Greg Guenthner Managing editor, The Rude Awakening
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I'm going to show how you can easily make a 5,100% profit on $3.80. Heck, you probably have that much in your pocket or change purse.
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How to Save 5,100% on Your Utility Bill by Using a Low-Flow Showerhead
David Fessler, Energy and Infrastructure Strategist, The Oxford Club
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- Rachel Gearhart, Managing Editor I write a lot about energy... how it's produced, generated and stored.
In this article, I'm going to show how you can easily make a 5,000%-plus profit on an investment of just $3.80. Heck, you probably have that much in your pocket or change purse.
The best part is you'll save a bundle of energy in the process. Your investment will turn into real dollars you can spend or invest in something else.
So here we go. Your first step is to head to your local hardware or big-box building supply store and buy a low-flow showerhead with a shut-off valve. Or maybe you've become Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) lazy like me. In that case, a few clicks will have one or more on their way to you.
Cost: about $3.80.
You'll need to dig out a couple of items to install it. Open your toolbox and take out a medium-sized adjustable wrench and a small roll of Teflon plumbing thread tape.
Even if you have to buy the wrench and tape, it'll be worth it. Use the wrench to take off your old showerhead.
Wrap the threads on the pipe sticking out of the wall with two or three layers of Teflon pipe tape. Make sure you wrap it in a clockwise direction.
Start screwing on the new showerhead by hand until it's hand-tight. Snug up the head a little further with the adjustable wrench.
That's it. Your work is done.
Calculating Your Return on Investment
First, I'm going to make a couple of assumptions. The first is you're buying this because you don't already have one.
A conventional showerhead uses 3 to 4 gallons of water per minute. Most low-flow showerheads use 2 gallons per minute or less.
I have one in my home. It uses about 1.5 gallons per minute.
Here's an easy way to calculate how much your showerhead uses.
You'll need a 1-gallon plastic milk jug. If the top isn't wide enough already, take a knife or scissors and widen it to fit over your showerhead.
Turn on the water, and time how many seconds it takes to fill the container. Now take 60 and divide it by the number of seconds your container took to fill.
The answer is the number of gallons per minute (gpm) of water used by your showerhead. I'm going to use 3.5 gpm as a conventional showerhead average.
The difference between a 3.5-gpm head and a 1.5-gpm one may not sound that significant. But let's do a little math.
Let's assume the average person in your home spends 10 minutes in the shower every day. My sons spend twice that. But my wife and I rarely spend more than five minutes each, so we average 10 minutes each.
Let's look at the conventional showerhead first:
3.5 gpm x 10 minutes per day x 365 days per year = 12,775 gallons per year.
Now let's calculate the amount of water used for the low-flow head:
1.5 gpm x 10 minutes per day x 365 days per year = 5,475 gallons per year.
Quite a difference, isn't it? It turns out the low-flow head will save about 57% of the water normally used for showers.
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In fact, there's already a list of 25 countries agreeing to take "revenge" on the U.S. You might not believe it, but supposed allies Canada, Britain and Qatar are on that list!
Now, if you think our "friends" turning their backs on us is bad news... just wait until you see what our enemies have planned.
Discover how you could protect yourself (and your portfolio) from the crossfire by clicking here.
How Much Money Is That?
Good question. Let's figure that out, since we'll need it to calculate our ROI.
From what I remember of my thermodynamics class, heating water takes 8.3 British thermal units (Btus) per gallon per degree Fahrenheit.
Whether you have city water or a well, most water enters the home at 55 F. And most folks feel comfortable showering in water that's 105 F.
So we have to heat every gallon of water a total of 50 F. Let's see how many Btus per year it takes to heat the water used by both showerheads.
50-degree Fahrenheit temperature difference x 8.3 Btus per gallon per degree Fahrenheit x 12,775 gallons per year = 5.302 million Btus per year.
50-degree Fahrenheit temperature difference x 8.3 Btus per gallon per degree Fahrenheit x 5,475 gallons per year = 2.272 million Btus per year.
