On April 16, 2015, there will be significant changes to improve energy factor (EF) rating requirements on water heaters currently installed in residential homes. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will require higher energy factor ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, and oil water heaters, including some light duty commercial water heaters as well.

The NAECA rulings are important to customers because they will help residential homes reduce their energy usage and help save money all year long.  According to the US Dept of Energy website, the new standards will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped over the next 30 years.

New NAECA Water Heater Energy Standards – Are You Ready?

The energy factor (EF) indicates the overall energy efficiency of a water heater based on the amount of hot water it produced per unit of fuel consumption over a typical day. The higher the EF, the more energy efficient the water heater. The EF is measured in three ways:

1. Recovery Efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water.

2. Standby Losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from stored water compared to the heat content of the water

3. Cycling Losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through the water heater tank

As a homeowner, you have a lot to gain from these new requirements.

The biggest gain comes from savings. Both energy and money savings can quickly be realized with these new and more efficient equipment guidelines.

In most cases, the new equipment will differ only slightly in size due to the additional insulation requirements with the new products. Therefore, its usually an in/out process where the new simply replaces the old. However, in some cases, a new location might be required if adequate space isn’t available. It may also be advantageous to choose a different type of water heater in order to meet the new guidelines.

The best place to start is by hiring a professional plumber who is knowledgeable in these new requirements, and can help you make the right choice for your home and your family’s needs. You’re in good hands with Quality 1st Plumbing – let us show you the perfect fit for your needs today.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

When most homeowner guides talk about making your home more energy efficient, conversation always leads toward what you can do in your own home. In order to be more energy efficient, you can buy more efficient appliances for example – a new Energy Star rated appliance can help you save energy and water significantly over the course of a year.

But what about outside the home?

How Water and Energy Are Related

Water and energy are closely related. In fact, having a clean, reliable water source available to us for use throughout our communities consumes a considerable amount of energy. The clean water that flows out of your tap undergoes a variety of stages of processing and transport before it arrives safely in our neighborhoods.

Energy is used in five stages in the water cycle:

  1. Extracting the water supply – water starts at the source – in rivers, streams or aquifers – and then must be pumped into storage facilities for further processing
  2. Water treatment – energy is used as the water goes through various stages of processing and treatment
  3. Water distribution – once the water is properly treated, it must be transported to its final destination – your home, place of work, commercial location, etc
  4. Using water – energy is used to consume water in its final form – it can be combined with softeners, used with filters, circulated with appliances, converted from hot to cold, or used in irrigation systems
  5. Treating wastewater – as water is used, it is returned to the system and pumped back to the treatment plant for processing

Each stage uses a significant amount of energy.

  • In order to bring the water in from source, process it, and get it to its final destination, it must be transported. Pumping groundwater to the surface and over the land is a very energy intensive process. In many major areas, water can be pumped and transported hundreds of miles from the source before it is used.
  • The average home uses around 15 percent of its energy costs to heat water. Nearly 30 percent of all indoor water use is with hot water. Because hot water is used for so many things, it is important to reduce energy where you can.
  • After wastewater leaves your home or commercial location and flows into the sewer, it must be pumped back to the treatment plant for processing. On average, it takes anywhere from 500 to 1500 kilowatt hours per acre foot.

Saving energy is something that can occur at every level, with even the tiniest change adding up significantly over time. If you would like to learn even more about saving energy within your own home, contact us today for a home energy audit.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Ready to make a difference in your home’s efficiency? Want to save more water, save more on your energy bills, and improve the one appliance in your home that will have the greatest impact overall? Look no further than your water heater.

Buying A Hybrid Electric Water Heater

The water heater was invented in the late 1800s, and though a lot of advancements have been made over the years, we still use the basic concepts designed all those years ago. Water heaters come in a variety of sizes and styles. You can find electric or natural gas; tank or tankless; even solar has turned the heads of some savvy homeowners. Or look to one of the newest entries into the water heater market: the hybrid.

The hybrid electric water heater uses heat pump technology with the traditional electric heating system already in place with most electric water heaters.

Hybrid technology is designed to absorb heat in ambient air and transfer that heat into the water supply. Since radiant heat requires much less energy for processing than the heating process used in a traditional electric tank water heater, the energy savings can quickly add up.

How quickly? Studies show that the average homeowner that switches from a conventional electric water heater to a hybrid electric water heater can save on average up to 60 percent in overall electric bill savings per year. Which means you can pay for the water heater in as little as three years.

When you choose a hybrid water heater, you have the choice of different operating modes for maximum efficiency.

