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Found 91 results

  1. More and more people are worried about the planet, which is probably why many are making eco-friendly choices when making purchases. For one, more people are hunting for eco-friendly cars that they can feel good about. The only problem is that trying to get a car that won't kill the planet can be a little overwhelming, but the following tips may help. 1. Consider Fuel Switching to an eco-friendly car could mean switching to more eco-friendly fuel. The options that you have include biodiesel, diesel, and electric. You want to make sure you know where your charging or fueling stations are before you choose a car that runs on either of these fuels. You do not want to find out that your nearest charging station is an hour away. 2. Focus on Needs You cannot forget your needs when purchasing an eco-friendly vehicle. More car manufacturers are creating eco-friendly cars, so there are several options for you. You need to think about cargo space, towing capabilities, passenger space, and even off-road capabilities. In essence, you need to make sure that your eco-friendly car fits your lifestyle. 3. A Good Selection It is easy to focus on the details of the car and overlook the importance of the dealership. You need to find a car dealership such as Young Automotive Group that has enough cars for you to choose from. A large selection is definitely a good sign, but you should also meet with some of the salespeople to ensure that they are knowledgeable about eco-friendly cars. 4. Look for Certification The next thing you might want to do is check the EPA certification on the car. The EPA grades eco-friendly cars using the SmartWay Certification program, which should allow you to choose the most eco-friendly car that you can buy. You can go to the EPA's site directly to see the vehicles that are currently graded, or you can talk to your car dealership salesperson about the choices that are available in their car lot. These are just some tips that could help you find a car that will make your life easier without killing the planet. Remember, several vehicles do not run on eco-friendly fuels but are still eco-friendly because they give you more miles per gallon than ever before. These types of vehicles should also be a possibility just in case you live in an area without many eco-friendly re-fueling or charging options.
  2. For many people today, green energy is a huge concern. We want it from our companies, but don’t often practice it ourselves. At home, solar panels are a great way to reduce the environmental impact your home has, with a host of other positives, like: Lower Energy Bills The most obvious boon of solar panels is reduced energy costs. Depending on the amount of sun in your area, the break-even point for solar panels can be as little as two years, though the average is six to eight. To maximize your savings, consider contacting a licensed electrician to complete the installation, as they can work to best optimize the placement and wiring to bring about the lowest costs and highest yields. Average savings number in the tens of thousands over twenty years, increasing for sunnier locations. Secure, Reliable, Independent Solar energy comes from the sun, which comes with a number of benefits besides being clean and free: it can’t be monopolized, we know when it’s coming, and no one can limit our access to it. When it comes to energy sources, it’s the only choice a homeowner can make that affords them control; once you own solar panels, you have access to energy, period. Increase Home Value Research has shown that market demand for solar panels is strong, with buyers willing to pay a premium for homes already outfitted with systems. The average increase in resale value is around $5,911 per kilowatt, putting the typical 3.1 kilowatt system at a nearly $18,000 jump. In addition, you can enjoy increased roof longevity, as solar panels provide some protection from the elements, and lowered cooling costs, as they reflect sunshine in the summer. Tax Incentives No matter where you live, there’s more than likely some sort of energy incentive. Federal tax credits are numerous and more localized government on the state, provincial, county, or municipal level. There’s also the rise of power purchase agreements to watch, as homeowners can enjoy solar panels for zero initial investment with these agreements wherein the solar company owns the panels while the purchaser pays them off monthly. In today’s eco-friendly market, solar panels are an achievable reality for more and more homeowners. Beyond the lower energy bill, they provide numerous benefits like those listed. That’s not to mention their decreased carbon footprint, enabling you to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.
  3. The cold wind is about to start blowing outdoors, and your home will need to work hard to keep you comfortable and warm indoors. For you to stay warm your home may need to work harder than necessary, and this will inflate your energy bills. However, by making some home renovations before winter, you will save money, boost energy efficiency and add the value of your home in the long run. Listed below are some renovation ideas. Get a More Energy Efficient Furnace Upgrading to a more reliable and energy efficient furnace is an excellent idea to consider before winter. For instance, you can get a variable speed fan and a gas furnace with a modulating gas valve for consistent warmth at your entire home. This kind of unique technology offered by products such as the Trane XC95m eliminates temperature swings and moderates the energy usage of your system. Change the Furnace Filter Dirty furnace filters restrict the airflow, hence increasing energy use in your residence. By keeping the furnace clean, properly adjusted and updated, you will a save on heating expenses during winter. For best results, consider replacing or cleaning the filters once every month this winter. Minimize Heat Loss from Windows According to the Department of Energy, 10-25% of the heating bills every month can be attributed to the heat lost via the home windows. You need to replace your old windows and doors with energy efficient ones. This will prevent the heating system from working hard to manage the desired temperature. Companies such as RWC Windows, Doors & More provide quality products aimed at improving energy efficiency at an affordable cost. Purchase Energy Star Products Energy appliances use approximately 20% of energy in your home. Because of this, you need to consider buying energy star products. These products use 10-15% less energy compared to other products. This way you will save on utility bills. Install New Flooring You can easily maintain the temperature and reduce energy costs when you get the right flooring. Rugs and carpets, for instance, can trap heat, keeping your home warmer during winter. Flooring professional can provide options you can rely on to cut energy costs. Consider these ideas to ensure that your home is ready for winter. Some of them might seem like major projects while others are just minor adjustments. In the end, you will realize considerable savings on energy costs.
  4. 5 Ways to Save Electricity at Home

    You and your family might be wasting an exorbitant amount of electricity without even realizing it. Inefficient appliances and unwise habits could be costing you thousands of dollars a year, and that is why homeowners should constantly be looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint. These five tips will help you bring your electric bills down without making any major lifestyle changes. Weatherize Your House In the average home, the HVAC system is responsible for around 48 percent of all energy use. Weatherizing your home will limit the amount of electricity that must be used to keep it at a comfortable temperature. Sealing up cracks, caulking around windows, and installing better insulation are all simple projects that will improve your home’s efficiency. Cook Responsibly When it comes to making meals, changing a few of your habits could put a major dent in your energy bills. Instead of cooking foods as soon as you pull them out of the freezer, you should give them time to thaw out on the counter. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using energy-efficient appliances such as the microwave and crockpot instead of the oven and stove. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, you should be able to wash them on the coldest setting. You also need to make sure that the washer is full before doing a load of laundry. These devices use an incredible amount of energy, and being able to cut back on a few loads every month could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year. Stop Phantom Loads Many devices throughout your home will continue to draw power even when they aren’t being used. These “phantom loads” can cost you quite a bit of money, and that is why you should unplug all of your devices whenever they aren’t being used. As an alternative to unplugging each individual device, you can plug multiple devices into a single power strip. When you are getting ready to leave your home or go to sleep, you can cut off all the devices in a room with a single switch. Schedule an Energy Audit During an energy audit, an inspector will use tools such as current sensors from a company like Aim Dynamics and thermal cameras to detect any efficiency issues that might be taking place. Once the inspection is over, you will be given instructions on how to address those issues. Most experts agree that families should have their homes inspected once every two to three years. Homeowners should never accept skyrocketing energy bills without a fight. With a little bit of planning and the proper attitude, you might be able to save thousands a year while reducing your impact on the environment.
