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Found 82 results

  1. Owning your own home comes with plenty of responsibilities, not the least of which is ensuring that your home has as small of an impact on the environment as possible. This sounds great in principle, however, in practice, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. Here are a few tips to beginning a “green” lifestyle while still maintaining the lifestyle you currently enjoy. Upgrade Your Home on Time Your appliances and HVAC system use the majority of energy in your home. That’s why it’s so important to replace them using energy-efficient models when the old units break down. That’s the key, though. You need to wait until the old units are no longer operable before replacing them with new models. Sure, new models are likely to use less energy, however, the energy required to produce the new model and dispose of the old one will far outweigh any energy savings you gain through early replacement. Recycle It All Recycling is, of course, a great way to ensure that the materials you don’t need anymore do not fill up the landfill. What’s crucial with recycling, however, is to truly consider how to recycle all that you can, not just those materials that are “easy,” such as cardboard, glass, and aluminum. One category that can be more difficult is electronics. Since they contain so many precious metals as well as harmful materials, proper electronics recycling is absolutely crucial. Utilize a company such as Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc. that is trusted and works to keep all waste produced in the United States instead of shipping it off to contaminate another country. A Note about Pets Pets, for people of any age, can be wonderful to release stress, build responsibility, and provide many years of enjoyment. If you’re seeking to live “green,” however, the environmental cost of owning a pet must be considered. Whether it’s a dog whose food puts a big stress on food supplies and shipping resources or fish whose tank accessories are operating 24/7, pets can do more than their fair share of harm to the environment. Taking steps like buying locally-made dog food or utilizing a fish tank that can cycle itself without electricity are good ways to lessen the environmental impact of your pet while still retaining all the benefits of owning one. Turn off Those Lights Though we all know the importance of turning off lights when we leave a room, it’s a habit few of us actually practice. If you find yourself consistently unable to remember to flip the switch, consider investing in some automatic light switches that turn off after a period of inactivity in a room. These work especially great in areas that people don’t frequent, such as a bathroom or a basement, but where lights are still frequently left on. Reach out Though the impact of the steps you take in your own home is certainly important, the biggest change happens when others take notice of the changes you’re making and seek to make some changes themselves. Be open with those who ask and have the information handy to help them make changes in their own lives, as well. The cumulative effect of many people making changes will truly make a big impact on making the world a better place.
  2. Trying to be as environmentally-friendly as possible is something that most homeowners want to do. Some are doing it because it ends up saving them money while others worry about the kind of effect they are having on this earth. The following are five tips for eco-conscious people moving into a new home. Good Appliances It is important that you replace some of the appliances in your home. You need to make sure you install eco-friendly appliances that will not drain your electricity or will not use so much water. You do not have to switch all your appliances at once, but start as soon as possible. Water Management Homes can waste a lot of water due to mismanagement. You can take steps to ensure your home manages water in a few ways; for example, you can install automatic sprinklers. These should be set to wet your grass at night or early in the morning to avoid heat, which evaporates water and ends up wasting it. It might also be a good idea to think about using drought-resistant plant life to reduce water use. Recycling Is Key Sometimes, it is overlooked but it is important that you contract rubbish collectors as soon as you move into your new home. The right company can ensure your home recycles early on by providing containers such as skip bins for your needs. The waste removal company should be able to tell you what happens to your trash and recyclables if you are wondering. Get Educated You need to take steps to learn about living eco-consciously. There are a few things that you can learn so that you can be more eco-friendly like composting some of your trash, which can be used to feed lawns or gardens. Taking steps to becoming knowledgeable in everything eco-friendly should make things easier for you. Consider an Inspection It is important that you have your home inspected as often as possible. You probably already went through an inspection before purchasing your new home but that does not mean there haven’t been any changes. What you want to pay attention to are leaks, which could be wasting water or cracks or window seal issues. These problems could make it harder for your AC to work, which ends up using more energy and that is not what you want. Hopefully, some of these tips make it easier for you to live as eco-conscious as you can. Be sure to talk to other eco-friendly homeowners to see if there are other steps you can take.
  3. Energy efficiency is one of the smartest contributions you can make to your household budget and to the future of our planet. If you adopt just one single eco-friendly strategy listed herein, Mother Nature and your wallet will certainly thank you. Some of the strategies may require you to make an initial investment that will eventually pay for itself in terms of savings. With this in mind, here are four strategies to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Switch to LED or CFL Light Bulbs Compact fluorescent lamps and LED light bulbs are between 35 to 65 percent more efficient than their traditional counterparts. Depending on your lighting usage patterns and the number of illuminated spaces in your house, you could save between $40 and $60 per year with LED bulbs. Keep in mind that keeping lights on during the daytime will result in higher electricity bills. Choose Smart Ways to Conserve Water Municipal utilities are forced to apply a substantial amount of energy to pump drinking water to your house. At a time when major cities such as Cape Town in South Africa are suffering major water shortages, you should do your best to conserve water at home. Three tips to get started: install low-flow shower heads and faucets, wash only full loads of laundry, and turn off water that you’re not using when you shower or brush your teeth. Bury Your Electric Cables Exposed and aerial electrical cables are at a higher risk of becoming damaged. A smarter and more energy-efficient way of organizing electrical wires and cables is to bury them. Underground wiring installation minimize the risk of power failure due to damage to electrical cables during extreme weather conditions. This is something to be done by a trained professional, however, like those from Motor Shop Electrical Construction Co. Modernize Your HVAC System If you live in a warm region, chances are that your air conditioning unit is the most expensive line item in your monthly electricity bill. For this reason, you should invest in a smart thermostat and an overall upgrade. This does not mean that you will have to replace your compressor. Depending on the age and condition of your A/C unit, a seasonal tune-up may be all you need to make it energy-efficient. In the end, you should strive to adopt the four strategies listed above and conduct further research on household energy efficiency. Learning more about this subject may prompt to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle that can holistically improve your health.
