It’s Easy To Start Saving Now
Control your energy bills with easy, inexpensive steps
Doug Rye
King of Caulk
and Talk

As I mentioned in last month’s column, there are ways to make energy efficiency improvements, one step at a time, without spending a lot of money. This month I want to discuss some more simple steps you can take to help lower your energy usage in your house or commercial building. Some of the things that I’ll discuss with you will save a few dollars a month. Some will save you lots of dollars per month.

If you are really serious about lowering your energy usage simply make each improvement before the next month’s column. If you will do that, it will spread the costs of the improvements over several months. When we finish, you should notice a considerable reduction in your utility bills. No two houses are exactly like, so your results may vary some from your neighbor’s. And remember, if you don’t take action, you will see no improvement.

After thinking long and hard about what to suggest first, I chose an item that costs less than $20 that will apply to every family that has a water heater (which should be you). Most water heaters have standby loss. In other words, they actually lose heat even when the water heater is not being used. Example: The gas or electric element in your water heater might actually come on several times during the day or night if it is located in a cold environment, such as a garage or carport storage room. If it is located inside the conditioned area of the house, it can add heat to your living space during the summer, which may increase your cooling cost.

So here’s what you can do. Before next month’s column, I want you to purchase a water heater insulation wrap from your local home improvement store. In most cases, it can be installed in about 10 minutes. Just follow the instructions in the package.

This improvement might save you $1 a month or it might save you $20 a month, depending on your particular house and the number of occupants. For another $2, you can also buy pipe insulation to install on the hot water lines coming from the top the water heater.

If you have a water heater that is 10 years old or older it would be wise for you to purchase a Marathon water heater, which is so well insulated that it needs no blanket.

Low-flow faucets and showerheads can also lower your hot water heating costs, especially if your home contains a few teenagers. Why is it younger children hate baths and you can’t seem to get teenagers to get out of the shower until all the hot water is gone?

Adding an insulation wrap to your hot water heater is easy. You can do this even if you are all thumbs. Solving the teenager issue is definitely more challenging. But what do you want from me? I can’t solve all your problems, just the energy problems.

Next month we’ll have a really bright idea for you that is probably the easiest energy efficiency change you can make. Stay tuned for more. Speaking of staying tuned, check out my radio program. For more information contact your local electric co-op.


Stay tuned for more from Doug Rye
The “Doctor of Energy Efficiency—the King of Caulk and Talk”

In the mean time you can go to his Web site:
E-mail him at
or call (888)-Doug-Rye or (501) 653-7931

You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.

You can now listen to my radio show live on the Internet at 9:05 a.m. on Saturdays. Just go to