  5. As the world becomes more educated on the importance of sustainability, more people are trying to implement the knowledge into everyday living by recycling, saving water and eco-friendly buildings. One of the most recent sustainable solutions in the construction industry is using cool metal roofing which is basically a roof designed to reflect and re-emit back sunlight and heat instead of absorbing it like other roofing materials. How Cool Roofs are Made Cool metal roofs are made from tin, aluminum, steel or copper and then covered with a highly reflective white paint, sheet covering or reflective shingles. A cool roof can stay around 55 degrees Fahrenheit during summer while ordinary roof goes as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit reducing your energy bill by 40%. Companies like Wespol have been at the forefront of installing sustainable roofing solutions and insulation for commercial, industrial and residential buildings. 1. They Do Not Absorb Heat Unlike other roofing materials, cool roofs reflect sunlight and re-emit the heat back into the atmosphere immediately instead of absorbing it. This means that even on the hottest day, the building under that roof will remain cool and there will be no need to use an air conditioner or other cooling gadgets. The coating used in the best cool roofing can reflect and re-emit up to 90% solar radiation away from your building. 2. Prevent Urban Heat Island Effect Once the heat has been absorbed by the building and the roof, it has to be emitted slowly into the air overnight and this causes a heat island effect which means the entire area will feel hot and more power will be needed to cool. However, there is no heat absorbed by a building when you have cool roofing so the effect will be prevented. 3. Reduce Peak Energy Use Peak electricity demand happens when a lot of buildings are used too much power to cool or heat and it causes power outages. Cool roofs can prevent pea energy use and preserve your backup generator. Other Benefits of Cool Roofs Metal is very tough and durable so you will get unmatched longevity. Metal roofs can withstand the worst of Mother Nature. Metal roofs are fire-resistant and impervious to pests. Metal is highly sustainable because it can be recycled severally. Metal roofing is a great cost-saving investment that will not only benefit your household but the environment as well. It is a green home product with Energy Star and LEED Ratings so you know the benefits are real.
  6. If you're concerned about the environment, you know that everyone who conserves power is cutting down on all overall demand. That reduces pressure on local ecosystems or adding to pollution and global warming. Options like solar power may be outside your budget, but there are simple ways to conserve electricity. Here are some things you can do. Reduce Phantom Load This is power that some devices use even when they're turned off. Digital displays, status lights, and similar indicators are still drawing power 24 hours a day. While this seems minor, you may have multiple devices around the home, such as TVs, computer equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more. That can add up to significant energy use. Plug items that aren't constantly needed into outlet strips that you can turn on or off when not in use. Energy-Efficient Appliances When it's time to replace major appliances, look for more energy-efficient models. Most will have ENERGY STAR labels that indicate how much power use is involved and how much you can expect to pay for it. In the meantime, you can maximize efficiency by not using appliances needlessly. Hang up the laundry outside on a sunny day instead of turning on the dryer, and avoid running partial loads in the dishwasher or washing machine. Modern Lighting The old incandescent bulbs are extreme energy-wasters. Most of that produces heat, not light, so they're also a safety risk. Modern LED lights use 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer. Instead of swapping bulbs, you can also find a variety of LED fixtures that can be connected straight to your home wiring to provide efficient, safe light where you need it for years to come. Use Fans Over-using AC is a primary power drain as the summer comes on. Establish a temperature toward the higher end of the comfort zone for your family. Dress appropriately for the heat even indoors, and use fans throughout the house to keep the air moving and cool you naturally through evaporation of sweat. Keep plenty of cold water on hand, and turn down the AC as soon as it's dark. Check Your Wiring Old wiring or improper DIY additions or improvements can lead to electrical "leaks" that are costing you money. Turn off everything in the house, including breakers for things like hot water heaters that don't have switches. If your electrical meter continues to climb, you have a wiring problem. Significant use could mean several problems. Call in an experienced electrician from a company like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc to diagnose and correct the issue. Power conservation requires some planning and a little self-sacrifice. But if you can reduce your bills and preserve the environment, it's worth it.
  7. We are still a few months away, but the earlier you start preparing for the cold season, the better. Winter seasons are often characterized by high energy consumption, and now is probably the best time to start thinking about ways to cut down the cold weather utility costs. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, about 50 percent of homes in the US use natural gas for heating during cold seasons. One of the biggest challenges for these homes is the sky high heating costs they have to endure during winter. However, there are some tips homeowners can utilize to control the costs of energy in the winter and save money. Here are three of them: Install Better Windows Replacing windows is one of the most worthwhile home improvements you can make before winter. Old, thin, single pane windows don’t do much to keep out the cold air. If your windows have been around longer than anyone can remember, it’s probably time to replace them. Energy-Star rated windows and specialty storm windows recommended by professionals like Valley Glass Utility can provide great insulation in your home and keep that precious warm air inside. This means lower utility costs and a nice cosmetic change to boot. Caulk Doors, Siding, and Windows Air leaks can increase the cost of heating and cooling your house by a significant amount, pay attention to them. Start with the big gaps, like broken or jammed windows, poorly hung doors, and damage to the exterior of the home. Once those are done, you can focus on the harder to find problems. Air leaks are common where wiring, duct work, and plumbing goes through floors, ceilings, and walls. You can find these small leaks by passing your hand close to suspect areas and noting any change in temperature. If that isn’t working, you can turn off fans or HVAC systems and hold a candle near potential leaky areas and see if the flame flickers or moves. Sealing leaks with caulk can save more than enough money to pay for itself, and can easily be done in an hour or two for even a large house. Replace or Clean the Furnace Filter It's important to clean or change the furnace filter on a regular basis, especially when it is running every day. When a furnace can 'breathe' easily, they use much less energy. Check the manufacturer's manual for information regarding the replacement of furnace filter – some require changes every three months. The cost of replacing the furnace filter will depend on the furnace. On average, furnace filter replacement costs range between 10 and 50 dollars. Depending on how often your furnace runs, how dusty your house gets, and the age of the furnace, you may want to replace it more often. A huge chunk of your home budget goes towards heating costs, especially during winter. Taking a few measures to make your home more efficient will go a long way for your budget, and will make cold weather stay outside where it belongs.
