Saving energy with hot water heaters

Ask Mr. Electricity has a concise page that compares installation and operating costs for different types of hot water heaters. It covers gas vs. electric and tank vs. tankless.

Installing timers can save energy in some cases, but not always:
A $40 timer can automatically turn off an electric heater . . . after you go to bed, and on again right before you get up. These don't save as much money as you'd expect, though. That's because a typical electric water heater only runs about three hours a day anyway, and modern energy-efficient water heaters run only 1.3 hours or so. . . . (In fact, if your heater was made after 1998, it's possibly not worth using a timer at all.) . . . A timer for an old (pre-1998) heater will save about 25kWh/mo. for a family of two using 40 gallons a day with the heater off four to six hours a day, but only 14kWh/mo. for a family of four using 80 gallons a day.
There's also a nice tidbit about health considerations when setting the temperature on your heater:
Bacteria fram Legionnaires Disease can grow in water up to 122°F, so many people set their heater tanks to at least 123°F.

More perspicacity from Alexis de Tocqueville

In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville cautioned, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

On being pigeonholed as victims

Stephen Green commenting on President Obama's speech last week:
Why is it Democrats always speak to soldiers as veterans as just another grievance group in need of more benefits? Support the mission — lead, command! — and the troops will follow. Treating them as victims… well, I can tell you from the veterans who make up damn near my entire neighborhood… that stuff doesn’t play here.


What doctors don't know

I went to a birthday party recently where several guests were 50-ish doctors.

Most of what they said I had heard many times before. They grumbled about lawyers and explained that "we went to med school to treat patients, not to spend half our time filling out forms and fighting with insurance adjusters."

But two bits were new to me. First, none of them knew the story of how health insurance came to be tied to employment. Second, none of them seemed to understand how consumers might benefit from knowing prices before walking into a doctor's office.


They really need to learn the basic facts about the system they've been operating in for decades. Especially before opining on how to fix it.


Mickey Kaus, please report to your assignment desk

Gerrymandering alert!

Sen. Judd Gregg yesterday declined all comment on reports that the White House will strip him of his authority over the federal Census Bureau even before he becomes Secretary of Commerce.
Glenn Reynolds to Judd Gregg: "Wimp"

Moe Lane objects:
Does anybody have a link to where the President (or the President-elect, or the candidate) talked about how we need to take oversight of the director of the census away and hand it to the White House? Note that the examples needed here would have to be from before Democratic special interest groups started screaming about the potential loss of gerrymandering possibilities racism


Marijuana: Drug-bust of choice for lazy, self-promoting, risk-averse cops

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers lays it out:
from a law enforcement perspective, it's easy. [Marijuana users] are far less likely than other drug users to carry a weapon or get violent with an officer . . . Busting college kids for holding weed and taking down grow houses is a terrific way [for police] to keep [their arrest] numbers up . . . . . . [and] because its so widely used, especially among the young, no amount of crack downs is going to get rid of weed in our society. So it's a well that never goes dry. And it's a win-win on the PR end: every marijuana bust can be used as both evidence of a problem, and evidence that law enforcement is confronting that problem. Perfect.
This way of looking at it just gives more support to those of us who think that the War on Drugs is a complete failure.

For my "to read" list: "Searching for Safety"

It's by Aaron Wildavsky.

John Stossel recommends it in this interview. Years ago I read a wonderful book on Stossel's recommendation. It's called In Pursuit: of Happiness and Good Government by Charles Murray.