  4. If your family is like many, there is a good chance that you waste a lot of electricity in your home. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to reduce your energy consumption. Follow these steps if you’re interested in doing so. Turn Your Home into a Smart Home First of all, if you haven’t yet implemented smart home automation in your home, then now is a good time to do so. Along with making your home more comfortable and intuitive for your family, this can help you conserve energy. For example, a programmable thermostat can help you avoid wasting energy with your HVAC system, and being able to turn off lights that were left on from a touch of your smartphone can help you conserve energy as well. Plus, as an added bonus, adding smart home components to your home can help you increase its value and make it much more appealing to potential buyers if you choose to put your home on the market later on. Invest in the Best Window Coverings One simple and affordable change that you can make is to invest in the best window coverings possible for your home. Look for those that are designed to filter out sunlight, since this can help you dramatically reduce your heating bills. It can also help you make your home more comfortable, prevent glares and protect your furnishings and flooring from fading. Plus, there are tons of modern and attractive styles, so buying new window coverings is a great way to update your home’s decor at the same time. Change out Your Light Bulbs If you haven’t yet switched out all of your household light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, now is the time to do so. This is an affordable project to tackle, and it’s something you can do yourself. Swap out Household Appliances If you’re ready to make an investment, consider swapping out your household appliances. Older refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances use a lot more energy than newer models. Some, like washing machines and dishwashers, also waste water. Buying new, eco-friendly appliances can help you save on energy and help the environment. As you can see, there are a few things that you can do if you would like to control how much energy you use at home. Then, you can lower the amount that you pay for your electricity bill each month, and you can feel good in knowing that your family has taken steps to reduce its impact on the environment
  5. When you put your home on the real estate market, you hope for a fast sale at the price you desire. Many factors affect the price of a home and it’s ability to sell quickly, such as hire a mortgage company to help you with your home loans, but you can take proactive steps to attract buyers by ensuring it looks its best, both inside and out. Many sellers take great pains to repair and paint the inside of the home but neglect the small improvements on the outside that can make a big difference in securing a buyer. Here are five tips for improving your yard that prospective buyers will appreciate. – Trim Back Overgrown Foliage Mature trees and shrubs may have become so overgrown that it detracts from the overall appearance of your home. Take some time to assess your landscaping to see how it affects the look of your home. Trim back tree branches that are hanging over the roof or obstructing windows. Remove broken or weak branches to improve the tree’s shape. Thin out shrubs to make them look neater. A well-maintained property will help you to achieve a fast sale and a favorable appraisal, so a mortgage company will be happy to lend to your buyer. – Add Yard Lights Lighting your entryway attractively or highlighting unusual plants can add a distinctive touch that makes your property stand out from the rest. Lights near the back door can also provide a look at security and safety. A variety of new types of outdoor lighting is available that is easy to connect and that can be utilized in a number of ways. – Design an Inviting Entryway with Plants A curved bed with colorful flowers can make a big difference in how the entrance to your home looks and feels. A small ornamental tree near the front steps can also help to improve the look of your front entrance. If you have a porch, put up a few hanging baskets with colorful flowers. These small touches can help to attract potential buyers to your property. – Reseed or Sod Your Lawn Many lawns have bare or worn areas that could use a bit of rejuvenation. Generally, this may occur along spaces that see a great deal of use or under the shade of trees. Do some reseeding of the lawn in open areas. You may want to use sod in shady areas, where grass may be difficult to grow. – Put Tools and Toys in Storage Lawn equipment and outdoor toys left in yard areas tend to create a messy appearance that can devalue your property. Collect all unused items left in yard areas and organize them neatly in your garage, basement or in an attractive storage shed in a discreet corner of the property. These changes will help you to present your home in the best possible light. A neat and tidy yard reflects the care you give to the rest of the property. Buyers look for homeowners who maintain their properties both inside and out. These tips can help to ensure that prospective buyers get a good first impression of your home.
  6. Being conscious of the environment is an important responsibility that everyone shares. Those that are looking to be greener and more conscious of their impact on the environment should start their efforts at home. There are four important tips that someone could follow that would help anyone to be more environmentally friendly at home and reduce their carbon footprint. Recycle One great way to be greener at home is to set up a regular wastewater filtration system. All families and homeowners can make a big difference if they make even simple changes to their recycling habits. As opposed to throwing all of your waste into the garbage, taking time to separate and organize the recyclables and putting them into the appropriate bins will be helpful. Furthermore, people should always look to use reusable bottles and plates as opposed to using items that will be thrown away after one use. Water Usage When you are looking to be more green and efficient at home, it is also important that you watch your water usage. Access to clean drinking water is quickly becoming problematic for people all over the world. All people, regardless of where they live, need to find ways to reduce water usage. Some of the best ways to do this can include taking shorter showers, being more efficient when watering the lawn, and simply being conscientious of water use. Home Automation and Smart Technology Another way that you can help to reduce your carbon footprint at home is by using smart appliances and home automation systems. Smart thermostats, smart power strips, and smart light switches can all be used to learn your behaviors and change settings when a certain room is not in use. Through a home automation system, you will also be able to change the thermostat in your home, turn lights and appliances on and off, and control other parts of your home that can help to reduce your overall energy usage. Purchase Efficient Appliances One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to purchase more efficient appliances. Energy efficient refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, hot water heaters, and other appliances can all be used to drastically reduce your energy and water usage. While taking steps to help improve the environment is important, there are additional benefits that come with making greener decisions. Those that make certain investments and upgrades to their home could qualify for federal tax credits and will also see a reduction in their energy bills.
