prevent dripping condensation.

Although there are several types of insulation to choose from, we recommend Tubular Sleeve Insulation.

If your pipes require more than one sleeve, make sure that you duct tape the seams that connect the two sleeves.

For more ways to save on your water heating bill, read energy.gov’s 15 Ways to Save On Your Water Heating Bill.


If you need help changing your hot water heater setting, insulating your plumbing, or installing low-flow fixtures in Maryland, give Larry & Sons a call at 301-733-5428.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to schedule your annual heating tune-up. We offer installation, maintenance and repair of boilers, furnaces, heat pumps, and geothermal systems.

With our maintenance plan, we’ll remind you of your annual tune-up, provide 15 % off all repairs, and much more!

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Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

Happy Earth Day!

Although every day should be Earth Day, we are celebrating today by recognizing areas in the home for energy-efficient improvements. Since everybody is leading full, busy lives, we wanted to provide practical, actionable advice for creating an energy-efficient home. Don’t delay, go green today!

Top 10 Green Tips for the Home

Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

  1. Schedule your annual HVAC tune-up to ensure you are using the minimum amount of energy to effectively heat and cool your home.
  2. Check your air filters every month. Write the date on the filter itself so you know when you last replaced it. We also recommend setting monthly reminders so you never forget. Replacing dirty air filters will significantly reduce the workload on your HVAC system and improve the quality of your indoor air. It’s a win-win!
  3. Use a programmable thermostat for maximum savings. We recommend setting the thermostat to 78°F while at home and 80°F or higher when away from home. According to energy.gov, raising the thermostat setting in the summer or lowering it in the winter by just 1°F for a period of 8 hours will save you 1% on your energy bill. Those savings add up!
  4. Check your home for air leaks and replace any old weatherstripping and caulking. Don’t forget to seal your air ducts, which lose, on average, about 20% of your home’s conditioned air. You can hold a piece of toilet paper or incense stick around areas where you suspect a leak. Watch this video to learn how to find air leaks and insulate your home:
  5. Close drapes and curtains while the sun is out and open some windows at night to take advantage of the cool outside air. Just remember to close them again in the morning! Also, consider purchasing solar screens and insulating drapes for more protection against solar heat gain.
  6. Turn down your water heater temperature from the standard 140°F to a more energy-efficient, but still hot enough 120°F. Not only will you save money and energy on water heating costs, but you will also reduce the risk of burns and scalding, especially important in homes with young children. Consider also purchasing water heater insulation blankets for your water heat tank.
  7. Cook hot meals at night when the temperatures are lower. Instead of using your oven, consider alternative cooking methods that produce less heat and use less energy like microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers. This is the time to learn about some cooler, plant-based meals that you can enjoy in warmer weather.
  8. Make sure your fireplace flue damper is fully closed and sealed unless you have a fire burning. Check the seals around the damper and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. You don’t want your precious conditioned air escaping out the chimney.
  9. Plant trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your home and in front of sun-facing windows to provide energy-saving shade from the sun.
  10. Check your water meter for water leaks. The average U.S. home has water leaks that amount to more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. Let’s do our part by fixing those leaks as soon as possible. If you are having trouble detecting or repairing your plumbing leaks, give Larry & Sons a call. We’d be glad to help! Click here to learn how to find and read your water meter for leaks. Click here to learn how to fix a leaking or running toilet.

For more Green Tips you can start implementing today to save money and the planet, read our previous posts:

If you needed any more convincing for taking action this Earth Day, watch Morgan Freeman narrate “What’s Possible,” for the UN Climate Summit:


For over 55 years, Larry & Sons has been serving your home heating and cooling needs in the great Hagerstown, Maryland area. Contact us for an expert able perform nearly any home service you need. We offer installation, repair, and maintenance of heating, air conditioning, geothermal, solar and indoor air quality systems. We service all makes and models, even if we didn’t install your system to begin with.

We are also full–service plumbers, offering water heater repair and installation, sewer and drain services and water treatment systems.

For more information on how to lower your heating bill, give us a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions.

To further save and reduce your impact on the environment, we highly recommend signing up for a maintenance plan that ensures 2 annual heating and air conditioning tune-ups, 15 % off all repairs, and much more! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.

Happy Earth Day! It’s Our Turn to Lead!

Spring Savings: 10 Ways to Save Money & Energy

Spring has sprung and the weather is definitely warming up. With flowers blooming and the sun out for longer periods, it is the perfect time to go around your home or office and implement some spring saving tips.

10 Tips & Tricks for Spring Savings

1. Inspect doors and windows for damage and air leaks. Replace screens and bent frames if necessary. For air leaks smaller than a ¼ inch, use weatherproof caulk. Any gaps or openings larger than a ¼ inch, use expandable foam spray.

2. Consider purchasing solar screens to block out more of the sun’s rays.

3. Close your windows during the day and shut the blinds/curtains when the sun is out. Conversely, if the temperature drops at night, consider opening up a few windows to take advantage of nature’s free cooling. Just remember to close them again when you wake up.

4. If your screens are still functional, but dirty, you can clean them with mild detergent, water, and a soft bristle brush.

5. Inspect you home for water leaks. You can do this by turning off all water-using appliances and then going to your water meter box to see if the water dial continues to move. The best resource we have found for finding and fixing water leaks is smarthomewaterguide.org. Water meters have a leak detection dial, indicated below:

 Save Money & Energy

Via horizonutilities

6. If your water meter indicates a leak, check your toilets, sinks, and outdoor hoses/irrigation for leaks. Learn how to fix a leaking toilet here.

7. Inspect your basement and crawl spaces for any excessive moisture or mold. Be on the lookout for signs of water and moisture around your home. Mold and mildew causes many health problems and can be very dangerous. If you suspect mold and moisture in your home, call a professional plumber to inspect the situation and recommend solutions. If you suspect an indoor air quality issue, give Larry & Sons a call for your whole-home inspection.

8. Install a programmable thermostat for maximum savings. You can schedule your HVAC system to turn itself on and off at designated times. Smart thermostats like the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart and the Nest Learning Thermostat allow you to make thermostat changes from the convenience of your smart phone. Contact Larry & Sons to get a smart thermostat installed today!

9. Seal you air ducts! Watch this video to learn how. Ironically, don’t use duct tape. Use either mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape.

If you are in need of duct sealing services, we can help. Larry & Sons has been offering duct sealing services for many years throughout Hagerstown, Frederick, MD, and the surrounding areas. Our technicians are highly trained and we have the most state-of-the-art equipment available.

10. Schedule you annual air conditioning tune-up! In addition to increased energy efficiency (up to 15%), regular maintenance is usually required to keep your manufacturer’s warranty in effect. In addition to remembering to check and/or change your filter every month, the most important thing a homeowner can do to ensure optimum levels of HVAC efficiency is to schedule annual HVAC maintenance. Call Larry & Sons to schedule your appointment. Sign up for our maintenance plan and you will receive FREE ANNUAL HVAC TUNE-UPS!

Looking for more ways to save money and energy this spring?

Spring Savings TipsVia energy.gov

To learn more about spring savings, schedule a professional home energy audit in Maryland with Larry & Sons  — 301-733-5428.

We service Hagerstown, Frederick, and the surrounding Maryland areas. We also service parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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

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 smarthomewaterguide.org.

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.