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More Information on Home Energy Audits

March 20, 1988|Dale Baldwin

My column of Feb. 21 on home insulation brought some inquiries about energy audits. A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman said the utility has six people doing audits on request. Their hot line is 213/481-5800.

The Southern California Gas Co., while it does not do audits, does supply information to customers on request regarding insulation and energy audits.

A number of readers have called and written inquiring about Sanyo's two-section air conditioners (my Feb. 7 column). They had difficulty locating Sanyo dealers in their phone directories. Sanyo representative Dale Gould can provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of dealers in your area. Call him at 818/785-1134.

Those of you who read my report on the Therma-Stor heat pump water heater in this column on May 6, 1984, will be interested in an update. As you may recall, I was enthused over the energy cost-saving and dependability of the product and purchased one for myself.

Since then, the heater I purchased has performed up to expectations, with only one minor repair required. But there is a fly in the ointment.

As recommended in the manual, I had the anodes inspected this year (it should be done every three years). The purpose of the anodes is to extend the life of the heater by attracting the corrosion that would otherwise attack the glass lining and eventally the barrel of the heater.

The technician found that both anodes were corroded and needed to be replaced. This, he said, could be done for about $280, although I would have to find a plumber to do the job.

Plumbers say the anodes are difficult to remove and they rarely replace them on ordinary water heaters. They usually just replace the heaters when they wear out.

I have been unable to find a plumber who could or would do the job, but have decided it's too costly in any case. Therma-Stor says their heater has a life expectancy of 10 1/2 years without replacing the anodes. We shall see.

Based on the original cost of $1,487, including tax and installation, the yearly cost would amount to about $142 a year if the heater lasts the expected 10 1/2 years. The 50% to 70% savings in energy the heat pump provides over an ordinary water heater is, of course, an important factor.

The $266 cash rebate from the Edison Co. at the time of installation and the $366 tax credit have helped to ease the financial burden.

Today's handy tip: Always replace garage door springs in pairs to maintain proper tension.

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