  7. Sustainability starts in the home. But are you doing everything you can to create an eco-friendly house? There are many ways you can make your house greener and more energy efficient. Use these tips to learn how to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Insulate Your Home How well insulated is your home? Many homes do not have insulation in the basement or attic. This is where most of the unwanted air flow enters your home. Because of this, cold air will enter your home in the winter and warm air in the summer. This means your heating and air conditioning will need to work twice as hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. To lower your heating and cooling costs and stop wasting energy, install additional insulation in your home. Make Sure Everything Is Running at High Efficiency Check your appliances and ensure they are working as efficiently as they can. If your appliances and home fixtures are not working as efficiently as they should, you will be spending more on your energy bills. For example, a low-efficiency furnace will require more energy to heat your home. Call a professional furnace repair company, like Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc., to inspect your furnace and fix anything that needs to be fixed. The same goes for all of your large appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine. Additionally, when it comes time to replace any appliances, make sure you choose ones that are energy efficient. You can tell because they will have the Energy Star logo on the tags. Turn off the Lights Your parents might have been onto something whenever they yelled at you to turn off the lights. Anytime you leave a room, remember to turn off the lights. Doing so can save a lot of electricity and thus lower your bills. The last thing you want is to waste energy on things that nobody is even using. Switch to Green Energy Sources There’s never been a better time to upgrade your home to green sources of energy. Consider installing solar panels on your roof to power the house. This is a fantastic way to make your house eco-friendlier and save on energy costs. Plus, you may even be able to get a tax break after installing the solar panels. There are tons of ways you can make your home greener. In doing so, you can save yourself some cash and save the environment, too.
  8. Being environmentally conscious is becoming an increasingly popular idea, and there are many steps that homeowners can take to aid in this objective. Homes are a major contributor concerning energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and many other factors that have a direct effect on the environment. As a homeowner, there are a variety of actions that you can take to make your home have a positive impact on the environment, and here are four tips to do so. Conserve Water Water is a critical resource that is used for a variety of purposes, and conserving it is highly important. There are many steps that you can take to reduce your water usage, including taking shorter showers, installing more efficient nozzles, and eliminating excess water usage in your yard. Be Energy Efficient Homes consume a large amount of energy, but there are many simple steps to reducing your consumption. One of the biggest ways is to replace your lightbulbs with LEDs. These bulbs have a very long product life, reducing the need to purchase replacements. They also are highly efficient and reduce electricity usage. Another way to decrease energy consumption is to unplug items that aren’t in use because, even if they aren’t in use, the outlet is still pulling power and using electricity. Compost and Recycle Composting is a great way to reduce waste and reuse various products from in and around your home, including grass clippings, leaves, food products, and others. These items can be added to a composter, and after they break down, they can be used as fertilizer for your yard or garden. Recycling is another great way to reduce waste, and recycled items can often just be placed in a separate bin and can be picked up just like trash. Soil Stabilization Soil stabilization offered by businesses like T. Luckey Sons, Inc. and similar companies is often overlooked as a green option. If, however, the soil beneath the foundation under your house is damaged it can cause damage to your house and the environment through erosion and organic degradation. This issue is easy to get under control through the use of soil grouting and other stabilizing solutions, and addressing issues early can reduce larger problems in the future. As resources are becoming increasingly scarcer and more information is coming to light about the importance of protecting the environment, it is important for everyone to contribute however they are able to. As a homeowner, there are many different steps that can be taken to help reduce your environmental footprint.
  9. While we likely won’t see a world in which every home is solar powered, trash is turned into fertilizer, and everyone grows their own produce, there are a number of things that you do at home to be a little greener. Going green once meant you simply recycled all your trash bags and conserved water when brushing your teeth, but today there are so many more things you can do. If you want to do your part to make your home environment more green, check out these environmentally friendly living tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint from the inside out. Conserve Energy Energy conservation is one of the first steps you can take toward going green, and today it’s easier than ever to implement these energy-saving practices. Here are just a few ways you can start reducing your energy consumption. • Switch your light bulbs. – Incandescent lightbulbs use up to 75 percent more electricity than compact fluorescent bulbs. Switch all of your existing bulbs to fluorescent bulbs and save energy (and money). • Turn the lights off. – Another great way to save energy is making sure lights get turned off when not in use. If you and your family forget to do this, then consider either installing automatic light sensors or timers on your lights to regulate when lights are turned off. • Unplug unused appliances. – Even when not in use, your appliances and other electronics are using electricity. Conserve energy by unplugging unused appliances and electronics, including your television, computer, lights, toaster, and other items. • Install an alarm system with energy efficiency options. – We have all left a light on at home, or even left the heat running when we were going to be gone for the day or even for several days. This is one of the biggest drains on energy, so help yourself and the environment out by installing an alarm system that will help you manage your energy. NorthStar alarm reviews show great options that allow you remotely power off appliances, control your lighting, and monitor and manage your home energy usage. Improve the Air Quality Another way you can go green at home is by improving the air quality around you. This measure is one few people think about, but is just as effective as other options. • Grow indoor plants. – Plants function as natural filters for the air, removing harmful pollutants and even odors. Fill your home with natural air cleaners including spider plants, palm trees, and Boston ferns. • Install a carbon monoxide detector. – If you heating unit is emitting carbon monoxide, it is polluting your home and the environment, which can even be deadly. Prevent this type of pollution by installing a carbon monoxide detector available from your local hardware store. Reduce Toxins Make an effort to reduce the toxins you use and bring into your home. While this effort isn’t always easy, there are many more options today than ever before. • Get rid of toxic chemical cleaners. – Start with the cleaners you use throughout your home. Ditch toxic chemical cleaners, and choose more natural options instead. There are many varieties available today, but you can also make your own with regular household products like vinegar and baking soda. • Reuse cleaning cloths. – Instead of using paper towels and other disposable items to clean, opt for reusable cloths you can toss in the wash. You’ll cut down on waste and save some money at the same time. Doing your part to go green at home makes a big difference, and it’s not that hard to do. Start on your path today to a greener home environment with these simple tips.
