Tag Archive: aerator


When most people think of saving energy, the first thing that comes to mind is turning off the lights, unplugging the appliances, and saving electricity. But most don’t realize that saving water also contributes to saving energy.

 According to WaterSense, a partnership website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of energy annually used to deliver, heat, and treat water for one household could power a household refrigerator for a year…not to mention the fact that, in some areas of the USA, this estimate actually falls on the low side, as there are areas of the country where it takes six times that amount to do the job. On average, some homes (those with electric water heaters) spend ¼ of their electric bill just to heat the water.

 So…what can be done about it?

 The best thing, first, is to start installing water-efficient products into the house. For example, this past weekend, in keeping with our current family project of energy saving, we installed low-flow showerheads in both full baths. These showerheads keep the water flowing at a constant 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute) and allow us to use the water efficiently while taking a shower. Coupled with the rule about avoiding longer than 10-minute showers, we feel this is an acceptable step in conserving water and, therefore, conserving energy.  The showerheads took less than 10 minutes to install, required only the use of plumbers tape and a pipe wrench, and frankly, are better than what we had. The new showerheads offer massage settings and a stronger, steadier stream of spray.

 In addition to the low-flow showerheads, we also installed a low-flow aerator in the master bathroom, limiting the flow on that sink to 1.0GPM. Because the sink is in use by two people in that bathroom at various times, we felt this was the best place to put it. The reason we did not install bathroom aerators in the other two baths with sinks (one a full bath, one a half-bath) was not for lack of wishing – the aerators we had simply didn’t fit the faucet.

 In the kitchen we also installed an aerator on the sink, a 1.5GPM regulating beauty that attached very easily to the current faucet (thank goodness, after the bathroom ordeal we were really scratching our heads.) The aerator is attached to a swivel, allowing it to rotate around the sink, as well as having what is known as a “pause-action lever” – a little handle that we flip up to reduce the water to a trickle when necessary. Of course, I just prefer turning the water off, but you never know!

 The aerator in the kitchen sink actually saves 30% more water than a standard kitchen sink aerator, which is set at 2.2GPM, not 1.5GPM. According to DTE, the local energy provider, that’s 7,665 gallons of water annually. We predict that we’ll start seeing the savings right away, as when we pulled the old aerator out to change it…well, some things are better left unsaid.

 We’re not as rabid as some about saving water, though the thought is constantly on our minds. We didn’t replace the turn knobs of the shower with a simple chain that will activate the water when pulled and turn it off when released, as we do tend to prefer hot water for showers and not whatever comes out (too many years of camp showers for some in this household!)

 With our new showerheads and aerators installed, we look happily forward to saving water. Next step will be to wrap the pipes coming from the hot water heater in insulating pipe wrap, and see if that helps us to save energy as well.

 Have a good day, everyone! I’m sure more adventures will soon follow.

Oh yes, before I forget…be sure to check out our pages “Home Cooking” and “The Garden Chronicles” (links at the top of this page) for updates.

Imagine my surprise when I walked out on the front porch just before the start of this energy-saving family project to discover a package from DTE Energy, our local energy provider of electricity and natural gas.

For once, they were not calling for my head or sending a bill – they had, instead, sent a Free Energy Efficiency Kit.

Had they read my mind? Did they know what we were about to do?

Well, the short answer is no, they did not. Apparently unbeknowst to me, my wonderful husband had gone online to DTE’s Energy Efficiency Analyzer and, in the spirit of the family project, completed a free online home energy audit. The result, just for completing said audit, was this kit that landed on our doorstep.

Contained in the kit was:

  • Two 23Watt Compact Flourescent Light  (CFL) Bulbs (equal to 100 Watts each)
  • One 20Watt Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) Bulb (equal to 75 Watts)
  • Two 16Watt Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) Bulbs (equal to 60 Watts each)
  • One LED Night Light
  • One Kitchen Faucet Aerator (that will use only 1.5 Gallons Per Minute of water)
  • One Bathroom Faucet Aerator (that will use only 1.0 Gallons Per Minute of water)
  • One Energy-Efficient Shower Head
  • 8-10 Child Safety Caps for outlets (even if you don’t have a child in the house, these are said to decrease drafts)
  • 15 feet of Insulating Pipe Wrap, to wrap the pipes from the hot water heater
  • 17 feet of V-Seal Weatherstrip for doors, windows, attic hatches, around air conditioners, etc

Now, whatever your feelings are about DTE Energy (or any other energy provider), I have to tell you, this thing was completely free. The only catch was that my husband had to complete the energy audit online and, in doing so, register our house for online bill payment (which we did before this anyway, but there is an option to continue your paper statement).

