14:04 PM

You’re in Hot Water – and That’s a Good Thing

It’s a phrase that points to trouble: Saying someone is in “hot water.” Whether it’s that person’s fault or not, the phrase usually implies someone is likely to be punished or has a price to pay, as they say. As far as idioms go, you most certainly don’t want to be in hot water.

But as a homeowner with dishes to wash and children’s faces to clean, you want all the hot water you need. And it, too, comes with a cost.

In northeast Georgia, water heating typically accounts for the second highest amount of power consumed in a home, behind only heating and cooling. Water heating alone can add up to about 15% of your total electric bill.

You’re probably aware of some ways to minimize your heating and air cost. They include keeping the thermostat at 68 degree in colder months and 78 degrees in warmer months, sealing open spaces around windows and doors to keep conditioned air inside, and using a smart thermostat to control the temperature.

There are also things you can do to reduce water heating costs on your electric bill.

You’ll always save energy – and in turn, cost -- by using hot water in moderation. Clothes get just as clean now in cool or cold water, and a warm shower is just as effective as a hot one.

Also, it’s a good idea to periodically check your water heater for leaks. All it takes is a quick look from top to bottom and at the floor where it rests. Catching a leak early can save you money on repairs to the water heater and/or the floor surrounding it.

For optimum monthly savings on your power bill, you may consider upgrading to a more energy efficient water heater. If your home has a water heater that’s more than a decade old, it’s probably time to check out newer models. On average, when compared to older standard electric water heaters, ENERGY STAR® models can save almost $300 a year on electric bills.

To get the most energy and cost savings, figure the energy efficiency of water heaters before you purchase by comparing the annual operating costs of different models. When you’ve decided which model suits your home needs best, Jackson EMC can help with loans and rebates that lower your cost to invest in an energy efficient water heater.

Rebates include $150 on a standard water heater and $500 on an ENERGY STAR® heat pump water heater. Visit jacksonemc.com/rebates for details.

Low interest HomePlus loans are available to qualified Jackson EMC members for specific energy efficient home improvements, including water heaters. Visit jacksonemc.com/loans. Be sure to call Jackson EMC before making any energy efficient home improvements in which you’d like to use a rebate or loan.

From a homeowner’s perspective, here’s hoping you stay in hot water.

Jackie Kennedy has worked with Georgia’s electric cooperatives for 26 years, producing newsletters, press releases and articles about the industry or energy-related matters. She is the author of People, Power, Progress: The Story of Jackson EMC, published in 2013. In her blog, she grapples with a variety of energy efficiency topics.