  10. When it comes to saving energy, you can consider your whole home as a system with the potential for better performance in many areas. Lower power consumption basically comes down to insulation and improved efficiency. Here are five steps to making your home more energy efficient. Your House’s Envelope Be certain that your walls and attic are thoroughly insulated. The less energy you’re losing, the less you have to generate. Rolls of insulation may do for an unfinished attic, but use blown-in insulation to add a little extra to exterior walls. If you’re due for roof repair or replacement, inquire with local roofing companies like Cloise & Mike Construction Inc about some modern options designed to provide better insulation from the top down. Upgrade Windows Most temperature loss comes through thin window panes. If the windows are old and have small gaps, they could be the biggest energy-wasters in your home. Be sure that your window frames are sealed with caulk or weather-stripping. If budget allows, you should upgrade to energy-efficient modern products that provide a better seal and much better protection. Be sure to look for EnergyStar products. Install Awnings Think about the windows in your home that admit the most sunlight. You can buy and attach awnings over these windows to block out the sun in the hot weather, and roll them back to admit sun when it gets cool out. You’ll find awnings in any number of sizes, colors, and styles to suit your home’s exterior. Some must be hand-cranked into position, but you can also find motorized products that make it easy to extend or retract the awnings. Maintain Your HVAC If your heating, ventilation, and AC unit is more than 10 years old, consider an upgrade to more energy-efficient models. Be sure your HVAC is scaled accurately to your home’s interior volume, as inadequate systems will work harder while over-sized systems will waste energy. At the least, have your HVAC units checked yearly to see that they’re in good order. Clean or replace filters as needed, and be sure to have your ducts checked to remove any accumulation of debris constricting air flow. Improve Your Hot Water Heater If you have an old water heater, you might want to consider upgrading it to a more efficient EnergyStar model. Keep the water temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure that the lines coming into the home are insulated to reduced heat loss. You should also consider adding some loose insulation around the heater itself. To minimize your hot water use, consider adding low-flow, aerated faucets and showers. If you really want to save energy you should consider upgrading to technologies like smart lighting systems or solar panels. But don’t forget that the most important way to conserve energy is to stop being wasteful.
  11. Making your home more energy efficient can reduce your carbon footprint. There are some simple changes that you can make to be more efficient in your home. For a larger impact, use these solutions to make your home more green. Energy Star Appliances Appliances are scored on their annual anticipated energy usage. The Energy Star Program is run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA looks at all models that are on the market and determines their total energy consumption. It is a completely unbiased analysis designed to aid the consumer in making a purchasing decision. Consider replacing your older appliances with ones that have a higher rating. Not only will you be helping to reduce carbon emissions, but you will be saving money on your electric bill. New Windows Older windows allow more air leakage than newer models. This is especially true if your home has single pane windows. Even windows that have aluminum frames and older vinyl windows can become less efficient over time. This is due to the seals on the windows breaking down with exposure to the elements. Not all windows are created equal. New windows are rated for certain climates. There are even varieties available that offer triple pane windows. This reduces the amount of air lost and helps with noise control. Upgrade Your Heating or Cooling System Even with routine maintenance on your AC or furnace, the parts can break with the passage of time. It may be time to consider upgrading to a more energy efficient model, like those you might get from a provider such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. Something to take into consideration is the amount of usage of your system. You need to size your unit correctly based on the amount of square footage in your home. Sometimes it may even be prudent to oversize your unit if it sees heavy usage. This will allow the unit to run less while maintaining the desired temperature. Install Solar Panels For the most extreme solution for going green, solar panels are it. This is not a solution for everyone. It can be costly. There are government rebates that can be utilized to help offset the expense. Your home also needs to have a certain amount of roof square footage and sunlight exposure. With the installation of solar panels, your home can generate its own electricity. The surplus can then be sold back to the power company. This can also help to offset the major upfront expense for the installation of the solar panels. Energy efficiency in your home can be a huge expense. There are programs that can help with mitigating the cost. Consider these solutions for making your home more environmentally friendly.
  12. When you look at the windows in your home, you might see everything from streaks to fingerprints. You can get window cleaners at retail stores that will clean the glass. Another option is to make your own cleaner with products that you probably already have in your home to clean your windows without spending a lot of money. Vinegar and Water A simple DIY cleaner uses white vinegar and water. Combine two cups of water with half a cup of vinegar in a bucket. You can add a squeeze or two of lemon if you want the mixture scented. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe the cleaner on the windows. Rinse with water, and wipe the windows dry with a clean cloth. Apple cider vinegar can also be used and offers a better smell than white vinegar. Rubbing Alcohol If you want to remove a large number of streaks of prints from the windows, then combine rubbing alcohol with warm water. A cup of each liquid is enough to clean the windows. You can use a cloth or even newspaper that you roll into a ball to clean the windows. Sometimes your windows can get so badly stained that seemingly no amount of effort will clean them, or the glass may have scrapes or cracks that are unfixable. In these cases, Valley Glass Utility or a similar provider in your particular locale can help you install completely new windows. Baking Soda Combine about three teaspoons of baking soda with a cup of water and a cup of vinegar in a bucket. The baking soda will offer an added component that will help to lift the dirt from the windows. It’s important to clean the windows with the solution as soon as you add the baking soda so that it works on the surface instead of letting it linger in the bucket. Corn Starch If you don’t want to use products that have a strong scent, then combine cornstarch with about a teaspoon of vinegar instead of a larger amount and two cups of water. This will create a paste that you rub on the windows. Let the paste sit for about 10 minutes before wiping the windows clean with water and a cloth. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to clean your home. Use a few products from your cabinets to make glass cleaner that will leave your windows sparkling. Large amounts can be made at one time and kept in a spray bottle to use later.
