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Posted by on 10:24 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Target Your Water Heater This Earth Day With These 3 Cheap And Easy Adjustments

As Earth Day approaches, now is the perfect time to lower your energy use and costs by making adjustments to your home appliances. With your water heater being one of the top energy-consuming appliances in your home, this is a great place to start. Check out these 3 easy ways you can boost the efficiency of your hot water heaters this Earth Day. Turn Down The Thermostat Hot water heater manufacturers preset their products to temperatures as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than most people need to maintain comfortable water temperatures. Furthermore, hotter temperatures promote the accumulation of sediment which could interfere with the efficiency of your unit. The temperature gauge on water heaters aren’t always accurate, so it will take some going back and forth to successfully find a temperature that suits your needs. Start by turning the power supply to your water heater off and then ever-so-slightly bump the thermostat dial a bit to the left. You’ll find the dial on the gas valve at the bottom of the tank for gas-powered water heaters or behind a screw-on face plate on the front of electrical units. Once you’ve made your adjustments, turn the power supply back on and wait a few hours for your water to heat up. Visit your faucet farthest away from your water heater and (very carefully) use an instant-read thermometer to take the temperature of the water on its highest setting. If the temperature reads 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re good. If the temperature is still above 120 degrees, repeat the process. Increase Your Insulation If you have an older-style hot water heater, there is a good chance that it lacks ample insulation. Fortunately, there is a fast, inexpensive fix for this problem. Visit your local hardware store and look for a water heater blanket. The blanket will cost roughly $20 and will be pre-cut to fit perfectly around your tank. Once you have it, simply wrap it around your unit and tape it in place for an energy savings of $20-$45 annually. Want to save even more? While you’re at the hardware store, pick up some fiberglass pipe wrap and a roll of aluminum foil tape. Wrap the pipe wrap around the pipes leading away from your hot water heater, and then secure it in place with the tape. Congratulations, you’ve just successfully increased the insulation and the R-rating of your hot water heater! Replace Your Anode Rod If you look at the top of your water heater, you’ll see a hexagon-shaped piece of metal. This piece of metal is the head of your unit’s anode rod — an aluminum or magnesium probe specifically intended to collect corrosive elements from your water before they can harm the efficiency of your water heater. These rods should be replaced as they become crusted and caked with sediment. To change your unit’s anode rod, shut off the power to your water heater and then carefully drain its tank. Use an appropriately-sized impact wrench and socket to free the anode rod from the water heater. Take the used anode directly to your home supply store, and ask for an exact replica. The new anode rod will cost you between $25 and $40, depending on whether it is made of aluminum or magnesium and whether the...

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Posted by on 7:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding And Maintaining The Benefits Of An Eastern Red Cedar Tree

Landscaping is not only beneficial for your home’s appeal and value, but it can also increase your home’s energy efficiency and the privacy of your backyard. While surprising to hear, many trees are able to grow tall and large very quickly. Considering the Eastern red cedar tree is one of these fast-growing, shade-producing trees, installing a few around your yard’s perimeter can increase your home’s appeal, value, and privacy. Unfortunately, you may not know the proper techniques for planting and maintaining these popular trees. Using this guide, you can improve your landscaping, home value, and privacy using the Eastern red cedar tree. Benefits The lush green foliage of the Eastern red cedar tree is an attractive addition to your home’s landscape. Not only can it be used as an accent piece, but a grouping of these beautiful trees can create a natural fence or barrier between your yard and the yards of other homes. While the tree does grow in a narrow shape, the Eastern red cedar is capable of growing up to 40 feet high, making it an excellent option for creating shade around your home. The size, color, and shape are benefits, but the Eastern red cedar tree also has a fragrant aroma that combines fruity flavors with cedar wood.  In addition, the tree develops small blue berries in the winter. These berries attract birds, so the Eastern red cedar is a great option if you are a bird lover. From intense foliage and the addition of privacy and shade to the soft, appealing scent of the tree, the benefits of adding Eastern red cedar trees to your landscape are easy to see. Planting Planting the Eastern red cedar is pretty simple, since it thrives in most climates. However, be sure to install the trees in areas that receive full sun and ample size for the future growth. If planting in groups for a privacy screen, space out the trees according to the variety of tree. Here are a few common species of the Eastern red cedar tree: Canaert – The Canaert variety of the Eastern red cedar can grow up to 15 to 20 feet wide, so you must ensure there is sufficient space between each tree when creating privacy screen. Glauca – For a more moderate width, consider the Glauca. The Glauca variety has an average spread of 6 to 8 feet. Gray Owl – The Gray Owl variety is more like a shrub, with an average height of 4 feet, but its 8-foot width still requires ample spacing. When digging the hole for your tree, make sure it offers enough space to contain its root ball. Place the root ball of the tree into the hole, ensuring the top is slightly below the top of the hole. Make sure there is plenty of space around the root ball to fill the hole with dirt and fertilizer, as well. Use your hands or gardening tools to loosen the soil before placing it back into the hole. Pack it in loosely around the root ball, preventing any constriction of the roots. Be sure there are no rocks, pebbles, or chunks of wood left behind in the soil. Surround the tree base with mulch or pine straw and water thoroughly. Maintenance After planting, water your Eastern red...

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