Tag Archive: DTE

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.

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