  13. Being energy efficient does also include saving an extra cash by cutting down energy use other than just those in need of protecting the environment. During winter seasons, a lot of energy goes to waste when maintaining the warmth of the house. Curbing expenses regarding efficient use of power at your home during winter require the following steps. House Insulation Air sealing, attics, and walls should get enhanced with additional insulations materials to ensure that walls, windows, and air vents remain appropriately taped up. Insulations guarantee that warm air stay inside and cold air outside hence less energy used to warm the interior environment. Warm air from the house remains held up from escaping out, and correspondingly, cold air from outside stay prevented from getting in. Therefore, there exists a barrier separating the cold exterior environment from a warm interior air. Replace Previous Home Equipment Old domestic devices have less energy-efficient models compared to modern and fresh ones which have a lower energy use. Making a replacement or advanced repairs to these pieces of equipment will lower electrical bills hence energy efficiency technologies. The experienced personnel at companies like A & E Heating and AC Inc. are always available and can get to your home and repair the appliances you have ensuring increased energy efficiency at home during winter. Installing Solar Panels Solar systems help to reduce the energy costs extensively as it enables you to generate your electrical energy. With this method, home energy gets utilized efficiently during winter hence prevent energy losses. In this case, solar energy replaces power from a usual source as it has total potential in performing a similar function of energy production. Use of Appliances Economically When new domestic devices get home, they come with a user manual which guides you when using these energy using gadgets. You should familiarize yourself with proper operation techniques of these gadgets. Additionally, you should reduce their energy costs by minimal use, for example, heating systems should at all times stay used efficiently. Also, they should be switched off when not in use or unplugged completely. As a result, energy used remain lower similarly to expenses. Energy usage typically increases during winter when warming up the air. Any heating uses energy which at last remains compensated for at any quantity use. Efficient use of power lowers the costs payable resulting into extra savings, especially during winter. Henceforth, to enhance efficient energy use during winter at homes, adopt the techniques mentioned above to the latter.
  14. A good well is a priceless part of off-the-grid living, and maintaining one can be surprisingly easy. However, first-time well owners may find that there is a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly if they damage the well or cause contamination. Here are three simple ways to avoid those troubles and keep your well running smoothly. Keep An Eye On The Calendar Regular water testing is an important part of maintaining a healthy well. In most places, an annual test for bacteria and other contaminants is enough. Check with your local health department when working out a maintenance schedule, however, because some areas may have specific risks that require more frequent testing. During this annual check, it’s also a good idea to give your system a routine flush with chlorine as a preventative measure, as well as checking the flow rate to make sure your system is working as well as possible. Watch For Changes Most of the time, wells run just fine with just a little preventative maintenance. However, even properly maintained wells can develop contamination issues for reasons ranging from failing equipment to flooding from major storms. If you notice any changes in your water quality, schedule another water test immediately, and consider drinking bottled water while you wait for the results. These changes can include cloudy or discolored water, new odors or a strange taste. Changes in the rate of the water flow can also be a sign of trouble. Pumps may become sluggish or inefficient before they break down completely, or a broken pipe may be causing you to lose water pressure without totally disabling the system. Know When To Call The Professionals The average homeowner can handle some minor maintenance, but for most issues it’s best to call in qualified professionals, like those at Taylor Heating Inc. Wells are more complicated than they seem, so a problem that would be minor and easy to fix for an experienced technician may turn into a major headache for a homeowner. Inexperienced people also may accidentally introduce dangerous bacteria into the system while doing something as simple as removing the well cap. Wells are a major investment, so it’s important to take the time to keep yours running smoothly. Preventative maintenance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By scheduling routine testing and treatments, addressing any potential problems and finding qualified professionals to work with, your well can last a lifetime.
  15. Image Source: Pexels The fall season is sometimes the best time of the year to make your home energy efficient. You usually don't need to use the air conditioner or the heating system as much as you do in the summer and winter. The season gives you an opportunity to explore the home to look for any cracks under the doors or near the windows that need to be sealed and any issues with the heating system that need to be repaired. Seal Air Escapes Walk around the home to see if there are any areas where the heat or air might escape. Common areas are underneath doors, around windows and even through electrical sockets. It won't cost a lot of money to seal these areas that allow cold air into the home while you're trying to keep the house heated. Consider using plastic on the windows and on screens in the doors to keep cold air from entering the home. If you can keep air from invading, then you won't need to use the heating system as often, which will save you money. Check The Electrical System Before you turn on the heating system, you need to check the filters and the vents. A professional company, like Universal Refrigeration, can come to the home to examine the electrical components of the heating or cooling system to ensure that they are working properly. You might want to remove the air conditioners from the windows as these can allow cold air to enter the home through the cracks that might be around the unit as it sits in the window. If your heating unit needs to be replaced, you need to find one that is energy efficient as this can save a significant amount of money on your utility bill. Keep It Cool If you're someone who doesn't need to stay hot in the fall or winter, turn the thermostat down a few degrees instead of keeping it set at a higher temperature. Before going to bed and if you leave the home for long periods are the best times to turn the thermostat down so that it's not running as much when no one is in the home. A programmable thermostat is an option if you want to install something that will automatically adjust at a certain time or at a certain temperature. Keeping your home at the right temperature can take some work. You want to ensure that it's comfortable without spending a lot of money at the same time. After examining the home, you can often make adjustments that will save you money and keep everyone warm or cool during the year.
  16. 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.
  17. Image Source: Pexels Decluttering your home can be a cathartic process, but many people don’t notice just how much waste they really have until they start going through each of their rooms. You could end up dealing with dozens of bags of electronics, batteries, lawn chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other items that are hazardous to the environment. As you are planning this project, you should think about some ways that you can clean up and straighten your home without sending too many items to the landfill. Search For Valuables Before you consider any other options, you might first want to sift through all of your items and see if there is anything worth selling. Even if you donate or recycle most of your belongings, there could be a few pieces that are actually quite valuable. Old smartphones, consoles, video games, movies, books, and computers can easily be sold online or to local dealers. Some companies even send you prepaid packages to ship your electronics to them. Donate Another great option is to offer your unused belongings to a local donation center, like Action Donation Services. In addition to household items, many of these organizations accept cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and other vehicles. Depending on where you live and which organizations you go through, you might even be able to use your donations as a tax write-off. Some companies also allow you to choose which non-profit is going to benefit from your donations. Find A Hazardous Disposal Center Many homeowners don’t realize that it is actually illegal to throw away certain household items. Even though most trash companies carefully inspect and sort all of the refuse that they receive, you could be fined if they notice any dangerous or toxic materials. Some of the materials that need to be kept out of the trash include batteries, prescription drugs, certain electronics, paint, motor oil, tires, and lawn chemicals. Plan A Garage Sale A large percentage of your items won’t be worth much money, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to the landfill. Scheduling a garage sale is a simple way to get rid of quite a few things in a short period of time. If you want to attract more visitors to your yard sale, then you should consider having a multi-family sale with some of your friends and neighbors. Most local magazines and newspapers offer free or affordable ad space as well. Cleaning your home doesn’t need to be an exhausting project that results in hundreds of pounds of waste being sent to your landfill. You most likely live near dozens of different organizations that will help you get rid of your possessions in an eco-friendly manner. At the very least, you must make sure that all of the hazardous materials in your home are disposed of in a safe and legal manner.
