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Water Heating & Energy Use

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25% of household energy costs are for water heating. Given these costs, it makes sense to evaluate various types of water heating systems with an eye toward saving both energy and money. Here we take a look at some of the options currently available for homeowners to consider.

Storage Water Heaters – These are the most common type of water heater in the U.S. In these systems, cold water flows into a tank where it is heated by gas or electric power. Once the water in the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater will cycle on and off to maintain the temperature of the water. As hot water gets used, more cold water will enter the tank to be heated. Most of us know the phenomenon of running out of hot water after family members take one shower after another; this will occur if the tank’s storage capacity is insufficient to meet the demand. At other times of the day when relatively little or even no hot water is being used, the heater must still fire on and off to keep the contents of the tank hot. Unfortunately, it is quite inefficient to keep a tank of water hot all day even when the water isn’t needed. Adding an insulated water heater wrap can boost efficiency and energy savings – these are inexpensive and can be installed by the homeowner. 

Tankless (Demand) Water Heaters – A newer type of water heater, tankless or demand water heaters are just that. Water is not stored in a tank, but is rapidly heated by gas or electricity once the faucet is turned on. For many homes, a tankless heater can be located close to the sink or shower to heat water on the spot. Because it reaches the desired temperature so quickly, much less water is wasted while waiting for hot water to flow through the faucet. Tankless heaters powered by gas are usually much more efficient than electric heaters – in fact, electricity costs can sometimes negate much of the savings a tankless system might otherwise provide. Tankless systems normally cost more than a conventional storage water heater, so homeowners will need to do some homework on what type, size, and location might make sense for them. 

Solar Water Heating – The basic concept of solar water heating is that the sun’s energy is used to pre-heat water for the home. The pre-heated water then flows into a solar tank that monitors temperature. Then it is piped into the regular hot water system, usually a storage water heater. If no water is turned on within a brief period of time, the water circulates through the system again, making it unnecessary to keep a large tank of water constantly hot. The pre-heating is done by one or two solar panels, usually installed on the roof. Solar water heating is becoming more and more popular in many areas of the U.S. as costs for the systems continue to decrease. By some accounts, including the California Energy Commission, a typical solar water heating system can pay for itself in as little as four to seven years.

No matter what type of water heating homeowners choose, it pays to do some research first to discover the ins and outs of various types for their specific situation. With efficiency and decreased energy use as a goal, the best choice of water heater depends on what pencils out in any given home.

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy or sell a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at


Source: 28th Edition of CRS Consumer Article (April, 15th 2013) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

Saving Energy: Watch Out For Phantom Loads

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Phantom loads – you may not have heard of them, but they’re almost certainly lurking in your home. Also known as vampire loads or the vampire effect, phantom loads occur when electronic devices continue to draw power even when they are turned off, but still plugged in. Televisions, computers, game consoles, routers, printers, and rechargeable power tools are common culprits; even though they may be turned off, their systems stay in standby mode – using power unnecessarily and wasting money. By some estimates, phantom loads comprise 6% to 10% of residential electricity consumption in the U.S. Even more amazing: according to the U.S. Department of Energy, household electronics in the average home consume 75% of their power while they are turned off. That’s a lot of waste and is easily avoidable.

Power up – and down – with power strips. Plugging devices into a power strip lets you to turn off the power to all of them with one switch. However, because turning off all connected devices may not always be desirable, consider using “smart” power strips. Much more practical than unplugging each device that’s not being used, a smart power strip senses when a printer or TV, for example, has gone into standby mode and will then cut the power to that device completely. Some smart power strips have one or more always-on outlets, which are perfect for your cordless phone base or other items that you need to keep powered up at all times. Using power strips is the most convenient way to minimize phantom loads almost anywhere in the house.

Unplug those chargers. Plug-in chargers continue to draw power even when they are not working to charge your cell phone, Bluetooth device, tablet, or smart phone. Though the amount of energy they use in this state is small, you’re still paying for it on every utility bill.

Think Energy Star. For appliances that need to be plugged in at all times or that would be impractical to turn off, such as refrigerators, freezers, or washing machines, Energy Star approved models will help reduce overall energy consumption in your home.

Limiting phantom loads in your home saves energy resources and can help extend the life of your devices – and will leave you with more money in your wallet at the end of the month.

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at


Source: 22nd Edition of CRS Consumer Article (October 31st, 2012) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

Save Energy and more with smart appliance choices

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Who hasn’t oohed and ahhed when watching home improvement shows or thumbing through the latest home design magazines? Perhaps no room gets more attention than the kitchen, and deservedly so. It’s where the family gathers for all kinds of reasons – not just cooking and meals, but homework, bill paying, TV watching, and everyday conversation. But beyond the cosmetic improvements everyone talks about, there is real opportunity in upgrading your kitchen appliances. They’ll look great, work better, and save you money and energy over time.

Not only does a new refrigerator or dishwasher change the look of the kitchen, advances in energy saving technology mean that these appliances are more efficient than ever and can save both energy and money. For proven energy efficiency, look for Energy Star rated appliances, which are available at almost all price points. In order to meet Energy Star qualifications, a new refrigerator must use at least 20% less energy than non qualifying units. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s – and yes, there are plenty of those still out there – can result in savings of more than $100 on your utility bill each year. That adds up quickly over just a few years. And while you may be tempted to put that old unit in the garage for extra refrigerating capacity, this defeats the purpose of upgrading the first place. Most appliance retailers will remove and properly dispose of your old refrigerator; in many communities the components are recycled to avoid contributing to landfill mass.

The dishwasher is another appliance that lends itself to upgrading. Newer Energy Star qualified dishwashers not only save energy, but use far less water than their older counterparts. EPA figures show that a dishwasher built before 1994 wastes 10 gallons of water per cycle. Switching to a new dishwasher will help that, but choosing an Energy Star qualified model means use an average of 33% less water than new, non-qualifying dishwashers. Think washing by hand is a better way to go? Consider this: using a fully loaded Energy Star dishwasher instead of hand washing can save more than 5,000 gallons of water each year!

With some research and solid information in hand, you can make smart choices for replacement appliances that will save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at


Source18th Edition of CRS Chapter Newsletter (June 30, 2012) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




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