  8. When you think of green energy your mind probably jumps to solar, wind or emerging hydrogen power, but you may not have considered that propane and its cousin natural gas, are also among of the greenest energy sources available to homeowners. Clean Burning While propane is essentially a fossil fuel, derived from natural gas or petroleum, it burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels. It emits roughly half the greenhouse gases compared to coal or oil and it doesn’t emit as many harmful compounds or toxins, such as sulfur dioxide and CO2. This reduces the prevalence of smog and the occurrence of environmental problems such as acid rain, which is caused by high concentrations of pollutants from gas and coal. May Be Cleaner and Cheaper Than Electricity There is some research to support the argument that natural gas is actually cheaper and more efficient alternative to electricity for some applications. This is one reason that many homes have mostly gas-powered appliances if possible. Having more homes with gas powered appliances reduces electric bills and helps to ease the strain on the power grid. While many people consider electricity to be clean, that really depends on how the electricity is generated. Electricity produced by a coal power plant, for example, is going to be exceptionally dirty and inefficient. Electricity produced from solar, wind or hydroelectric is going to be cleaner than any other source of power, including natural gas or propane. That said, power from truly clean sources accounts for a very small percentage of the electricity generated in the United States. Even in pioneering states like California, renewable energy sources account for only about 25 percent of total energy generation. In most areas of the country, that number is far lower. Taking United States energy production as a whole, 30 percent of electricity is generated by dirty coal, 20 percent generated by nuclear and only 15 percent generated by renewables. Interestingly enough, natural gas accounts for the largest share of electricity production in the US, at 34 percent. Using natural gas directly can help shift the focus away from dirty sources like coal and questionable sources like nuclear. It is worthwhile for you to consider where your power comes from to decide if using natural gas or propane in your home will be a greener choice. Off the Grid One tremendous advantage of propane is that it can be used off the grid. In areas where electricity is difficult, expensive or just plain impossible to supply, propane can serve as an excellent substitute. Propane tank installation in Mason is relatively simple and gives you a reliable supply of propane for your use without reliance on the municipal grid or supply. Even if you don’t use propane consistently, it is an excellent emergency power source for cooking, water heating or even to power a home-based generator. Propane is Efficient Efficiency is a key element of the environmental friendliness of any fuel. In this case, using propane directly is very efficient compared to most other types of power. For example, a coal power plant converts only about 38 percent of the energy found in coal to electricity. This means that not only is coal exceptionally dirty to begin with, it is also extremely inefficient. When propane is used directly, basically 100 percent of the energy goes toward the intended use because there is no conversion of energy. Natural Gas May Become Renewable While natural gas used currently in the United States is not renewable and is derived from fossil fuel, there is the possibility that natural gas and propane could be harvested from renewable sources in the near future. Likely candidates are landfills and water treatment plants. Decomposing organic matter releases tremendous amounts of natural gas, which is released into the atmosphere. If this natural gas could successfully contained and harvested, it would present an excellent source of renewable fuel. The natural gas could then be used directly or refined into other fuels like propane and hydrogen. Demand will primarily affect how much attention this technology receives. As more homeowners switch to propane or natural gas, the demand will increase and entice more companies to invest in the technology and infrastructure to harvest it from renewable sources. As a homeowner, you have an important part to play in the green energy future and the infrastructure that will support it.
  9. Transitioning your home's electrical system to include solar power can provide a huge number of financial and environmental benefits. Installing a solar power generating system on your roof or in your yard has the potential to greatly reduce your electricity bill while also reducing your carbon footprint and helping to protect the planet. In this way, going green with solar power is truly a great thing to do. Unfortunately, making the transition isn't always as simple or straightforward as it seems. Despite the price of solar systems and installation continuing to drop to new record lows, the fact is that solar still remains prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. As well, the overall success of your solar system depends in large part on how and where it's installed and the quality of your equipment. For these reasons, it is essential that you pay attention to the following tips in order to help you overcome any potential obstacles and hopefully simplify your transition to solar. Always Have a Solar Feasibility Study Performed Not all homes are suitable for solar power and even if your home is suitable, you'll still need to know where the best spot for the panels is, how many solar panels you'll need and how much energy you can expect the system to produce. A solar feasibility study helps you answer all of these questions in order to ensure that you get the best possible system for your home and your energy needs. Most reputable solar installation companies will offer this type of study for free. In this way, you'll not only be able to ensure that you get the best possible system, but you'll also be able to compare the prices, products, and services offered by each company to find the best possible deal. Purchase Everything Up-Front When deciding to go solar, you will typically have the option to purchase all of your own equipment up front, lease the equipment from a solar company or sign a Power Purchasing Agreement with your power company, in which case they supply and own all of the equipment. Although purchasing your own equipment requires a much larger initial investment, it is well worth it since your investment will provide tangible goods. Otherwise, you'll end up paying for something that someone else still technically owns. You will generally be able to qualify for a variety of local, state and federal rebates and tax incentives to help offset the initial costs. However, if you're still unable to afford what it costs, it's well worth it to try to get a loan to cover your solar transition in order to help you meet your energy goals. If timing is the only thing holding you back, searching regionally for something like “Texas payday loan” can help you find short term lenders you can use, so long as you’re prepared to pay them back ASAP. The energy saving benefits of your solar system should help to offset any interest payments you make on the loan. Buying your solar equipment out right also gives you the ability to sell your solar panels or other equipment should you ever decide to upgrade, and the solar system obviously boosts your home's total value. All of this makes a loan more than worth it in the end. Make Any Necessary Repairs or Upgrades Ahead of Time In addition to the solar feasibility study, you'll want to make sure to have your roof inspected to ensure it can fully support the solar panels. If the inspection discovers any leaks, structural damage or other issues, it is essential that you have them fixed prior to the solar installation. Similarly, if your roof is only a year or two away from needing to be replaced, you should definitely consider having it done now. Otherwise, you risk having to have the solar system removed to fix the damage and then starting all over. Forget about the DIY Route Although you can read numerous articles online about DIY solar, the truth is that installing a solar system is something that's best left to the professionals. The complicated electrical work required is not only incredibly dangerous for anyone other than a certified electrician, but any wiring issues also have the potential to destroy your solar system or potentially even burn down your home. At the very least, wiring issues can harm the efficiency of your solar panels. The actual installation of the solar panels should also be left to a trained professional since the exact position, angle and orientation will directly influence how much energy they can create. Therefore, if you want your solar system to be safe and work properly, it is imperative that you have it professionally installed. Solar power is now more accessible than ever, and there truly has never been a better time to make the transition to clean, green, renewable solar energy. However, a poorly designed or improperly installed solar system will still be a huge waste of money. In this sense, it is essential that you get the expert advice and financial assistance you need to ensure your transition to solar is a success.