Hybrid mode – the default mode, designed to use the heat pump in combination with back up electric elements when needed to provide hot water as needed

Heat pump mode – when ambient conditions allow, only the heat pump is used to pull in heat from the surrounding area to create the hot water supply

High demand mode – for use when higher demand is needed, the back up electric elements will be used to recover the tanks hot water supply faster

Standard mode – uses only the traditional heating elements to heat the water supply

Vacation mode – allows homeowners to save money while away from home, this mode will drop the temperature down to 50 degrees to save heating, and will automatically begin heating the supply a day before you will return

Want even more information on how you can save with a hybrid electric water heater? We’d be happy to evaluate your current water heater, give you more details on a hybrid, and help you make a decision on the best water heater choice for your home. Give us a call today.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

If you live in the Denver Metro area, there are many ways to take advantage of the current rebate programs that help you become more water wise throughout your home. Denver Water offers several different rebates to help both inside and outside, but what if you don’t live in Denver? Not a problem; many of our local community water boards are committed to water conservation.

Don’t Live In Denver? 2015 Water Rebates Are Available In Many Cities

Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

The ACWWA is currently offering a $100 rebate on the purchase of a qualified high efficiency clothes washer, and up to $50 on the purchase of qualified rain sensors. They will also provide you with free leak detection dye tablets to determine if your toilet is leaking.

Castle Pines

Castle Pines is currently offering complimentary water audits, and a rebate program that focuses in on making irrigation more efficient.

Centennial

Centennial offered rebates on both a qualified toilet purchase, and on rain sensors for your sprinkler system in 2014. They are currently evaluating their 2015 program, and will announce more in March, or check in with their point of contact for more information.

East Cherry Creek Valley

The East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District offers a rebate program on both high efficiency toilets and clothes washers. Customers can qualify for up to $100 credit toilet that consumes 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less, and up to $125 credit for a new Tier 2 or 3 clothes washing machine.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock experienced overwhelming response to its 2014 rebate program, and will be announcing its 2015 plan in March 2015. In years past, they offered incentives to replace water thirsty landscaping with more efficient xeriscape plants, as well as smart irrigation controllers and rain sensors.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Want to know what continues to be a resolution year after year in households across Colorado? Water conservation.

Even when we have a good year across the Front Range, as we did this past year, its hard not to be a little concerned when you see photographs coming out of drought strickened areas like California. Yes, there is a finite amount of water here on earth. And just because we’ve had a great year one year, doesn’t mean the same will hold true year after year. We’ve had our share of drought; we can make simple changes that will have an impact.

2015 Is Still A Good Year For Water Rebates

Some of the changes are so simple, you can do them in no time at all. And the best part is in some cases, you can actually receive money back for doing them as well.

In 2015, Denver Water is once again offering water rebates on a variety of things you use in your home every day.

Toilets

If you haven’t upgraded your toilet to a WaterSense labeled toilet, now is the time. Start by looking for a toilet specifically marked with the WaterSense label. A 1.0 gallon per flush or less toilet qualifies for up to a $150 rebate; a 1.28 gallon per flush or less can qualify for up to a $75 rebate. You can find eligible models listed here, or your plumber can make sure you’ve installed the correct toilet and have everything in place to collect your rebate.

Sprinkler System

If you haven’t upgraded your sprinkler system in a while, it may benefit you to do so now. You can upgrade, make your system more efficient, and save money in the process. Denver Water provides up to $2 rebate per sprinkler head, and up to $100 rebate for a WaterSense labeled controller to be installed in your home. There are a variety of eligible models; check the Denver Water site for more information.

Commercial

Water rebates are not just for residential properties; commercial properties can enjoy the benefits as well. If you are a customer of Denver Water, you may qualify for one of the many rebates they currently offer for 2015. Water rebates can be found on many different commercial items, including WaterSense labeled toilets and urinals, coin operated laundry equipment, as well as WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and more. Be sure to check Denver Water’s list to see a full line of what is included this year in the rebate program.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Happy New Year!

The new year is a time for reflection on how well the past year went, and what your goals are for the next year. Even if you aren’t the type that creates a list of personal and professional resolutions, you may still reflect on a few of the highlights as the chimes announce the magical hour of midnight.

Resolution simply means to make a firm decision either to do or not to do something. Its always a good idea to set intentions to spend more time with friends and loved ones, to change career goals so you enjoy your 9 to 5 life a little bit more, or to take better care of your health. And taking care of your health can be accomplished in many ways. Its not always about what you eat or how much you exercise; sometimes it’s the environment you live in as well.5 New Year Plumbing Resolutions Your Home Will Thank You For

This year, start the New Year off right with these simple plumbing resolutions that will be easy to keep … and make a difference almost immediately in your life.