  18. Over the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve resources. With more and more information about the planet's dwindling resources and the increasingly frightening findings about the effects of climate change, most eco-conscious people commit to working toward finding new ways to make their property more environmentally friendly. “As you look around your own property, trying to think of ways to make a meaningful contribution to protecting the planet and trying to help its recovery, you will find plenty of ways to pitch in on the efforts while adding value to your property. Take a look at some of the ways we believe create a win for you and the planet.” - Brentwood Home - Natural Home Suppliers Wrap It All Up With Insulation One of the most effective, and often overlooked, improvements you can make to an aging home is to either add or replace insulation in your home. Don't forget to address window insulation issues by changing their insulation to double glazing. Take care of areas that feature wall and cavity loft space, which is where the outer wall is made of block or brick while the interior wall features concrete block or breeze block. When you fully insulate your home, you will reduce your winter heating bill, therefore reducing your yearly costs and helping reduce your energy usage. As a bonus, home buyers like you will appreciate buying a home that features quality insulation. Harness the Sun's Power With Solar Energy While a more initial expensive entry in our list, solar power pays off in less obvious ways at first, and it definitely pays off over time. Install solar panels on your home's roof to attract the sun's energy, capture it and use it for our property's individual energy supply. You will love the immediate energy savings while boosting your property value for future home buyers. An added bonus for installing solar panels includes, depending on your state, potential solar rebates and tax credits. It's Raining, It's Pouring, So Catch That Essential Resource and Use It If you live in a climate outside of the desert, chances are good that you see plenty of rainfall each year. You hear it streaming through your home's gutters, which flows away, not making any real impact. For a small cost, you can install water catchers to capture and rainwater, which you can store for later use in your garden or flowerbed, or you can simply use it to water houseplants. This small addition provides solid savings and is a wonderful feature future home buyers will appreciate.
  19. 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.
  20. Today, more people are incorporating green designs and technologies into their homes, and for very good reasons. It provides a safer environment for your family, saves on energy costs, and helps to cut back on contaminants that wind up in the environment. Here are some ways to make sure your home isn't a part of the problem. 1. Energy Audits An energy audit can tell you where and how your electricity is being wasted, whether it's poor insulation or inefficient appliances. Better energy efficiency means less demand and less environmental damage from utility companies, not to mention saving you money. You can get an auditor fairly cheaply, perhaps even from your own electric company. Savings over the long term will more than justify any cost. 2. Maintain Your Heating and Cooling System If your HVAC system hasn't been inspected or replaced in years, it may be wasting energy. Old systems won't run as efficiently as newer models. Even if it's new, verify that it's properly sized for your living space. Inadequate systems have to work harder, while oversized systems draw more power than you need. Also be sure to replace filters, inspect for gaps, and clean ducts periodically so the air flow isn't impeded. 3. Have a Strategy If you don't have any kind of green policy at all in your home, you may be doing more damage than you ever realized. There are a lot of green ideas you can use even on a limited budget. Start recycling, using new energy-efficient lightbulbs, and get in the habit of conserving water and electricity. You could compost yard waste to avoid buying and using chemical-laced fertilizers. At your next home remodel, plan on using recycled or green products. 4. Fresh Water Conserving fresh water is also important to the community and life in general. If you're connected to municipal water lines, water quality is your local government's responsibility. But if you have your own well, it's important that the water is tested periodically by a company like Water Systems Council. Contaminants can be introduced through seepage and rain runoff from the surrounding soil, which may include chemicals like pesticides or industrial byproducts, as well as natural pollutants like radon, nitrates, arsenic, and animal waste. If you have a well as your water source, it's essential to ensure that the water is safe and clean. Every home needs maintenance and the occasional update. If you want to minimize any damage to the environment, try making green practices a part of your lifestyle.
  21. Thank you for your desire to adopt a green lifestyle! Our Earth isn't getting any younger. While some environmental damage is reversible, lethal diseases and animal extinction are not. Here are five home services increasingly turning green. Landscaping Eco-friendly commercial landscapers use methods that save water, eliminate harmful chemicals, protect wildlife, and reduce pollution of soil, water, and air. They also minimize maintenance. Water Conservation Fountains and waterfalls are refreshing landscape elements. Landscapers install fixtures that recycle water. In plantings, crews group vegetation with similar water needs into separate zones. They also use drought-resistant native vegetation. Having adapted to local conditions, these plants require less water and care. Ground covers, in particular, reduce evaporation from bare soil. Landscapers also save water by installing automatic sprinklers with rain sensors. Controller devices further adjust watering according to the seasons. Or a landscaper can manually adjust a sprinkler system every other month. To minimize water loss through evaporation, technicians program sprinklers to activate in the early morning. Alternatively, you can have a landscaper replace natural grass with synthetic turf. Quality artificial turf has the same lush appearance and soft texture of live grass. Plus, you avoid the maintenance requirements of aerating, watering, mowing, fertilizing, weeding, and edging grass. If you keep a garden, landscapers can install a drip irrigation system. Water droplets ooze through perforated hoses, directing water to plant roots. Overhead sprinkling wastes water by delivering it to plant surfaces, where it quickly evaporates. Spreading mulch over bare soil conserves water, inhibits weeds, and reduces erosion. A landscaper can offer you several mulch options, such as wood chips, bark, gravel, coconut fiber, and recycled tires. Eco-conscious landscapers source wood mulch from pruned branches and bark. Eco-friendly landscapers also help the environment in the following ways: Pest Control. Native plants are more resistant to pests than foreign species, reducing the need for pesticides. They also attract beneficial insects and birds that eat harmful bugs. Eco-conscious landscapers use organic insect oils to kill pests in their young stages. Natural systemic soil drenches target pests, leaving the