  10. It is becoming increasingly important in this fast-paced, industrial society to acknowledge the environmental impact of each individual and do your part in maintaining eco-friendly habits. There are many areas where you can make changes to yourself and your home to help protect the earth. One way to make your home more environmentally-conscious is to make use of several different household appliances that are on the market today. Vacuum Sealer Investing in a vacuum sealer cuts down on food waste by keeping your food fresh for longer. Vacuum sealed bags are the optimal way to store food in your fridge while saving space, and using them can make your food stay fresh until you are ready to eat it. Vacuum sealing removes all the air that could cause bacteria and rot, making your food's shelf life a lot longer than it would be with normal food storage bags. Low-Flow Faucets One of the most effective ways to conserve water in your home is to install low-flow faucets and showerheads. Showering takes up a large portion of an individual's water consumption. By purchasing and installing water controlling fixtures, you can limit your daily water use. Low-flow fixtures are inexpensive and can save you up to 50 percent on your water bill, benefiting both you and the environment. Recycled Sinks A new sink may not be the first thing to come to mind when you are in the market for eco-friendly choices, but there are more options than just the standard kitchen or bathroom sink. Consider purchasing a 100 percent recycled or salvaged sink. Beautiful design and eco-friendly manufacturing come together in many unique metals like copper, bronze and stainless steel. Manufacturing recycled metals is a much more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly process than producing virgin steel. Air Fryer Air fryers allow you to perform all your cooking needs without the use of grease or flame. They work by circulating hot air around food. An air fryer conserves energy by generating a lot of heat in a small, contained space. You can fry, bake and roast with simplicity, all while saving on your energy consumption and reducing your carbon footprint. LED Lights Another way to save energy is to get LED lights from a company like Always Earth Friendly. LEDs are a type of light fixture that is much friendlier to the environment than common compact fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs. LED lighting can save a significant portion of your energy use each year. It lasts over three times longer than CFL bulbs and saves more electricity when in use. Each light bulb is made of eco-friendly, durable and high-quality materials and just one light can last for almost 23 years. Doing your part to help the environment is rewarding. Using these appliances and fixtures around the house can provide a long-term method to conserve the resources around you
  11. Many homeowners pay a small fortune in utility bills each month. This can be financially burdensome, and it also may be a sign that your home or lifestyle is not as green as it could be. With a closer look at some of the top green tips you can follow around the house, you may be able to make your space more environmentally-friendly and save a significant amount of money in the process. Use Low-Flow Water Features The scarcity of fresh water is a top concern for many environmentally-conscious people. Low-flow water features, such as toilets, faucets and showerheads, can be installed in your home to help you conserve water. These are specially-designed features that use less water without requiring you to adjust your water usage behavior. For example, a low-flow toilet may use half the water or less with each flush that an older model may use. Harvest Rain Water Another great idea to consider is to use gutters, such as those from Unique Home Solutions, and a rain barrel to harvest rain water. This water can be stored and used for landscaping water. It can also be purified on-site and used inside your home. For example, you may use it to wash your clothes or for toilet purposes. You may notice a dramatic decrease in your water bill each month, and you can enjoy the benefit of knowing that you are not taking water away from the public water supply through your usage. Adjust Your Thermostat Maintaining an ideal climate inside the home can be an energy drain, and this is particularly true during peak summer and winter months when your HVAC system may function most frequently. Adjust your thermostat so that your home’s interior is cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. Use blankets, clothing, ceiling fans and more to control your comfort level without relying so heavily on your HVAC system. Upgrade Your Windows Another excellent step to take is to upgrade your windows. If you live in an older home, your windows may not be well-sealed, and they also may not be good insulators. Modern windows may be more energy efficient, and they can help you to maintain a comfortable climate inside the home without relying on regular use of your HVAC unit. These are only a few of the green tips you can follow to save money on energy bills regularly. Now is a great time to begin implementing these and other ideas you may have to improve your home.
  12. Making sure that your air conditioning system works properly is probably very important to you and your family during the summer months. If you are concerned about your system or if you want to ensure that it works as effectively as possible, however, you shouldn't worry. Instead, follow these tips to get the most out of your air conditioner when dealing with the summer heat. Block Out the Sun First of all, if you have the sun shining into your home on a hot, sunny day, it can make the temperatures rise in the house and can make your air conditioning system work that much harder. To give your air conditioner a fighting chance at keeping your home cool and to reduce your cooling bills, it's a good idea to cover up your windows during the daytime so that you can block the sun out. Luckily, there are plenty of light-blocking shades available on the market that can help. Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced If you have not hired a company like A-1 American Services to service your air conditioner yet this year, it's a good idea to do so. By hiring a technician to come out now, you can determine if there are any issues with your system. Then, you can ensure that it's working as it is supposed to. This can help prevent system failures on the hottest days of the year, can help your system last longer and can help you prevent having to pay high repair bills later on. Change Your Filters Regularly If you aren't in the habit of changing your HVAC system's air filters each and every month, now is the time to get in the habit of doing so. Failing to change your filters can pose a problem because it can prevent your system from being able to do its job properly. It can also affect your indoor air quality. Luckily, these filters are usually pretty affordable to purchase and are typically pretty easy to change, so swapping them out monthly shouldn't be too much of a challenge. Set Your Thermostat Properly Using a programmable thermostat so that you aren't cooling an empty home and setting your system to the right temperature can help your unit run more efficiently. Then, you can keep your home cool without driving up your cooling bills too much. It's also a good idea to leave your system alone once it's programmed rather than adjusting it back and forth if you want to maintain a steady, comfortable temperature. If you are like most people, you probably really rely on your air conditioning system to keep you and your family nice and cool during the hot summer months. However, you might be concerned that your air conditioner is not really working as it should be. Luckily, following these tips can help you get more out of your system.
