Is It Time for a New Water Heater?

Is It Time for a New Water Heater?
Water heaters are energy-intensive appliances. In fact, they are the second largest energy user in the home, and as they age, they become less efficient, according to the Propane Education & Research Council.

If you don’t know the age of your current water heater, or think it may be reaching the end of its lifespan, it may be time to replace it, says home improvement expert Danny Lipford, host of “Today’s Homeowner.” Lipford advises keeping these three factors in mind when evaluating your water heater:

1. Cost
– According to U.S. Department of Energy estimates, the average family spends $400 to $600 each year on water heating costs, and as an older unit ages, its efficiency continues to erode. Rising water heating costs year after year could be a sign that it’s time to replace your unit. By switching to a new energy-efficient water heater or a new energy source, you could save hundreds of dollars each year.

Depending on where you live and how often you use your water heater, a tankless water heater could drastically lower your annual water heating costs compared with electric storage tank models, which are working to heat water even when it’s not needed. In comparison tests with electric units, propane-powered tankless water heaters saved more than $300 annually.

2. Lifespan – Most water heaters should be replaced every 10 to 12 years. To make the right choice for replacement, you should factor in the annual cost of ownership, which is the cost of original equipment, installation and expected annual energy costs divided over the unit’s lifetime.

Both high-efficiency propane storage tank heaters and tankless models deliver lower annual ownership costs than electric or heating oil. At the same time, tankless water heaters also have a much longer lifespan than storage models — they can last 5 to 10 years longer than storage water heaters.

3. Carbon Footprint – Upgrading to a newer, more efficient model means reducing your carbon footprint. Compared with standard efficiency electric storage tank models, propane produces two times fewer emissions. The difference amounts to about 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of driving a car more than 18,000 miles.

Source: Propane Education & Research Council

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.


Homeowner’s Insurance Costs Twice as Much with Poor Credit

Homeowner’s Insurance Costs Twice as Much with Poor Credit
Homeowners with poor credit pay exactly twice as much for homeowner’s insurance as people with excellent credit, and homeowners with median credit pay 32 percent more than those with excellent credit, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com study.

People with poor credit pay at least twice as much as people with excellent credit in 38 states and Washington, D.C. West Virginia’s 202 percent increase is the highest in the nation, followed by D.C. (185 percent), Ohio (185 percent) and Montana (179 percent).

Three states prohibit insurers from using credit to calculate homeowner’s insurance premiums: California, Massachusetts and Maryland. Insurance companies are technically allowed to consider homeowners’ credit scores in Florida, but insuranceQuotes.com found that credit does not typically affect premiums there.

“In most states, insurers are putting more emphasis on credit scores this year,” says Laura Adams, insuranceQuotes.com’s senior analyst. “The impact of a poor credit score is higher now than it was last year in 29 states and Washington, D.C., while it is lower in just 17 states. It’s more important than ever for people to maintain a solid credit rating by paying their bills on time, keeping their balances low and correcting errors on their credit reports.”

The greatest differences between excellent and median credit were observed in Montana (66 percent), Washington, D.C. (61 percent) and Texas (55 percent).

More information, including the results from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., is available here.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.


August Shows Rise in Mortgage Credit Availability

August Shows Rise in Mortgage Credit Availability
Recent news shows that mortgage credit availability increased in August, moving 0.5 percent to 126.1, which suggests a national loosening of credit.

This news comes from the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a study from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) which reports that the index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. Of the four component indices, the Jumbo MCAI saw the greatest loosening (up 0.7 percent over the month) followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 0.5 percent), the Government MCAI (up 0.4 percent), and the Conforming MCAI (up 0.3 percent).

“Mortgage credit availability increased in August and has increased in eight of the last nine months,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “While much of the loosening has been for jumbo loan products, the availability of conforming conventional mortgage credit has also somewhat increased, including for mortgages with higher loan-to-value ratios and borrowers with lower credit scores.  Fannie Mae recently announced changes to their affordability suite of products, but these changes have not yet impacted the MCAI.”



For more information, visit www.mba.org.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.