My electric bill just arrived, and it's up 35% over last year! What can I do to help my house become more energy efficient in the winter?


Depending on how cold the temperatures go, your electric and gas bills can skyrocket!   If a long cold snap settles in for a two week stay, your monthly bill could jump even higher than 35%.  There are a few things you can do to help.

boss 333 foamFirst, seal up all the possible openings you may have throughout your home with Boss 333 Foam Expanding Sealant.  Cold air coming in makes your heating system work harder, increasing your bills and lowering your ambient temperature.  

Second, change your air filters.  If your system is running more frequently in the winter, the filters become clogged and reduce the airflow and efficiency of the system. 

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Changing your filters will provide you with more airflow, cleaner air, and lower energy bills.

Lastly, consider buying a new thermostat.  Getting a programmable, or even better, a WiFi-enabled smart thermostat, will automatically lower the heat when you're asleep or away from your home.  This can save you a tremendous amount on your energy bills.  Even changing your older thermostat to a new digital non-programmable thermostat by Pro1 can help you keep the energy bills lower.


Do not forget to keep all doors and windows shut and sealed when not in use.  You would be surprised how much money can be lost by leaving the door open while talking to a friend, or opening the window for some fresh air and forgetting that it's open when you leave the room. 

Follow these tips and you will see your energy bill drop again soon.



What is the deal with LED? Is this just a passing craze?  I don't know what to do!

You are not alone in your confusion about LED.  As more people learn about this amazing technology, it leads to false information and a fear of what is a major change.  Most people can remember having a CRT or "Tube" television in their house. As a matter of fact, I still have one right now. When that TV is finished, it will be impossible to get a new CRT television.  LCD has completely replaced the CRT.  The same will soon be true with incandescent bulbs.

LED stands for "Light Emitting Diodes."  The technology has been around since the 1970s, but it has only been in the last few years that it has become affordable for every application.  When replacing your old incandescent bulb, there are three main ITEM ID:  BUL 455824considerations:

    1) Bring the old bulb with you to the store.  It's the most accurate way to make sure the new LED bulb will fit where your older bulb fit.

    2) Focus On the LUMENS.  This will tell you how bright the bulb will be.  The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb.

    3) Check the LIGHT COLOR.  Warmer color light is around 2700K, which is what the older incandescent bulbs were rated.  White light is around 4000K, and piercing blue light is between 5000-6000K

ITEM ID:  MOR 71425A     LED bulbs are now available to replace Incandescent, Fluorescent, Mercury Vapor, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium.   They are available in a variety of bases,   and some even have a ballast on the bulb itself which will further increase the efficiency of the existing feature by bypassing the older ballasts already mounted.



It is an exciting time to be replacing bulbs, and the energy savings are outstanding.  The best advice I can give you is to go by your local BR Supply and talk with them about your particular LED bulb needs.




Older water heaters, electric and gas, are notorious for allowing hot water to seep back into the cold water lines that feed them.  Water is amazing in its versatility, and even more amazing as it changes physical states.  As water freezes, it expands in volume.  Try filling a bottle to its maximum capacity and then sticking that bottle in a freezer.  As the water becomes ice, it expands and damages the bottle it is confined in. The same thing is true for water when it is heated.  A 40 gallon water heater that holds 40 gallons of cold water can not hold the same 40 gallons when heated to 120 degrees.  So where does the extra water go?   How do you prevent damage to your water heater?   In the past, the water released back into the cold water line, pushing backward towards the source.  This greatly decreased the efficiency of the water heater, and caused damage to other appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

A dripping Temperature and Pressure Relief (T&P) Valve on the water heater is an indicator of a potential thermal expansion problem. This is the valve with the small handle or lever that automatically opens when either the temperature or pressure inside the heater tank exceed a set limit (usually 150psi/210°F). These are emergency valves, and are not meant to operate regularly. When one of them leaks, the first step is usually to replace the valve. 



 The solution to this thermal expansion problem is to install a Thermal Expansion Tank above the supply water inlet on your water heater (JON R15202).  These tanks feature a rubber bladder that separates an air chamber from the rest of the tank.  Air is pumped into the tank to match the pressure of the water supply.  When water expands while being heated in the water heater, it enters the expansion tank, compressing the air.  Once expansion has stopped and there is room in the heater, the compressed air pushes the water back into the heater.  


It is required by codes throughout our country to have one of these tanks installed with each new water heater installation.  All manufacturers, including American Water Heater, recommend that you install an expansion tank with all new heaters.  A Thermal Expansion tank is an economical and practical way to protect your new water heater from damage.  It will increase the efficiency of your heater, and keep it running safely for many years.