  13. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and patronize companies that are "green." Utility companies can lead the way in the global effort to go greener and do it faster. Utility companies can use these four strategies to reduce resource usage and to make better use of renewable forms of energy. Investing in Renewable Energy One way that utility companies can go green is to make investments in renewable energy. Wind turbines are growing in popularity. Farms of the turbines are popping up all over the country, from the farmlands of Michigan to the Great Plains. Other great sources of renewable energy include solar panels and hydroelectric power. Utility companies could also consider offering incentives to home and business owners generating electricity through renewable energy. Using Pole-mounted Electrical Transformers Pole-mounted electrical transformers allow utility companies to reduce wasted electricity. Most transformers, like those available from Solomon Corporation, are expertly designed, and fully warrantied. Some transformers can even be outfitted with natural lubricants rather than synthetic oils to keep their parts working well for a long duration of time. Installing Smart Utility Meters Installing smart utility meters reduces the amount of resources and manpower that it takes to account for consumer energy usage. The smart meters can give the meter readers the amount of energy used by transmitting a radio signal. This allows the meter readers to use less fuel in order to travel through an area and collect information from the electrical and gas meters. Smart meters can also be Wi-Fi enabled, allowing consumers to monitor their energy usage. Offering Electronic Statements and Bill Payments to Customers Mailing out paper statements and having customers mail them back to pay their bills takes a lot of paper and time. Instead of focusing on paper billing, utility companies can encourage paperless billing and electronic statements. Allow customers to pay their bills online without a convenience fee. Electronic funds transfers are usually quicker than mailing a check, so the utility payment will be deposited within a faster time frame. Each time a utility company does these actions, it can let consumers know what they are doing. These green activities will help to keep consumers happy and satisfied about where their money is going. When consumers have a choice, they are likely to do business with a utility company that is environmentally responsible. Protecting the Earth's resources today by going green helps to ensure the planet's health for the next generation.
  14. One of the biggest costs for businesses is their utilities. It costs a lot of money to heat and cool large spaces, and businesses that run a lot of machinery or electronics use a lot of electricity. Also, many businesses are housed in older buildings that aren't very energy efficient. However, there are ways that businesses can cut their energy bills. Here are four ways commercial facilities can save energy by going green. Change Habits One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways commercial facilities can go green and save energy is by changing the habits of employees. For example, the company might do a building-wide push to have people turn off lights, computers and other electronic devices at the end of the day. This seems like a small change, but it can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Make Energy-Efficient Improvements Commercial spaces often are older and may not have energy-efficient features, so if you are willing to make the investment, you can make improvements to your commercial space that will help you go green and save money on energy. Some of the improvements you could make could include changing all the lighting to more energy-efficient types such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, replacing windows, and installing solar panels or a geothermal heating and cooling system. Keep up on Your Maintenance Taking care of the existing systems you have can help your commercial building operate more efficiently and make your business greener. Some companies, like Ragan Mechanical Inc., realize that if you have a boiler system for heating, it needs regular maintenance to operate at its best. The same goes for gas and electrical appliances, manufacturing machinery and any other appliances or machinery you have in your business that use energy. Cut Down on Paper and Packaging One of the ways businesses can go green is to change the way they interact with customers. Two of the most common ways to do this are to cut down on paper and packaging. Encourage your customers to receiving billing statements, receipts, invoices and other correspondence electronically to cut down on paper use. You also can look at overhauling your packaging to use less of it. Not only will these moves make your business greener by producing less waste, they also will save you money. Many businesses see "going green" as an added cost, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. Many energy-efficient improvements fulfill a legitimate business purpose and actually save you money.
  15. It’s a fundamental law of the universe (actually, the Second Law of Thermodynamics) that entropy increases over time in an isolated system – practically, this means that a system will only ever lose energy over time. This has fundamental consequences for your home: no matter what you do, you’re going to lose energy, and with energy bills rising, it’s as good a time as any to do a full energy audit on your property to see where you can make the most savings. For example, a full energy audit can save you a huge amount off your heating bills each year: between 5 and 30 per cent, which can add up to a thousand dollars in winter. The idea is to do a series of tests that check the efficiency of your household heating and cooling systems, as well as check the overall efficiency of your home. You can hire a professional to do this for you… or you can do it yourself. Here’s how. Checking Equipment Your first job is to check your house’s heating and cooling equipment, which should be inspected annually, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Check and replace filters in a forced air furnace about once every month or two – and if your unit is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient unit. Ductwork should also be checked for dirt streaks, which may indicate air leaks, especially near seams. Seal these with duct mastic, and insulate any exposed pipes or ducts. Next check the lighting, which can cost up to 10% of your electricity bill. You may wish to replace your light bulbs with the most efficient versions available, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Also, try and reduce lighting use by using dimmers or timers. Similarly, try strategies to reduce your use of appliances and electronics, and aim for energy-efficient versions of these as well. Checking for Leaks Air leaks, also known as drafts, can be a huge issue and when sealed can save between 10 and 20 per cent of your energy per year. Leaks can occur both indoor and outdoor: for indoor leaks, check the wall and ceiling junctures and the gaps along the baseboard, and for outdoor leaks, prioritize areas where two different types of materials meet. Also consider windows and doors, as well as lighting and plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches. Leaks should be sealed where they are found, plugging or caulking for pipes, faucets, wiring, and electrical outlets. Seal cracks in mortar, foundation and siding with the appropriate material. However, it’s important to note that you should consider appropriate ventilation if you have a furnace that burns fuel (like propane, wood, or natural gas) – otherwise indoor air quality can suffer and might become dangerous, especially if exhaust fans pull combustion gases back into the living space, in what is known as a ‘backdraft’. Checking Insulation Losing heat through the walls and roof is often a consequence of insufficient insulation. Particularly if you have an older home, you may find that the insulation initially installed is not enough for your needs. Check that all openings for pipes and ducts in the attic are well sealed, that the attic vents aren’t blocked by insulation, and set up a vapour barrier under the attic insulation if one doesn’t exist already. A vapour barrier keeps moisture out; too much moisture reduces the effect of insulation and can damage your house’s structure, so consider using vapour barrier paint on interior ceilings in a pinch. Wall insulation is trickier: ensure that your outlets are not receiving any electricity, and then remove a cover plate from one and probe the wall with a long thin implement. If you feel some resistance, then there is some insulation present. You may have to check in several areas to be satisfied that all of your walls are filled with insulating foam. Conclusion Once you have audited your property, you can start to make changes based on what you find – like ensuring that the walls are insulated, and making sure that all air leaks and drafts are sealed. You should start to see a noticeable difference in your energy bills, as well as a change in your comfort level once all those drafts have gone!
