KIDS ASK the Best Questions

KIDS ASK the Best Questions

Learning How to Save Money and Stay Comfortable

We love kids! They have a lot of wisdom and they’re not shy about asking questions. Follow along as Ava and Jarrett quiz us about what we do. What they learn could make a difference in your own comfort—and save you money too!

How does that little thing make all our hot water?

This is what we call a tankless water heater. We also call it an on-demand water heater because it only heats water when it’s needed. So the next time you take a shower and turn on the hot water faucet, cold water will go through a pipe into this heater. There is something inside called a flow sensor that will turn on a propane gas burner to heat the water as it goes through. When you turn off the faucet, the gas burner shuts off.

Why is this one better than the other tank we had?

The old tank we just took out used a lot of energy to heat the water. That can be expensive because it needed to keep 80 gallons of water hot at all times. You don’t need to do that with a tankless water heater. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years, which means they last twice as long as a storage tank.* And look at all the extra space you now have! The tank we took out was five feet tall and two feet wide. You can see that this tankless unit can fit right on the wall because it’s a lot smaller than that.

Will this save us money?

Yes! We have found that tankless water heaters save the average home about $90 every year on hot water costs.** If you’re good at math, you’ll find that after 20 years that’s going to add up to a lot of money.

*U.S. Department of Energy **U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

We’re trying to save for college. What else can we do to save money?

Replace old appliances.
Because we’re putting in a new water heating system, your family is going to save money on heating your water. They will also save money on repairs, because old machines break a lot. New appliances, if they’re taken care of properly, will have very few problems.

Take care of your appliances.
Proper maintenance is essential to keeping appliances running efficiently and saving money. Your parents can talk to us about a service plan or maintenance program. We can also do a GAS Check to ensure that they are operating safely.

Change the temperature in your home.
You can probably help your parents with this. There are programmable thermostats that let you set the temperature you want at different times of the day and night. You don’t need to keep your home as warm when you’re sleeping or away from home, so this saves you money. There are also “smart” programmable thermostats that let you change the temperature with your smartphone or computer at any time, no matter where you are. If you use a programmable thermostat right, you may be able to help your parents save about $100 a year.

Do some window dressing.
Here’s another one you can help out with. In the morning, open the window blinds and let sunlight heat up your home naturally during the day. At night, close drapes to hold in the heat and keep out the cold. You can also stop cold air from getting inside by taping clear plastic film to the inside of the window frames.

I have always wondered about something, Can you tell me where propane comes from?

Almost all of the propane that we use is made in America, and most of it comes from the production of natural gas. When we take natural gas out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.

So how is propane gas different from natural gas?

Natural gas can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. If something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas. Propane gas is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed, until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside tanks and we can deliver it right to your home. It’s similar to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to about two or three times normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of propane gas.

What happens when I turn on our gas stove?

The propane gets released slowly and safely from the tank and goes through a valve, which is when the liquid propane turns back into a gas. At that point, it’s similar to natural gas again, and it can create heat for cooking and heating. It can even be used to fuel cars and other engines instead of gasoline.

KIDS ASK the Best Questions

Are we being green?

You certainly are! Propane is a clean-burning fuel to begin with, and many new propane appliances used in a home are Energy Star rated. A blue Energy Star label means a product will use less energy and cause less pollution.

In just one year, Energy Star products helped Americans avoid the same amount of pollution as comes from 23 million cars! And together, these people saved $12 billion on their energy bills in one year.

Sometimes, even one little thing you do can make a big difference. If every home in America replaced just one traditional lightbulb with a compact fluorescent lamp, we could save another $600 million—and create less pollution because we would use less electricity.