All in all, I consider this a good deal. We’ve already put some of the products in this kit to use, and it sure beat going out and getting all of this stuff ourselves, which I doubt we would have been able to do, either logistically or monetarily. Even if our family was not actively trying to save energy with this family project, if half this stuff works out, we’ll have saved money along the way.

Slightly impressive as well, at least for me, was that there were very little tools needed for most of this kit. Some things that you receive in the mail are worse than a put-together piece of furniture, at least for me – I’m the type that always has 10 screws left and spends the next week in terror hoping the thing doesn’t fall apart! Seriously, though, the only thing remotely requiring tools (at least so far that I’ve seen) is the showerhead, and all that the showerhead needs is a pipe wrench and plumbers tape.

For those that read this blog that are not serviced by DTE Energy, check out your local energy provider’s website – similiar deals may exist elsewhere. I think they’re worth looking into, no matter where you live.

I’m sure by now most people are wondering (should they be reading or following this blog), exactly what the project is that we’re doing and what it entails. Since we usually start a project sometime around New Year’s Day, and the last two projects that we’ve done have been on more of a long-term scale, it would probably help to explain the details of this one.

Simply put, we’re trying to see how much energy we can save over a 30-day period of time. That’s it. Sounds simple, right? Well, not when you think about the fact that even though we are a family of “only” three people in one house at the moment, one of those three happens to be a teenager – a teenager rabidly devoted to his gaming console. Since the advent of the purchase some 3 Christmases ago, we’ve seen a spike of more than $20.00 in our bills every month, especially when that console is left on.

Now, since that same Christmas we also purchased a chest freezer for storing large quantities of food, we’re not entirely sure that the gaming console is the culprit. BUT, since in this experiment/project/call it whatever you want, the gaming console will be unplugged and powered down when not in use, and the chest freezer will not, it might actually have more than one good result.

So, you might be asking yourself, what objects are in the house that use electricity or gas, other than the obvious (air conditioning, furnace, and hot water heater?

Without giving a step-by-step layout of the house, let’s just say…a lot. Microwave, Kitchen Aid Mixer, Chest Freezer*, Upright Refrigerator with Freezer*, Stove with Oven*, Toaster, Dishwasher*, 3 televisions, Surround Sound System, DVD Player, 2 Gaming Consoles, U-Verse Box, Parlor Organ, 4 lamps of various sizes, Electric Shaver, 3 clocks, 2 desktop computers, 2 laptop computers, printer, copier, and a fax machine…along with a partridge in a pear tree (no, just kidding, but I wouldn’t be surprised to one day see one!) 

Added to that is an automatic litter box for Mr. Kitty, our household mascot (but don’t tell him that), and a cell phone charging station that holds 3 cell phones…and usually a bunch of keys.

I have to admit, even I didn’t think about how much “stuff” we had that relied on power until I sat down and listed it all. Going from room to room really made me realize exactly why we might have the electric and gas bills that we have!

It is worthwile to note that in the list above, items marked with a * will not be unplugged at any time during this 30-day project, as the results would not be worth the money that could possibly be saved. Case in point: what good will it do to unplug a freezer that holds $500.00 worth of food? Answer: not much.

The rules for the very first part of this project are very simple: everything not marked with a * on the list above will be unplugged when not in active use by one or more people. That was actually done at 8:30AM today. I am proud to announce that most of the day was spent without having 90% of the electronics on in the house, including clocks.

To make things easier, some electronics located close to each other such as the DVD player and surround sound system have been connected to a power bar with a single plug, but even that will be powered down and unplugged when not in active use. Same scenario for things such as the desktop computers.

Laptops, cell phones, etc. will not be allowed to charge until they are fully depleted of battery, if they are used at all, and then only for the allotted amount of time needed to reach “full battery” as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. They will not run on plugged-in cords at all.

Mr. Kitty’s automatic litter box will also be unplugged, though it will be plugged in once a day to assure that it can run through at least one cycle.

Items that are connected to power bars but are not in active use will remain turned off until needed, then turned off after use.

We’re still figuring out what to do about the air conditioning, though as it’s July the heating system should not need to come into play at all! For the past two days I have been trying the thermostat at a balmy 78 degrees in the house, which has (to me) proved quite comfortable, though not to others. The dirty looks I’m getting might be a clue that this needs to be discussed and remedied, but for now, we’ll see how it goes. I must say, we picked a great time to start an energy project – right in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave!

Well, let’s see how the first night goes – more on this tomorrow! Night all!

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