  16. You may be surprised to hear that private homes account for over 40 percent of all energy consumed within the United States. If you are ready to cut back on your family's energy consumption and start saving on monthly bills, then take a look at these five affordable upgrades with an excellent return on investment. Tankless Water Heaters An older water heater can be one of the biggest energy consumers in a home because they keep an entire tank of water hot at all times. Tankless water heaters (on-demand water heaters) only heat water as it is needed, and this means lower gas or electricity bills and a home that never runs out of hot water. Light Tubes Everyone should upgrade to compact fluorescent lights at some point, but another simple way to save on lighting is to have light tubes installed. These simple tubes can fit around important structural components of a home and provide light to any room. Window Treatments Anyone with windows that are more than a decade old should consider upgrading their treatments to improve the insulation of their home. Studies show that older residential window treatments cost the American public $35 billion a year. Newer treatments will provide a home with additional layers of insulation to keep UV rays out during the summer and warm air in during the winter. Foam Roofing Older roofs are another major problem when it comes to energy efficiency. Foam roofing, available from places like Armstrong Installation Service, is nearly 500 percent more efficient than traditional roofs and provides much better protection from moisture. This relatively new technology works on a variety of roof types including flat and sloped roofs. This foam can also be sprayed around solar panels and other structural components. Trees Planting a few perennial trees will not only improve the appearance of your property, but it could also cut down on your HVAC bills during the summer. Placing these trees near windows will allow them to act as a windbreak as well as shade those areas from the sun. Having an energy efficient home no longer means that you and your family must do without modern amenities. Often all it takes is a few simple upgrades to make serious improvements with your home's carbon footprint. This includes utilizing new technology such as tankless water heaters, wall insulation, and new window treatments.
  17. Nowadays, energy consumption is constantly getting higher. Regardless of how widespread the campaign to save energy is. This is because technology has become accessible to everybody. It means that almost everything that we have requires the use of energy in some form and we need a more reliable, sustainable solution. The Current State of Energy There are still some countries who experience energy crisis while others enjoy an abundant supply. Surprisingly, energy is more expensive in poor countries than in highly-developed ones. As a result, these highly-developed countries are the ones that consume energy the most. On the other hand, you will notice that there are some innovations that are clearly increasing efficiency. In the past, people were obsessed with whatever device took the most power. Today, the demand for energy-saving technology such as solar-powered devices, fuel-efficient cars, and other alternative solutions is fast growing. Moreover, there are now a lot of renewable-energy resources that are being developed to sustain such growing demand. Engineering Better Energy Usage Techniques Global crisis is one thing. Energy usage is another. If techniques can be implemented by engineering projects that can address both problems, all people will undoubtedly benefit. It won't be surprising to find experts busy taking online master’s in civil engineering courses, attending seminars on the latest in technology, and conducting research in order to propose some useful techniques to optimize energy usage. This is the reason why our society never runs out of solutions to address serious power problems. One main concern is how to go about implementing better engineering projects. Leaders in our society must take into account some better techniques that can gradually replace conventional energy sources. The Future of Energy Usage There is a strong trend toward eliminating fossil fuel as a primary source of energy. Not only is it inefficient, but it slowly destroying our world. Consequently, people resort to new innovations that offer the use of alternative energy source such as solar, hydro, magnetic, and recently, the possibility of using hydrogen. The recent Global Crisis Summit attended by many leaders around the world is a welcome sign that our society is working towards more and more sustainable energy resources. Therefore, we can expect many power-generation projects that are earth-friendly and energy-efficient. Saving energy is the immediate solution we can always think of. However, it is only short-lived if technology is dependent on conventional energy sources. The solution is not to make people save energy but to make new technology that promotes energy efficiency. Gradually, technology is becoming more and more efficient, to the benefit of all.
  18. As a savvy homeowner, you do your part to save energy. You turn off lights when leaving a room and turn back the thermostat when you go to work. Yet, if you're scratching your head wondering why your energy bills are still too high, don't fret. Tighten up your home efficiency strategy with these solutions to 3 big home energy wasters. Window Pains Glass isn’t a very good thermal insulator. In fact, chances are your windows are the Achilles' heel of your home’s shell — leaking air and allowing heat energy to easily transfer. Pick up a glass of iced or hot tea, and you can feel the heat transfer through glass for yourself. Here's what to do. Air seal: Caulk is a great weapon against window air leaks. A thin line of caulk can seal junctures at siding and window frames. Rope caulk works great to seal window sashes. Clear caulk stops those rattling and leaky window panes. Repair: Rotting and warping wood window frames should be repaired or restored if you choose not to replace. Replace: Old, single-pane windows are no match for efficiency and home comfort compared to modern Energy Star-qualified two- and three-pane glass. Moreover, window replacements give your home’s curb appeal new life. If any of these prove to be a little bit too much to do on your own, call professionals like those at Glasshopper Schor Glass to help you. Ductwork Problems Your furnace and central air systems work hard to churn out warm and cool air for your home. However, it’s your ductwork that actually transports the conditioned air to where you need it. Like your windows, air ducts waste energy in two major ways — air leaks and transferring heat energy. Insulate ducts outside the heating barrier, and use heat-resistant metal tape to seal loose and leaky ducts. Energy Vampires Unlike the fictional vampires of fables, literature, and movies that only lurk around at night, energy vampires suck the electricity out of your sockets 24/7/365! This is because many products and appliances — large and small — and electronic gadgets plugged into electrical outlets use energy whether they're on or off. The two most practical ways to stop these energy vampires from sucking the life out of your energy budget every month is to use power strips and shop for Energy Star-qualified products where possible. So, connect all of your cell phone chargers, microwaves, toaster ovens, espresso machines and the like to power strips, and flip the switch when not in use. Only perform DIY projects that you can accomplish safely. For the best results reducing energy waste in your home, contact your home service professional.
