Turning Sunshine Into Savings

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Alexis Bechman/Roundup

Charlie Hall, owner of Wrangler Plumbing, said his company is going green with solar and tankless water heaters.

With more than 300 days of sunshine pounding the roof of Arizona homes every year and tax incentives increasing, converting to a solar water heater or installing solar panels has never made more sense or been easier.

A number of businesses in Payson are going “green” by expanding their service and product lines to include solar heating and electric systems and tankless and solar water heaters.

Businesses such as Wrangler Plumbing and Poor Boy’s General Remodeling and Solar Division are hoping before homeowners see their summer utility rates rise with the summer temperatures, they will consider installing solar panels or a solar water heater to drive down their energy costs.

Solar panels harness solar energy and convert it into electricity, powering a home’s air conditioner for example. A solar water heater collects the same solar energy using sunshine to heat water.

Besides the benefit of helping the environment, homeowners save hundreds in their utility costs and with the added federal tax and utility company incentives; the cost to convert to green is decreasing.

Both companies have been in business in Payson for a number of years offering repair services and are adjusting to changing technologies and consumer demand.

Wrangler Plumbing owner Charlie Hall said his company of 30 years recently began carrying the SunGrabber, solar hot water system because of the tax incentives introduced by the president.

Homeowners can receive a one-time incentive that includes a 30 percent federal tax credit, 10 percent state and up to a $1,000 rebate from APS. A solar unit costs around $2,900 but that does not include the cost of installation.

Besides the tax incentives, Hall said the solar technology has been simplified to make installation and maintenance easier and the SunGrabber can produce more than half of the hot water used by a typical household.

“If you can use the sun it so much better,” he said.

The solar hot water system Hall uses works with a home’s existing hot water heater. The SunGrabber polymer solar collectors are placed on a home’s roof and water is circulated through them heating the water up. The water is then transferred down to the home’s water heater, where it is kept until used. When the unit is not in operation, water in the solar collectors drains into a tank to prevent the panels from freezing.

“People used to worry about the panels freezing up here, but with the newer technology, it drains into a storage tank,” Hall said.

The company has carried tankless water heaters since 2000. Homeowners who install a tankless water heater are also eligible for a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the full purchase and installation price, up to a maximum of $1,500.

A tankless unit runs around $1,100 which does not include the cost of installation, Hall said.

For more information, contact Wrangler Plumbing at (928) 474-4032.

Poor Boy’s General Remodeling and Solar Division offers electrical, plumbing, roofing and remodeling and solar heat and electric units. The company said it carries all forms of alternative energy and “easy water” conditioning systems and is licensed.

All of the employees and managers at Poor Boy’s have been associated with building most of their working life, the company states.

For more information, contact Poor Boy’s General Remodeling at (928) 472-2429.

If you want to reduce your hot water use today, the U.S. Department of Energy offers these tips:

• Lower your water heating temperature

• Insulate your water heater tank and hot water pipes

• Install heat traps on a water heater tank

• Install a timer and use off-peak power for an electric water heater

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