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Gutted: Updating Plumbing And Electrical Systems

Leaky taps, unwrapped hot water tanks, relying heavily on extension cords and power strips due to lack of power points … sound familiar? While updating your insulation for energy efficiency why not extend that to updating your plumbing and wiring?

Here are some ways to reduce water consumption, fix leaky taps, and more energy efficient ways to heat your water.

Methven and Robertson have designed tapware with water efficiency in mind. The features you will find in most of their products are ceramic discs or ceramic cartridges which eliminate leaky taps by replacing conventional washers. Methven have temperature adjustable cartridges which are an excellent safety feature that protects your family from scalding. Temperature and flow adjustable cartridges allow a maximum water flow in single lever taps which helps to regulate water usage and reduce water wastage.

Robertson have a unique “click” cartridge technology, which allows you to adjust water flow at the tap to eliminate excessive water usage.

Installing a Satinjet shower fitted with either a 14 litre per minute or 9 litre per minute flow restrictor can save up to 50% of your hotwater energy costs and up to 55% on the cost of water used in your shower. Most fittings on showers are universal so it’s easy to upgrade your shower to a Satinjet, without the necessity for a rebuild or renovation.

You are potentially flushing money down the toilet if you still have a single flush system. Installing a dual flush toilet will save you up to 8 litres per flush. If you aren’t ready to change your toilet, other cost saving hints include putting a brick or a plastic zip lock bag full of water in your cistern. This will reduce the amount of water in the cistern, thus reducing the amount per flush.

Hot water heating has gone solar with systems by Rinnai which can be boosted by either gas or electricity. It is a great way to cut down the largest chunk of your energy bill – hot water heating. The sun heats the water, which is then stored in the tank with a temperature and timer controlled element. However if you find the water is too cold, the timer can be overridden.

Heat pump water heaters are becoming more popular as an energy-efficient and convenient way to heat water.  Using 1/3 the energy of a conventional electric water heater, the hot water heat pumps extract heat energy from the air outside the house and transfer it to a refrigerant liquid, which is then pumped via closed circuit through the hot water cylinder, heating the water. (The refrigerant never comes in contact with the water supply.)

If replacing your hot water system isn’t really an option, wrap your hot water cylinder with specialised insulation from Pink Batts. By wrapping your hot water cylinder you are preventing unnecessary energy and heat loss. This is an easy, inexpensive way to save on your energy bill.

If your home has unwrapped galvanised steel or copper plumbing, chances are you are losing heat through the pipesAquatherm’s range of fusiotherm piping systems are made of polypropylene and have excellent heat and sound insulating qualities. The pipes are 100% corrosion resistant, do not leach anything into your water supply and are also recyclable!

Another way to save on water is with a Marley Rain Harvesting KitRain harvesting collects water from the roof, puts it through a filtration system and into a holding tank.  There are different kit options available, depending on your requirements. The options will enable you to utilise the water for everything like watering your garden right through to potable water which can be used for showering and even drinking. It is ultimately an option that can help you on your way to being self-sustainable.

Does your home have too few switches, power points or lights? While you are upgrading your wall insulation, it’s a perfect time to upgrade your wiring too!

Many older homes don’t have adequate wiring to service today’s electrical load. We often have energy efficient appliances, but overwork our home’s wiring system in our desire to reduce our own workloads. Energy efficient appliances should always be serviced by up-to-date wiring systems.

Talk to your electrician about whether your home requires rewiring in order to have more switches and power points installed. This will be cheaper while the walls are open as opposed to while the walls are still up.

While on the subject of energy efficient wiring, saving on our electricity bills is also very important. We all know using energy efficient lightbulbs is helping to reduce our power bills, but what other measures can we take to reduce our carbon footprint?

Timers are a great way to reduce your electricity bill. HPM have a wide range of options to suit your individual needs.  These can be fitted to anything from your heater, electric blankets, heated towel rails and washing machines, to the smaller appliances such as coffee machines and lamps.

More great cost-cutting devices from HPM are light sensors. These are great for reducing power usage when an area of your home isn’t occupied. They are also a great option if you live with someone notorious for leaving lights on! The detection range and time delay is adjustable to suit your needs.

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