ecosystem unharmed. Plus, they only need to be applied once yearly. Fertilization. Chemical fertilizers are high in phosphorus which leaches into groundwater, lakes, and streams. Phosphorus is toxic to aquatic life. Phosphate-free fertilizers eliminate this risk. Organic fertilizers release slowly and last longer than chemicals. They activate soil microbes, fighting off disease and improving soil health. One type of organic fertilizer used is untreated, composted grass clippings. Pest Control Pest control companies like American Pest Control Inc are taking a holistic approach to eradicating insects, using nontoxic chemicals and practices. Employing a dual strategy, they address both infestations and their causes. Pheromone Traps. Pheromones are compounds insects secrete, by which they communicate. Synthetic versions of these chemicals are applied to lures, drawing pests into sticky traps. Fly Lights. These devices use ultraviolet light to attract flying pests to a glue board. On sophisticated models, you can vary the UV output, from 25 to 100 watts. Sticky Boards. These traps have adhesive surfaces to which crawling insects stick. Technicians place sticky boards in hot spots where pests congregate. Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). These synthetic proteins thwart or inhibit insect life cycles. Since pests don't reach maturity, they can't reproduce. IGRs are specific to insect species. For example, one designed for fleas prevents eggs and larvae from reaching adulthood. A roach IGR makes it impossible for the bug to shed its exoskeleton, a necessary stage in development. Repellents. Natural dusts contain pyrethrum flowers and silica. When pests contact these substances, their bodies desiccate. Repellents target ants, silverfish, fleas, cockroaches, and bedbugs. Sanitation. The goal is to hamper insects' access to food and water. Try to clean up spills promptly, keep lids on trash containers, and regularly remove garbage from your property. Also, eliminate sources of standing water, and repair roof and plumbing leaks. Maintenance. Ensure that screens fit tightly and windows and doors are securely shut. Weather stripping helps. Close cracks in your home's exterior with weather-resistant sealant. Carpet Cleaning Companies typically use toxic chemicals, releasing fumes and leaving residues. Since we're exposed to them through our noses, mouths, skin, and eyes, they enter our bloodstreams. Side effects include dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Some solvents are potentially carcinogenic for the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Additionally, rinse water with poisonous chemicals is dumped into drains, killing our soil, streams, rivers, and oceans. Eco-conscious carpet cleaners use natural products, such as extracts of grapefruit, lemon, and orange. Carbonating bubbles lift soil from carpets. These products are free of noxious chemicals, making them safer for people and pets. Commercial operators also use them to clean rugs and upholstery. Natural carpet cleaners effectively eliminate pet odors, dust mites, spots, dirt, and grime. Safe products are green-certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute. Home Construction Each year, producing concrete releases tons of carbon emissions into the Earth's atmosphere. One reason is that processing the limestone needed involves heating it to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Mining virgin sand and gravel for concrete depletes riverbeds, beaches, and land quarries. Eco-friendly building contractors swap concrete for sustainable building materials. They can incorporate them into your cabinets, counters, floors, walls, insulation, and roof. You may be familiar with some products, such as reclaimed lumber, recycled glass, and re-purposed plastic. However, exciting options now in use may be new to you. Straw Bales. Compressed straw forms interior walls. It can stand in for concrete, plaster, wood, fiberglass, stone, and the mineral rock gypsum. When sealed, straw bales are highly insulating. Rammed Earth. Mechanical tampers compact soil inside wooden forms, creating strong exterior walls. HempCrete. Hemp fibers are reinforced with lime, yielding blocks with the strength of concrete. Being lightweight, less energy is needed to transport them to home sites. Bamboo. This woody grass is stronger than concrete and brick. Since it grows so rapidly, bamboo is an easily-renewed building resource. Most commercial bamboo comes from China, where it's cultivated without chemicals. Bamboo is used for house frames and floors. Mycelium. Mushroom and fungus roots are trained to grow around pulverized straw in molds. The resultant lightweight, durable material is then cut into blocks. Ferrock. This material is made from waste steel dust and recycled glass. When hardening, the iron within steel absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide. Silica from glass further reinforces iron. The resultant product has more compressive strength than concrete. For this reason, ferrock is nicknamed "green cement" and "carbon dioxide sponge." Ferrock also resists cracking. It has more "flexural strength," the ability to withstand stress before bending and breaking. Ferrock saves steel dust and glass bottles from ending up in landfills. By trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, less is available to create a warming greenhouse effect. Here you can learn more about why ferrock rocks! AshCrete. This product consists of 97 percent recycled materials. One of them is fly ash, a residue of coal-burning power plants. Traditionally, most fly ash ends up in landfills. However, when mixed with lime and water, the resulting compound is a tough alternative to cement. Carbon Concrete. This thermoplastic is made from a byproduct of oil refining. It's primarily used in flooring. Housecleaning A reputable housecleaning service employs well-trained, experienced, industry-certified technicians. They use state-of-the-art equipment that can handle large-scale, difficult jobs. Examples are cleaning your ductwork, scrubbing baseboards, and polishing windows. A green cleaning service fosters a healthy home environment. You aren't exposed to toxic chemicals in the air or on surfaces. There's less risk of developing respiratory illness. Eco-friendly cleaners reduce smog-producing gases. Green-certified products contain benign, effective natural ingredients that are safe for people and pets. When comparison shopping for a green cleaning contractor, look for proof that employees are bonded and insured. Trustworthy companies have extensive screening procedures, including criminal checks and drug testing. Ask for references from clients the companies serve. Also preferable is a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Additionally, choose a company with green certification, such as that awarded by Green Seal. Products should be free of phosphates and phthalates. Vacuums should have HEPA filters and be endorsed by The Carpet and Rug Institute and American Lung Association. Housecleaning employees should also use dual-chamber buckets and microfiber cloths and mops. The Green Bandwagon Our world needs more eco-conscious people like you! Now you know even more about home services for green pest control, landscaping, carpet cleaning, construction, and housecleaning. Share your knowledge with neighbors, family, and friends. Get them on the bandwagon to keep greening efforts moving!
