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- Smart Water: Faucets, Heaters, and Systems
Smart Water: Faucets, Heaters, and Systems
Tankless Hot Water
Whole-home tankless water heaters like Rinnai’s line of interior and exterior products save on water heating costs and can pay back on the upfront costs in a handful of years, but they can still be quite an investment. The tankless system is an alternative to the traditional hot water tanks that require constant heating — and thus, constant energy use.
Heating water can account for up to 20 percent of a home’s energy costs. In a conventional gas or electric storage tank water heater system, the water is heated to a set temperature. This temperature is maintained through periodic operation of the system, whether or not water is being used. Excessive heat loss through the walls of the tank or the system’s flue results in more frequent operation and higher costs.
Tankless systems, also called instantaneous or demand hot water systems, heat only the water that is being drawn through the system. The tankless units will vary in size and application from larger, whole-house designs to smaller, under-the-counter products used for individual bathrooms, dishwashers, or clothes washers. Systems will be rated by gallons-per-minute (gpm) of heated water, with costs as little as $200 for 1-gallon-per-minute units to over $1,000 for units that can heat as much as 5 gallons per minute.
Drip Irrigation Systems
The hot, dry spring and summer months have home’s lawns thirsting for water. Many regions of the country face serious water conservation issues, however, which force homeowners to make tough decisions about landscaping.
One water-saving alternative is the drip irrigation system, which installs above or inches below the ground and supplies a steady, low-volume supply of water to the roots of grass, plants, and flowers. Drip irrigation systems eliminate water waste due to overwatering, surface evaporation, and wind drift water loss associated with watering by hand or sprinkler systems. Starter drip irrigation kits can be purchased for as little as $50 and often come with the tubing, pressure regulators, and parts necessary to assemble and install a complete system. A system that can cover a entire home garden costs $200 to $600 on average.
More advanced systems can include digital timers to regulate the schedule and duration of cycles or a shut-off device that can automatically detect rain and moisture. Online retailers like DripWorks and The Drip Store offer whole kits, parts, and guides on buying and installing a drip irrigation system.
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