5 Hot Water Heater Options for Green Home Improvement

If you’re remodeling your home, thinking about the water heater might seem rather dull. However, this is one place where a home renovation can save you money. Here are some descriptions of energy efficient water heaters.

Gas Heaters: If you want to go with a traditional gas water heater, choose one that is Energy Star certified, guaranteeing the most efficient technology. They are slightly more expensive than less efficient models, but it is estimated you gain back this money in fewer than three years.

Tankless Heaters: Conventional heaters use energy 24/7 to keep your water hot, even when you’re not using it. Tankless or demand heaters heat the water as it flows through the pipes, so it only heats what you need. This creates a substantial savings on energy costs. Demand models provide hot water continuously, so you don’t have to worry about it running out. They are also quite a bit smaller than conventional tank heaters and some can be installed outside, saving space indoors. They make an ideal home improvement project because they have a life expectancy of 20 years, far more than conventional heaters.

Heat Pump Heaters: A new technology, electric heat pump water heaters could save the typical family quite a bit each year when compared to a standard electric heater. They work similarly to heat pumps that are used for heating and air conditioning purposes and combine with your HVAC system. They work by drawing in warm outside air to heat the water, so they are only effective in warm climates. Homeowners can recoup the higher initial investment over time. (Most estimates are around three years.)

Gas Condensing Heaters: This is an even newer technology, only introduced in 2010. Using more efficient heat exchangers to capture heat from the fuel source, gas condensing water heaters can shave 30 percent off your energy bills and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. Greater efficiency allows them to provide a continuous stream of hot water, so you don’t have to worry if you’re the last one to shower!

Solar Heaters: Solar heaters can cut your water heating bill and your carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent compared to an electric heater. This is the equivalent of not driving your car four months a year; a solar heater’s average lifespan is 20 years, much longer than that of a traditional gas or electric heater. Although solar heaters take 5-10 years to pay for themselves, you can offset this cost with a federal tax credit. Enterprising do-it-yourselfers can save thousands by building their own systems.

Glass Traps for the Unwary – Shower Screens

The expansion in the production capabilities of glass companies since the late nineties allowed the development of ways to use glass that had not previously even been considered.

Since then small and medium sized regional glass companies had the machinery to polish, bevel, laminate, toughen and expand. With many more people experimenting and developing new ways to use glass, designers were encouraged to push their imagination.

At a domestic level, it meant access to glass kitchen splashbacks that could surround a range hood, glass balustrades, glass pool fences and “frameless” glass shower screens.

As demand took off and these products became standard in new homes and renovations, it opened up the opportunity for others to get a piece of the action by importing ready-made product.

Shower screens and pool fences seemed to fit the bill perfectly. All an importer had to do was buy up container loads of standard sizes and they were in the glass business. This produced a flurry of new companies that could sell a shower screen for less than half the quoted price from the local glass company.

The obvious benefit for consumers was the lowering of prices but this comes at a cost. The saying about things looking too good to be true applies, as does the one about “you get what you pay for”. Now you can buy your shower screen on the net without even having seen a glass expert. After all, why do you need an expert in glass when you can buy what you need with the instructions? How hard can it be?

If the internet is not your style now you can walk into any big name hardware store and walk out with a frameless shower screen for you to install immediately. What could go wrong?

Here are a couple of possibilities

  1. Floors and walls are never plum and a sloping floor is essential.
  2. Gaps and cut outs that the standard sizes won’t cover
  3. “Stainless” fittings that rust
  4. The difficulty of getting help from a local glass company
  5. The absence of a knowledgeable person to ensure that what is constructed meets the Safety Standards (special rules for bathrooms)
  6. The lack of replacement parts

As the push for ever cheaper product continues you will struggle to find a glass company on the first few pages of most search engines. Almost all will be importers but if you do drill down to find a glass company they will almost certainly supply glass that is certified to meet the Standards. Their whole business hangs on it, not just the shower screen.

Many people in the glass business has a humorous story to tell of the hopeful phone calls from frustrated consumers asking for help to fit the shower screen they bought on the internet. There is at one very good reason why a glass company would be reluctant to help. Once they get involved, under their license requirements they become liable for the consequences. If later, someone is injured due to poor quality product or a failed fitting they understandably do not want to be involved. You’re on your own.

Another point to ponder is the likelihood of spontaneous disintegration by nickel sulphide infusion. This occurs in some toughened (tempered) glass products when a microscopic particle of the mineral nickel is flaked off stainless steel machinery and lands in the molten glass at production. In some cases this can result in the glass exploding months or years later and while it is rare, the chances of it happening are less when driving down the price of production is not the main motivation of the manufacturer.

