Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan on Facebook: With such a big family to care for, how do you work to save money on things like water, electricity and heating?
We have two things that really help keep our heating bills down in our house: a radiant heat floor and a tankless water heater.
When we built our current home, we installed a radiant heat floor before we poured our concrete. The hot water runs through pipes in it during the winter, and it heats the whole house. Installing that was really something! Everybody that was old enough to help got out there and laid that PEX pipe -- even the little ones were out there tying down the pipe in the floor before we poured the concrete.
We have furnaces and the ability to turn those on when we want them, if we need them. But the radiant heat floor saves us a lot, because it's just circulating that hot water under the concrete. It keeps our house nice and warm in the winter. We have some cold days here -- we don't get as much snow as the children would like -- but it does get pretty cold. The radiant heat floor has really come in handy.
This year, we also installed an instant tankless water heater. For a while, we were using a wood-burning furnace to heat the water for our home. The boys would cut the wood for it and fill it up. The problem with that was that the water took quite a while to heat between showers. The new system isn't reliant on a hot water tank. It supplies hot water for the floor at a fraction of the cost, and it also provides all of the hot water for our showers and baths. We don't have to wait 30 minutes for the next person to get their shower. We're never without hot water anymore and it's not such a scramble to figure out a schedule for baths and showers!
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