  19. Whether you plan to heat the house, office or warehouse, using propane is the right choice for your budget and the environment. People using propane vehicles notice the differences when they stop using petroleum and save more money on their rides, according to research by the U.S. Department of Energy. Today, people count on propane as the ideal source of clean energy in homes and buildings. Propane is Not a Hazard Propane is a colorless, odorless gas that is nontoxic. Whether it's referred to as a natural gas byproduct, liquid or fossil fuel, it is clean and produces far fewer toxins than gasoline. Propane vehicles promote clean cities by releasing fewer smog-causing particles. In your home, a propane heater does not release harmful gases into the air or cause environmental pollution. Affordable for All Households Homeowners use the Btu formula to compare the costs of heating a home with propane, electricity or natural gas. Determine the amount of power you need before you determine the cost per energy unit. Know that propane is a highly energy efficient source that works well throughout the winter. Find air, water, space and tank heaters that are all powered with propane fuel. The heaters vary in volume capacity from 100 to 1,000 gallons. Avoid the highest costs of electricity when you have a propane device in its place. There are no electrical cords, so the equipment is portable and convenient to use. The liquid propane tanks are ideal for use in mobile space heaters. Preserve the heat inside of your propane tank with a cover, which is found only through companies like Powerblanket. A Backup Source of Energy Anyone not sure about the reliability of propane should use it as a backup. During a power outage, families do not have to wait for the utility company to restore power, which is a process that could take days or weeks. Many homes have standby generators that run on propane or natural gas. The device runs automatically after it detects an outage and continues running for weeks or months later. In case you are away, certain companies have monitoring systems that allow you to monitor the status of a generator remotely. Emissions regulations have changed the ways that people look at energy. Now, more of them see propane as the clean, alternative option that works in homes and businesses. They will continue to rely on propane as an important source of heating, comfort and significant energy savings.
  20. Going green can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don’t know how to apply these principles at home. At first, it might seem like everything is trying to destroy the planet. However, these four tips will help you make the difference that you’re looking to make right from your own home. Grill One appliance that may use propane or other forms of energy is the grill, but that no longer has to be the case. It might be a good idea to consider a solar-powered grill that will not use up electricity or force you to purchase propane. These grills can fry, bake, boil, and grill by using the power of the sun. This is a tasty way to help the earth! Generator One way to power your small appliances is by using generators. Solar-powered generators will allow you to use your basic appliances without plugging them up to electricity. Generators do not last too long, but it should provide enough energy throughout the day. This is really what you want since most of the electricity produced by factories ends up releasing unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. Hot Water Everyone knows that water heaters work with gas or electricity, but did you know that you can install a solar-powered hot water system? Yes, and it should work just as efficiently as any other hot water appliance would work. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the annual cost associated with hot water can be cut using a solar-powered hot water heater, like those you can get from Degree C Pty Ltd. This also means that electricity use will be down, reducing your carbon footprint. Solar Panels This is perhaps the most expensive option, but it is one worth mentioning. These panels are installed on the roof of your home by professionals and are meant to provide the house with a sufficient amount of energy. Think of it as installing a large-scale generator that will power up your entire house. The expense is one reason why some do not opt for this choice while others do not want to install these panels above their roof due to several reasons like aesthetics or the stability of the roof. Nevertheless, it is a good option for those who would not mind installing these panels. These are just four ways that you can go green by using solar-powered appliances or making additions to your home. There are more ways that you can harness the power of the sun. Do not be afraid to make the switch that will help you save some cash and help the planet
  21. Keep your office warm without seeing the bill skyrocket. It takes only a few, small changes to keep the heat in and keep the energy usage down. Here are several energy-efficient tips to preserve the warmth in your office. Lower Your Thermostat a Few Degrees You save energy with every one or two degrees you turn down. Make adjustments whenever you feel the weather change throughout the day. Maintain warm room temperatures within 60 to 70 degrees. At the end of the month, you will save at least a few dollars on your heating bill. Also, invest in a model that switches on and off automatically so that it does not run endlessly. Invest in Tote Heaters To store liquids and chemicals, use a tote heater that is known for its energy efficiency. Preserve the heat while keeping your liquids warm for hours. If the tote works right, you will not have to adjust the thermostat too high. The Powerblanket brand states that it is important to look for a safe and efficient heater. You cannot use your tote on a heater that overheats and smokes easily. Also, find a product that fits snugly around the heater and is made of a strong, long-lasting material. Check the Filter Replace the filter in your heater at least once a year. Dirt prevents the flow of air into the heater and decreases its efficiency. Also, maintain the furnace so that all of its parts work properly. Look for Leaks Keep the heat in the room by plugging up the leaks. Look for cracks and holes around the doors and windows. Consider sealing the leaks with caulk that is used in home construction. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances Replace your old appliances with new ones that have the Energy Star labels. Solar heaters are popular devices that keep the home powered all day at no cost. Once you start using your new machine, notice significant increases in your monthly savings. If the heating bill costs $1,000, you could cut it in half and save money for more important household needs. There are many ways to keep your energy usage down in your office. One option is to buy a brand-new appliance that is built for convenience and energy efficiency. Another option is to keep the temperature down on the thermostat. Make as many adjustments as you need to maintain optimal warmth and comfort while you work.
  22. In today’s world, keeping costs down is important and this is especially crucial for new homeowners. If the utility payments get out of hand, it is very easy to fall behind on all your bills. To alleviate some of the utility costs, consider what you can do and what tools can be used to make your home more energy efficient. Here are some tips for cutting back on energy use and how to make life at home a lot easier. Energy Audit Every homeowner who wants a more energy efficient home should consider a professional energy audit. While you can conduct one yourself, the professional may hit on areas you have overlooked. They start by checking your home for air leaks and making sure you have the proper insulation installed. While doing this, they will be certain that the home is ventilated properly to prevent harmful toxins from getting back into your home. Further study will be done on all systems in the home, including appliances, the heating and cooling system, and lighting. Energy Star Appliances Should you choose to not have an energy audit done, the first step in using less energy is to install Energy Star certified appliances in your home. This includes the refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, stove, and dishwasher. Many homeowners tend to forget about the hot water tank as they often do not think of it as an appliance. Appliances with the Energy Star certification will operate on the lowest energy possible. Appliances on receive this label if they pass the government standards for energy use. Heating and Cooling System Outdated systems or systems that are not properly maintained will use more energy. Anything over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing. However, even a new system must be properly maintained in order to be at its most efficient. Filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly and ductwork cleaned prior to using at the beginning of a season. This can be done by scheduling an inspection of your system by a professional. The above steps are a great start in making sure your home is energy efficient. You may also wish to replace lightbulbs with Energy Star certified ones and after putting all the time and effort into making it efficient, protect your home and investment with an ADT security system. Your home should be considered like a business. Keeping the costs low will put more money in your pocket and allow you and your family to spend it on the things you enjoy. Make sure the investments you put into yours are worth it.