This does not necessarily mean that the shower screen you buy at the hardware store will not do the job safely but the result often matches the price tag.

Some Tips for Green Home Improvement

Today, people are realizing how important it is to keep our environment healthy. They do not want to waste their hard-earned money by living in an inefficient home. This is the reason why most homeowners, nowadays, are keen to improve their house and make it greener. Going green does not necessarily mean making drastic changes in the house. Even simple alterations can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your house. Listed below are some useful green home improvement tips that can help you make your property environment friendly.

* Maintain a nice herb garden. The good part is that it would not take up much space. So, you do not need to be a skilled gardener for maintaining it. There are a lot of herbs that can be easily grown indoors, which means that, even if you do not have enough outdoor space, you can still enjoy the flavor of home-grown herbs. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram, can be planted in cute small pots and lined up with the kitchen windowsill. By doing so, you can always have the basic herbs within your reach, anytime you need. In addition, the aroma which it would bring to your kitchen would be an added advantage.

* Paper and plastic bags, that are used by the stores, cause a lot of environmental issues, right from overflowing landfills and oil consumption to soil pollution and more. Investing in reusable bags is the best possible way for avoiding these problems. You can use the reusable bags while going out to shop for groceries, clothes, equipment or any other stuff.

* Paying the bills online is also a step towards saving the planet. If you pay the bills online, then you not only save your time but also the environment, by lessening the amount of paper which is used for the monthly statements. So, always have all your bills sent at your email address and not at your letterbox at home.

* If you have those old traditional light bulbs at home, then replace them with CFLs. CFL bulbs are more durable and energy-efficient than the ordinary incandescent bulbs. Thus, if you switch to CFL light bulbs, then you would surely save a lot of money by cutting back the energy consumption.

* Buy green home products. Apart from being safe for the environment, eco-friendly products also benefit people by saving their money. Moreover, by using these products, you would not be exposed to toxic chemicals, which in turn would reduce health issues. In short, by switching to environment friendly products you get, not one or two, but a lot of benefits.

So, follow these green home improvement tips and play your role towards Mother Nature as a responsible citizen. None of the above listed tips would cost you much. Making slight changes in your lifestyle would do the trick. So, make the most of these ideas by implementing them and enjoy their financial and health benefits.

Shower Screens Options

If you are shopping for shower cubicles you will soon find that there is a large variety of options to choose from. You will need to decide on the type of shower you want and what features are important. If your bathroom is small you may opt for a small corner shower unit. If you have a large, luxurious bathroom you might put in a double shower with a clear glass shower screen. If you want to have a spa shower you will need to choose your shower panel accordingly. The type of shower you install and the type of shower screens you invest in will most likely depend on how much money you have available, how large your bathroom is and how it is decorated.

Economical Shower Screen with Shower Units

If you do not have a lot of money to spend on renovations you may opt for a cheaper unit. Even so, it can still be stylish and add charm and appeal to your bathroom. Some people find that buying shower kits is fairly inexpensive. These are designed so that the average person with some handyman skills should be able to install the shower, including the flooring and shower screen themselves. Of course, if you also need to install plumbing you will need to hire a professional for at least that part of the installation.

Prices also vary a lot depending on the material shower screens are made from. For example, Plexiglas screens are usually quite a bit less expensive than genuine glass shower screens. There are a lot of different options to choose from when it comes to shower screens. Some are transparent while others are opaque, or opaque with designs and patterns etched into the screen. You can also find different sized screens, with some reaching from the floor to the ceiling and others reaching only as high at the shower head placement.

Designer Shower Screen with Shower Units

If money is not a concern you may like to install a designer types. Oftentimes shower screens are placed around a shower that is installed over a bathtub. There are many different designs to choose from, however most of these types of screens are only a few feet wide, simply wide enough to protect the floor around the bath from water spraying from the shower. Folding types are great to place around a bath as they enable the screen to be pulled fully shut while showering, or opened up to any desired width; while still protecting the floor and surroundings. Other designs are full sized, enclosing an entire shower cubicle. Some designer units make great use of colored glass shower screens which blend in with your other bathroom d├ęcor; blue is a favorite choice.

Creating a sanctuary in your bathroom is well worth the effort, time and money invested in it. While bathrooms can tend to be somewhat neglected when it comes to renovating a home it is the one room that can be outfitted in style for a fairly reasonable cost. It is usually relatively simple to decide on a bathroom theme that does not have to cost a lot of money.