Now we need to convert Btus into the units we use to purchase natural gas or electricity. For natural gas, we need to convert Btus to Ccf (100 cubic feet).
For electric hot water heater users, we need to convert Btus to kilowatt-hours (kWh).
For the conventional showerhead:
5.302 million Btus x 0.00001 Ccf per Btu = 53 Ccf
5.302 million Btus x 0.000293071 kWh per Btu = 1,554 kWh.
For the low-flow showerhead:
2.272 million Btus x 0.00001 Ccf per Btu = 23 Ccf
2.272 million Btus x 0.000293071 kWh per Btu = 666 kWh.
We're Getting Warmer...
We've almost figured out our ROI. To complete our calculations, we need also factor in the efficiency of the water heater. But let's say, when all is said and done, the low-flow showerhead saves 45 Ccf or 987 kWh per year.
I used a price of $0.529 per Ccf for natural gas. That results in low-flow showerhead savings of $23.81 per year per person.
For electric, I used a price of $0.05 per kWh. And electric hot water heater owners are the big winners. Their savings will be $49.35 per person per year.
Let's assume a family of four installs a low-flow head. They'll save $95.24 if they have a natural gas hot water heater or $197.40 if they have an electric hot water heater each year.
And the return on investment is staggering... 2,406% per year for natural gas water heater owners. For users of electric water heaters, it's 5,095% per year.
Energy investors who want to keep their money should be wary of nuclear energy. Why? Truth is, nuclear power is just one big money pit. Read On...
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It's Halloween, so what better time to reflect on your greatest fears? Plenty of things fill Americans with an impending sense of doom: robots, global warming, identity theft, alien encounters, corruption, clowns.
Shall we continue? The findings from this year's Survey of American Fears (impeccably timed, both for Oct. 31 and Nov. 8) are not for the faint-hearted. Dracula and Frankenstein have nothing on economic collapse and biological warfare. [*Insert blood-curdling scream here*] —Megan Hess
Elon Musk unveiled his first solar product on Friday: a range of four solar roofing materials that look just like ordinary shingles, but allow light to pass through from above onto a standard flat solar cell. Several details, including pricing, are still a bit squishy, so we broke down what you need to know—and what this means for Tesla's future.
Here are today's top stories...
What Americans fear most: corruption, reptiles, and death. (Not necessarily in that order.) According to the third annual Survey of American Fears from Chapman University, more respondents fear atheists than people in general, over 60 percent expect another 9/11-size attack on U.S. soil in the near future, and 10.2 percent live in fear of zombies. Take a look and see where your own fears fit into America's biggest frights.
Aftermath of the FBI e-mail bombshell. Hillary Clinton's allies dramatically escalated attacks on FBI Director James Comey, questioning whether he may have broken the law in disclosing investigative details 11 days before the election and whether he's treating Donald Trump's campaign differently. Yet early data suggest Democrats in key states are unmoved by the news.
What to watch as the election results come in. Given all of the October surprises, including last week's cameo by the FBI, investors may be ill-prepared for any other unforeseen events on Nov. 8. We took a look at potential winners and losers, depending on who wins and loses. (PSA: The initial reactions of investors after a U.S. election often don't last.)
A $32 billion oil behemoth was created over the weekend. General Electric is combining its petroleum-related operations with Baker Hughes, betting on a rebound for the slumping oil industry. The new publicly traded company will be one of the industry's largest players. The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year. But first, antitrust regulators must have their say.
Ubering while black. Drivers for Uber in Boston canceled rides for men with black-sounding names more than twice as often as for other men. That's just one of the findings from a study published Monday by researchers at MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Washington. The researchers suggest anonymity as a possible solution; requiring names and photos lets drivers discriminate against prospective riders.
Vendors are trekking across the country to attend rallies, hawking T-shirts, pins, and hats to supporters. "At one Trump rally, I make probably $3,000, $4,000," says 41-year-old Nakai Ogletree, a merch dealer who has been to more than 200 political rallies. "The best part is that I've been so busy I haven't even had time to spend it."