Thermal Expansion Tank Installation Diagram


I change the batteries in my smoke detector every 6 months.  My question is, is there ever a reason to replace a working smoke detector?  The four I have are 22 years old and still beep when I test them semi-annually.


The National Fire Protection Association recommends that ALL smoke detectors be replaced at least every ten years, even if they still seem to be working.  Over time, dust gathers on the sensors, making the smoke alarm less capable.  In the event of a fire, every second counts and the sensors in smoke alarms need to be crisp.  Even though the smoke alarms beep during testing, the sensor does deteriorate over time and the smoke detector should be replaced.  


When replacing your smoke alarm, you should consider advancing the protection of your home.  A hardwired smoke detector can be linked together so that if one smoke detector goes off, every detector in your home will sound. If a fire starts in the basement at the electrical panel while you are sleeping, the smoke alarm in your bedroom will rouse you awake and allow you time to escape safely.   




We offer the very popular First Alert 9120B that can connect with up to twelve other smoke alarms when wired together. 


IITEM ID:  FIR SA520Bf you don’t desire the expense and hassle of running wire to all the smoke alarms, we also sell a wireless system.  The base unit (First Alert SA520B) is hard wired, while up to 12 (First Alert SA511B) wireless units just require a battery to connect to the base and provide whole house protection.  







These smoke alarms feature a "Spread Spectrum Horn Tone" which produces a lower and varying frequency making it easier for the elderly with normal aged related hearing loss to hear the horn.  They also have a voice alarm with programmable locations.




We also offer the battery powered First Alert FG250B, which is the professional standard for smoke alarms.   It can not be interconnected, but also does not require any hardwiring.  It has advanced sensor technology and a hinged cover design that offers fast and easy installation and battery replacement.










My 14-year-old water heater seems to be working fine, but should I think about replacing it soon?

The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program recommends replacing water heaters that are more than 10 years old; however, age isn't the only factor to consider.  At 14 years old, your water heater is most likely out of warranty.  If it's several years past coverage, it might be a good time to look for a replacement. Also, due to 2015 federal standards, today's water heaters are more energy efficient.  Compared with your old one, a new water heater can cut your utility bill significantly - especially if it is Energy Star certified. Heating water is the second-largest expense in our homes, according to the Department of Energy, accounting for 14% to 18% of our utility bills.

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If you decide to buy, a new water heater for your home can cost anywhere from $300 - $3000 depending on the size and type.  Installation fees can add hundreds of dollars more.  

Deciding if you should repair or replace your water heater is an important decision.

Most people do not think about their water heater until there is a problem, then you have to make a quick decision, 'Do I repair my existing water heater? or do I purchase a new one?' Here are a few things to consider to help you make a more informed decision.

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  • Is the heater still under warranty? If so, then repairing the unit may be the best solution.
  • The older the heater is, the more likely it is to break down leaving you without hot water. Newer models can provide energy saving, so if the unit is older than 10 years, you may be able to reduce your monthly operating costs by replacing the older water heater with a new, more energy efficient model.


  • If the unit is leaking, then it may be time to replace the water heater before any further damage is done to the surrounding area.
  • Leaking tanks may result from years of rust and corrosion caused by contaminants in the incoming water. Once the storage tank has been breached, then your only choice may be to replace the water heater.


  • Times change and your hot water needs change too. A smaller unit may have served you well before, but due to increased demands, growing family, home & bath remodeling, your needs may surpass the units capacity. In this case, you may need to change your habits or purchase a larger capacity unit.

We proudly sell high-quality American Water Heaters made right here in Tennessee. 

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How to Choose the Right American Water Heater to meet your needs

Ensure that you select the right water heater for your needs by answering a few simple questions. The answers to the questions below will help you make the right purchasing decision:

  • What is the gallon capacity of the old water heater?
  • What wattage (KW) and voltage is the old electric water heater?
  • What type of fuel (natural gas or propane gas) is the old gas water heater?
  • What exhaust vent diameter is used on the old gas water heater?
  • What are the dimensions of the old water heater (Diameter ____ Height ____ )?
  • Did your old water heater provide enough hot water?


If someone is running out of hot water in the household it could be due to items such as oversized or jetted tubs, using multiple consecutive showers or several large loads of laundry. A larger capacity water heater should be considered.

  • Gas units: Check to make sure exhaust vent will handle a larger water heater with more BTU input.
  • If a family is planning to stay in their home for a long period of time, models made with a longer warranty should be considered. It's less expensive when installation and maintenance expenses are considered.
  • Electric units: If the water heater has hard water that leaves deposits on fixtures and requires frequent replacement of heating elements, self-cleaning models should be considered.

Shop American Water Heaters on our website or stop by any of our 12 store locations in West Tennessee.