  22. 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!
  23. The summer season is rapidly approaching, which means we will start to experience hot weather very soon. Staying cool inside your house is one of the best ways to beat the intense summer heat, but it can also lead to high energy bills. These are the four best ways to stay cool in your home this summer without spending a lot of money on energy bills. Install an Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner Purchasing and installing a new energy-efficient air conditioner may seem like a big expense, but it will actually save you money in the long run. An energy-efficient air conditioner will be able to cool your home to your desired temperature without drastically raising your monthly energy bills. An AC unit similar to the ones offered by Seliga Heating and Cooling will ensure you never have to suffer in your own home just to save a few dollars. Use Your Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans are great in the summer because they can increase your comfort level by a few degrees without using much energy. A ceiling fan is able to provide a cooling effect by circulating the air in a room. While they are not powerful enough to cool an entire room on their own, they can cut down on your usage of the air conditioner. Make sure to limit your energy consumption by turning off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. Block the Sun with Shades and Curtains If you want to keep your house cool during the summer, then you need to do everything you can to keep the sun out. You may be tempted to open the shades and curtains for some natural light, but this will only make the house hotter. Blocking the sun with shades and curtains may create a dark atmosphere, but it is a completely free way to cut down on your cooling bills. Program the Thermostat There is absolutely no reason to cool your home when you are not there. Programming the thermostat to your work schedule is a great way to cut down on your energy bills without having to sit in a hot house. The programmable thermostat will prevent the AC unit from running during the day, but it will turn back on to cool the house to your desired temperature before you return from work. Summer is a beautiful time of the year, but it also brings unbearable heat to most of the country. There is no reason to sweat in your home this summer when it so easy to avoid. Just follow these four tips and you can cool the house without ruining your budget.
  24. Becoming more energy efficient isn't just about preserving the environment. It can also provide substantial savings on your monthly power bills. You may have decided it's too much trouble, or costs money for greener technologies. There are really a number of simple, affordable things you can do. Here are four ways to start saving energy. Efficient Kitchens Kitchens are one of the most energy-intensive areas. You can save power by cooking more than one meal at the same time, so that tomorrow's dinner only has to be warmed up. When cooking meals or desserts in cold weather, let the heat circulate to the rest of the house to reduce the burden on home heating. Wash the dishes on warm instead of hot, and avoid pre-rinsing dishes that don't need it. Don't cook small pans on big burners, or vice-versa. Heat and AC HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems shouldn't be turned on if you don't need them. Even slight adjustments could be wasting money over the course of a day. Put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat, or a pair of shorts instead of turning up the AC. It's also important to have your AC system checked by a professional, such as those from Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. before peak summer temperatures. Inefficient operation or clogged ducts forces the AC to work harder and wastes electricity. Efficient Cleaning Saving energy with household chores just takes a little effort and common sense. Don't use warm water where cold will do, or hot water where warm will get the job done. Try to use appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers at full capacity in order to avoid wasted electricity. Consider hanging up your laundry rather than using the dryer, or removing it before it's fully dry. Use dust mops and brooms instead of dragging out the vacuum cleaner. Energy-Efficient Homes Fans and dehumidifiers can help to reduce AC costs. Letting in the sunshine will reduce heating and lighting expenses. Additional insulation and sealing of window or door gaps will help save money on both. Also add insulation around your hot water heater and hot water lines. Get everyone in the household into the habit of turning off anything that isn't being used. Consider solar-powered lights for the exterior. Saving electricity is just a matter of a little proactive planning and developing good habits. Start with the easy and affordable solutions. In time, you might be ready to move up to solar panels or smart thermostats to save even more.
  25. If you are looking to save money by generating your own power at home, solar is the way to go. To completely wipe out your utility bills, you have to get a system that is big enough to generate all the power that you need. Once you have your materials, you can maximize energy production by putting them in the right places and keeping them maintained. Calculate Your Needs Before You Buy Before you shop for solar panels, you should know how much electricity your home needs. You can figure this out by looking at your utility bills to see how many kilowatt-hours you used. To account for seasonal energy demand and consumption trends, you should look at statements from the past year. Once you know how much energy you use, you can figure out how big your solar power system needs to be. Panels almost never produce their maximum rated power. You have to buy more kilowatts than you use to account for the amount of sunlight your location receives. The U.S. Department of Energy has some useful equations and maps that will help you calculate how many kilowatts you really need to meet your energy needs. Make sure you explore all of your options by checking out inventory from suppliers like ML Solar and any other place so you can get the best price. Put Your Panels in the Right Place Even if you buy enough solar panels, they won't work too well if you install them in the wrong position. They obviously need to go in a sunny spot, but you should understand a few other positioning factors that will affect your power system's performance. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is on the southern horizon, so south-facing panels get the strongest sunlight. If this is not an option on your property, west is the next best choice. This is because homeowners tend to use the most electricity in the late afternoon, especially during the summer air conditioning season. Your panels also need to be placed at an angle in order to receive the most direct sunlight. The size of this tilt depends on your location and the time of year. You can use this calculator to determine the proper angle for your setup. It is best to buy some adjustable racks to properly tilt your panels toward the sun's rays as the seasons change. They will pay for themselves with the extra power you will produce. Keep Your Panels Working Well Solar power systems are very low maintenance, but there are a few things you need to do to ensure a continuous supply of power. Most of the work involves cleaning the panel surfaces to remove the grime that blocks sunlight. Washing dust and bird droppings off your system is very similar to washing a car, but you should use a special kit that is designed for cleaning solar panels. Your system won't produce a lot of power if it is blocked by leaves in the fall and snow in the winter. Make sure you clear them off whenever you rake your lawn and shovel your driveway. If there are any trees near your solar array, you also may need to trim the branches whenever they grow big enough to cast shade over your panels. A solar power system will produce all the electricity that you need with the right research, setup, and maintenance. When you keep the right sized system working efficiently in the right place, you can say goodbye to all those high energy bills.