Do something different

Is it time to replace your water heater?  I was recently asked about replacing a standard water heater with a tankless, and sadly I didn’t know what was best.  I pride myself on knowing a lot about keeping energy bills low. In the case of water heaters  though, I had no idea what the best option was.  I know what the most energy efficient standard heater is but I didn’t know what the best option was.  So I decided to figure it out and share it with you.  

Standard water heater vs. a Marathon water heater by Rheem

  • Your standard electric water heater runs about 3 hours per day. It uses approximately 5500 watts per day that’s about 495 Kwh’s per month.  Your typically charged .10 per Kwh that’s $49.50/ month before taxes.  All this information is based on how much you use your water heater.  If you have a couple teenagers, it might run more than 3 hours per day (it doesn’t just run when your using it) The average life span of a standard water heater is 10 years.
  • Rheems Marathon water heater according to its energy guide label uses 389 kwh’s per month @ .10 thats $38.90/ month + taxes. In a year that’s an average savings of $128 per year.  The average lifespan of a Marathon water heater is 20 years.

$128 per year doesnt sound like much of a savings especially when you look at the fact that a marathon cost nearly twice as much on the show room floor.

Here’s the real information. The construction and design of the marathon water heater makes the Marathon over 300% more energy efficient than your standard water heater, but how is that possible? Well the construction allows WAY less heat loss during the day than the standard water heater so your Marathon water heater doesn’t run 3 hours per day like the standard.  If it did you’d still have a savings of $128.00 per year but the fact that the Marathons not going to run that much and you wont lose the amount of heat during a day that the standard will means that $128.00 savings per year just went up exponentially.  That’s what makes the Marathon so much better than your standard heater.  It doesn’t lose the heat during the day therefore it doesn’t run as much during the day.  Not to mention there are greater tax rebates for buying a marathon (so I understand).

Marathon water heater vs. Tankless water heater 

  • I wont repeat myself with the Marathon information its all listed above
  • Tankless water heater The average lifespan of a Tankless water heater is about 20 years.  The same as a marathon.  The show room price of a Tankless heater is about $1000.00 about the same as a marathon heater.  I’ve heard from multiple sources that the cost of a tankless water heater to be installed is nearly $2000.00 I’m not really sure if that’s correct it seems a little high.  A heat pump water heater with an EF of 2.0 and an electricity cost of $0.0842/kWh365 X 12.03 ÷ 2.0 X $0.0842 = $185.  So thats $185/ year cost to run the unit depending on how much water you use.  The pro’s of the demand unit is you should never run out of how water due to usage.  The con’s are it cost a little more per Kwh and it cost more to install.  Another problem to look at is if you have a split plan house or a large house you may need more than 1 tankless heater which would almost double your cost of operation.  

So in summary I cant tell you which unit is better for your house only you can decide that.  I can however give you the info to make an educated and hopefully green decision.  I would hope that you can see that the old way of doing things (heating water) is just not good enough any more.  In this day and age you can save money and use less electricity which is better for all of us.  

Side note: I did not compare gas water heaters to electric.  Have you seen gas prices lately?


Tell me what you think about solar electricity?  Do you think its a good Idea?


Keep the hot air where it belongs

Aluminum-Window_Deteriorated-CaulkOne of the easiest ways to keep your electric bill low is, keep the hot air where it belongs. If you want to stay cool inside while its hot outside, then here are a few tips.
1. Caulk around your windows on the outside of your house. Weather it’s a brick house or a wood frame, even if there’s only a small hairline crack between the window and the brick/wood. Seal it up with a clear silicone type caulk.
2. Caulk around your windows on the inside of your house. Caulk where the wood meets the aluminum window frame. Is yours already caulked? Ok then caulk around the window seal where the sheet rock meets the window trim. Also caulk the corners of the window frame. ANYWHERE you can caulk then put some caulk.
3. Think caulking is hard and messy? Think again. Put the caulk on slow and wipe with a damp paper towel. The towel smooths the caulk and gives it that professional look. It also cleans up really easy.
4. You can do this before or after your caulk. Test your windows by lighting a match and blowing it out. While the A/c unit is running light a match and hold it up around the window seal and see if its pulling air into the house.
Older houses were built with the idea that houses needed to breath. Well they don’t, the big problem is that new houses built today aren’t built much better. So there you go. Theres som actionable advice. For very little money and very little effort you can seal up a portion of your house.

Gas or Electric, keep your water warm .


Water Heater blankets are a quick and easy way to start saving money fast. The average water heater is set to around 140 Degrees. If the water heater is in a closet in your house the air around it is typically 72 degrees. Now not to get too deep into detail Heat energy travels toward cold energy. So knowing that, you need to try to put something between your cool air and the hot water. Here are a couple ways to do that.

  1. Buy a water heater blanket. Buy it on line or at your local big box store. These are usually between $15-25. Its quick and its easy, I dont know that any blanket is any beter than the next one.
  2. Wrap it yourself. If your a do it yourself kind of person, I know I am, if you have some fiberglass insulation laying around the house and some duct tape your ready. Wrap your water heater with the insulation and tape it with duct tape. Try not to wrap it too tight, or tape it too tight. Insulation works by forming air pockets, so dont squeeze the insulation.

Some experts say that this can save you up to 10%. I believe thats a little high but even if they are wrong 5% is still a good savings and will pay for your blanket in just a matter of months. Thats pretty good considering the blanket will probably last you the life of the water heater.

Now I have a question. Have tried something to lower your bill and did you see a difference? Leave an answer or any questions below and Ill do my best to answer.