Resolution #1: A Better Bathroom

Whether you’ve been thinking about remodeling a room in your home or not, it may be time to head to the master bath and take a look around. What if it became a sanctuary for helping you releave stress? How about adding a steam bath? Or a new shower system with multiple streams? Or that soaker tub you’ve always wanted? There are many ways to bring the joy of the spa right into your own personal space.

Resolution #2: A Safer Home

Drips can indicate problems. Leaks can quickly escalate into complications. If you’ve been putting off a call to the plumber for a leaky toilet or a drip in the shower that just won’t go away, put it off no longer. Water can quickly cause damage in more ways than one, including mold and mildew.

Resolution #3: A More Efficient Home

There are many ways to make your home more efficient. Low flow toilets can reduce the amount of water used with every flush (did you know you might be eligible for a rebate as well)? Energy saving faucets can give a fresh new look while saving water at the same time. And the most energy using appliance in your home is your water heater; investing in a new one can not only reduce the water you use each day, it can also subtract the amount you spend on your water and electric bills each month too.

Resolution #4: An Upgrade

Do you still throw another log on the fire in order to use the fireplace in your family room? Do you still buy charcoal at the store to grill your steaks? Installing gas to any of your favorite appliances will give you instant access to the things you love the most. Nothing is better than an instant fire at the flick of a switch on a cold winters night; or being able to grill your favorite meal from a built in grill. And if you install a new outdoor kitchen to add even more room to your living area, your new year will be that much more enjoyable as the we move into spring.

Resolution #5: A Greener Way Of Life

One of the top resolutions that makes its way onto lists all across Colorado is to live a greener lifestyle: reducing carbon footprints, quit wasting water, saving wherever possible. The easiest place to start is in your own home, with the amount of water you use every day. Simple things like turning off the water when brushing your teeth can save thousands of gallons of water per year. And of course the greener you become with the way you conserve on your water usage, the “greener” your wallet will become in the process with all the money you save.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Is this the season you make your home a little more energy efficient? If so, where should you put your focus? What’s the one area of your home that has the highest level of energy consumed? If you said you water heater, you are correct.

Your water heater accounts for 15 to 25 percent of the overall energy your home consumes. Which means its also the one appliance that can add up to real savings when you’re ready to make a change.How To Save Money With Your Water Heater

It starts with your water heater … when was the last time you had it replaced? Water heaters today are much more energy efficient than even just a few short years ago. Yet beyond replacing it, there are other things you can do as well.

Lower the thermostat

Water heaters often come out of the factory with a high setting. For normal day to day use, setting it at 120°F will provide enough hot water for use, without heating it higher than the average person will ever use from the tap. Which means anything above 120°F is simply a waste of energy. Lowering your water heater by 10°F can add up to a savings of 3 to 5 percent over time.

Use cold water instead of hot to wash clothes

Instead of washing small loads of clothes, fill it up before starting the machine. And if you wash with cold instead of warm or hot, you can save energy too.

Repair leaks immediately

One of the biggest water wasters is a leak. Even if the drip is barely noticeable, it can quickly add up to a huge energy waster over time. If you see water when a faucet is turned off, or you hear a trickle of water, investigate and fix as soon as possible. It can also save you from more costly repairs down the road.

Insulate

Insulating your hot water pipes and your water heater tank will reduce heat loss and can help keep water temperatures up to 4 degrees higher than without. This also allows you to set your water heater at a lower temperature setting. Be sure to insulate pipes that are impacted by colder temperatures (outside wall plumbing), and cover pipes six feet from the connection to the water heater. Insulate the water heater tank as well, being careful not to cover the heater’s top, bottom , thermostat or burner compartment. When in doubt, call in one or our plumbing technicians for advice.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

The most popular water appliance in your home is the toilet, using on average up to 30 percent of the home’s total water usage every day. When it comes to water conservation and each of us doing our part, the most obvious place to start is with the toilet.

A single leak in a toilet can waste thousands of gallons of water every year. Not only is that costing you money, its wasting a precious resource as well. If conserving water starts with your toilet, where do you begin?

How To Conserve Water In A Toilet Tank

Fix Leaks

The most obvious place to start is to fix leaks as they happen. However, toilets don’t always make noise when they leak. Drips and leaks are most often fixed by tightening fittings where two pipes meet, and where pipes join the tank. Be careful not to over-tighten, which may damage threads and the tank itself.