  23. It is impossible to live without heating and cooling your house throughout the year. However, energy costs are usually one of the biggest expenses in a home every year, but you can drastically reduce this expense by making your home more energy-efficient. If you take the time to make these four changes to your home, then you will have no problem cutting down on your energy bills in your newly efficient home. Install New Windows If you have not replaced the windows in your home recently, then there is a very good chance that they are not energy efficient. Old windows naturally start to get leaky cracks over time, which allows unwanted air to enter and leave the house. If you have old leaky windows, then you will have to spend more on energy costs to keep the house at your desired temperature. New energy efficient windows will ensure that this will never happen again. Replace Pilot Light On Your Propane Furnace A propane furnace is a great way to heat the house because it is much more energy efficient than an electric heater. While you are already saving money on your heating costs, there is a way to make your propane furnace even more energy efficient by replacing the pilot light on the furnace with an electric igniter. You will be required to ignite the electric igniter every time you want the furnace to run, but this will come with a lot of savings when compared to an always-on pilot light. You also can use products such as a Powerblanket to help keep your propane tanks energy efficient and even more effective. It is amazing how many tools are out there to help you with things like this. Add Insulation You can never have too much insulation in your home. The insulation traps the outside air and keeps it from entering the home to make sure your home remains a comfortable temperature throughout the year without spending a fortune on energy costs. Insulation is much more effective when added upstairs and in the attic. Seal Up The Ducts Air ducts carry the hot or cold air throughout the house to help maintain your desired temperature. Over time, these ducts will start to let more and more air escape through leaks and cracks. This air will never get to its intended destination in the house, so you will be forced to keep the heater or air conditioner running longer than necessary. Using duct sealant on your air ducts is the only way to ensure that all of the hot or cold air is being properly circulated throughout the house. There is no need to waste money on energy costs when it so easy to make your home more efficient. It may require a little extra work around the house, but you will be happy you followed these four tips after you see the results.
  24. Green and eco-friendly construction is the way of the future. Current homeowners are doing what they can to make their homes green through small (or large) remodeling projects. While some can get pricey, the long-term pay off for any green project is immeasurable. Technology is being developed every day to advance green building practices, maximize renewable resources, and reduce our carbon footprint. If you are looking to make your home more environmentally friendly, here are a few suggestions for your next remodel. Cool Roofs Cool roofs are quickly becoming the way of the future according to professionals at Roland’s Roofing. The special tiles and reflective paint reflect sunlight and heat, keeping the home cooler in the summer. This reduces the need to use an HVAC system, saving the owners money but also reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. Reclaimed Floors Reclaimed wood is being used more and more for flooring projects in homes. Reclaimed wood is durable, renewable, and recycled, meaning no new trees have to be cut down. Backing without harmful VOCs is also becoming more popular to create a truly green floor. Although not reclaimed, bamboo flooring is also on the rise since it is inexpensive, durable, and the plant matures quickly. Solar Panels More home owners are opting to go solar. Solar panels are fairly quick and easy to install, increase home value, and pay themselves off in 5 to 10 years depending on your energy use. They also require little long-term maintenance. Direct Vent Fireplaces Homeowners who want a fireplace without the hassle of a fire place are turning to direct vent fireplaces. Wood-burning fireplaces may be charming and romantic, but they require a lot of upkeep and the pollutants they produce can irritate your lungs. Direct vent gas fireplaces use air for combustion and can be vented vertically or horizontally, meaning you don’t need a chimney either. Storm Water Management When remodeling, don’t forget the outside. Landscaping the outside of your home to better manage large volumes of water will come in handy after a big storm. Not only can this help prevent flooding, plants in your yard will be able to absorb the water and purify it as it soaks into the soil. This also helps curb erosion in more rural areas. Just because you are not in the market for a new home doesn’t mean you need to miss out on green home trends. Use the above ideas to improve your home as well as the environment around you.
  25. The winter season poses several problems for Colleyville residential and commercial property owners. Sudden temperature drops can freeze pipes and cause leaks, flooding and expensive remediation. It can also take longer than usual and cost more to get repairs during emergency calls this time of year. To make your plumbing system more efficient and less likely to break down this winter, do the following: Add More Insulation One of the best ways to prevent pipe freezing is by using insulation to maintain warmer temperatures in certain areas that are affected the most by outside temperatures, such as exterior walls, crawl spaces, attics and basements. Additionally, you should wrap cold and hot water pipes. Insulated hot water pipes are not only less likely to freeze. They are also less likely to lose heat, which means you can turn down your hot water heater and save on your electricity bill. Keep in mind that insulation is useless unless you also seal any gaps at windows, doors, vents or other areas along exterior walls with caulk and other sealants. Shut Down Outdoor Water Sources Since outdoor water sources can freeze much easier than indoor ones, it is important that you turn off water to outdoor faucets and attached water systems like garden and irrigation hoses. After the water is completely turned off, drain, remove and store the hoses and then wrap each faucet with an old heavy cotton t-shirt or towel, a heavy duty plastic freezer bag and duct or shipping tape. Keep Drain Pipes Clean Frozen pipes and related problems are not the only thing you need to worry about this winter. One of the biggest problems that plumbers hear about during the holidays is drain clogs. To prevent an emergency plumbing situation when you are trying to enjoy festivities with loved ones, install mesh debris catchers at the top of the drain pipes in each sink to collect hair, food and other debris. These traps are also a perfect year-round solution to prevent large debris clogs. The secret to preventing clogs from soap scum, grease and microorganisms is cleaning the pipes at least once a month with a simple homemade method: Pour one pot of boiling hot water down each drain followed by one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Wait five minutes and then follow up with another pot of water. Invest in a Plumbing Inspection Things can go horribly wrong with your system for no other reason than a part breaking down because of age or defect. To help lower the chance of winter plumbing surprises, contact an experienced plumber like those at Piece of Mind Plumbing, a company that offers plumbing services in Colleyville. A plumbing specialist can determine if your system is at risk for leaks and other issues like water heating problems or if it needs a thorough professional cleaning. You rely on plumbing throughout the day for so many things, including hot showers, cold drinking water and waste disposal. These few steps can make certain that your plumbing performs optimally all winter long.