Flapper

The flapper is a valve that sits on top of the port that leads from the tank to the bowl. When the toilet is flushed, the valve opens and allows a certain amount of water into the bowl. Over time, the flapper wears out and begins to harden, making the seal not as pliable as it once was. The looser the fit, the more leaks and problems may occur. To test and see if you have a leak, insert a few drops of dye into the tank and wait to see if it appears in the bowl. If it does, your flapper is the cause of the leak. Simply replace the flapper to restore the water process back to normal.

Avoid The Toilet Dam

A common myth for water conservation is to fill the tank with bricks so water levels will be kept to a minimum. While it sounds good in theory, it can cause more harm than good. By filling your tank with bricks, it will allow chemicals and sediment to enter your toilet, and risk harming the internal parts of the toilet tank. It also poses the risk of cracking the tank during placement.

Upgrade

Instead, the best way to conserve water is to upgrade your toilet to a newer model. Older toilets use anywhere from 5 to 7 gallons of water with each flush. With newer models, you can reduce water levels down to 1.3 gallons per flush or even less with dual flush toilets. And in some cases, you may even qualify for a water rebate, depending on your county and your water system.

If you have any further questions about water conservation, we’d be happy to answer them, and provide you with the easiest way to save water within your home.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Did the latest cold snap leave you yearning for winter? Ready to pull out your skis and hit the slopes? While winter is one of the best seasons in Colorado, with so much to do and offer right in our own back yard, it can still catch you off guard if your home isn’t prepared.

The last thing we’re ever ready for is waking up, turning on the shower, and only having a cold stream facing us as we get ready for our day ahead.

Getting Your Water Heater Ready For Winter

In order for your water heater to work properly year after year throughout its useful life, its important for you to maintain it along the way. There are three things that should be done in order to ensure your water heater keeps working as efficiently as possible throughout the year.

Insulate it

Where is your water heater? What condition does it live in month after month, year after year?

Poor insulation around your water heater not only robs you of money during the winter, it also robs your water heater from working as efficiently as possible. And therefore shortening its useful life. Insulating your water heater means that the heating elements do not have to work harder than normal or be used on a constant basis trying to keep your water warm. This can translate into lower operating costs year round. It can also translate to the parts in your water heater – your heating elements – lasting longer because they aren’t used on a continual basis.

Tune it up

Everything in life with moveable parts needs an occasional tune up to make sure it stays in good working condition. Your water heater is no exception. A tune up makes sure your water heater is ready for the upcoming season; to prepare it to give you the hot water you demand in any condition.

Many people use hot water more frequently in winter as a way of warming up from the bitter cold outside. Nothing feels as good as a steaming hot shower to help bring you back to warmth after playing outside in the cold. This is where your tune up can help. It may be something as simple as cleaning the unit, or it may mean replacing a part or two. In any case, a professional plumber can quickly assess the working condition of your water heater and make the necessary changes to ensure your water heater is in the best working condition possible for the months ahead.

Temperature

Depending on where your water heater is stored, the air temperature around your water heater can be 10, even 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. This may lead to colder water being delivered to the fixtures throughout your home. A simple way of increasing its efficiency is by moving the thermostat temperature up in the winter to ensure you have an adequate supply of hot water.

Have other questions about your water heater, water efficiency, or ensuring you have hot water throughout your home? Schedule a water heater tune up visit today.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Happy Birthday to you.

Have you ever learned the birthday song as a way to get your hands clean? That’s one of the tricks that is now being taught to children all over, giving them the skills they need to have clean hands and wash away harmful bacteria. Lather up and scrub your hands while you sing happy birthday, and you will have done your part to prevent the spread of germs.

That keeps you scrubbing, but what temperature water should you be scrubbing in?

Should You Use Hot Water For Handwashing?

Common sense says hot water. But as humans, we can’t take water at a hot enough temperature to truly do any good. You see, major medical equipment is cleaned at a boiling temperature in order for sterilization. But if you washed your hands in water hot enough for sterilization, well, you probably wouldn’t be able to feel your hands. They would be red and blistered and would make you take an emergency trip to the ER.

So the next best thing to hot water is warm water, right? Think again.

Warm water actually makes you more vulnerable to germs and bacteria. It softens your hands and allows the germs to settle in rather than wash away.

Cold water is the solution. Cold water allows you both to save energy from not having to heat the water, and it allows the soap and the scrubbing to do their jobs more effectively.

With every handwashing you do, by letting the water run for seconds, even minutes to heat up, you are sending valuable resources down the drain. And it makes you more vulnerable to germs and bacteria. Small actions make big differences. So why not change your handwashing routine today.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

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