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Found 26 results

  1. Having a man cave is a great way to make your family life better. It gives you privacy and a place to be a guy without interruptions. However, it can also be an energy hog. From televisions to sound systems and more, you need a way to make your man cave more energy efficient so it doesn’t break the budget. Here are five great ideas to get your started. Lighting Your man cave might have a variety of specialty lighting. Some of it is for mood, while some of it is for being able to see well. This is true whether you plan on gaming with the guys, doing your own projects, or simply wanting a bright space. However, you should consider switching to more energy efficient bulbs that output the same amount of light without using up all of your electricity. Sound You don’t need to break the bank to get a better sound system. When you invest a little more, you are buying a better efficiency ratio while not sacrificing the sound quality. This means you can enjoy surround sound and integration of your phone, computer, and tv while loving the whole experience and especially the reduction of electricity costs that it brings. Doors and Windows Doors and windows are one of the main parts of your home that leak energy like crazy. Something from a provider that offers better sealing and energy efficiency like Edelen Door can do the trick of giving a beautiful entry without the leakage that occurs in most doors and windows in homes all around the country. Solar Power Installing solar panels on your roof is not for everybody. However, it can be a great way to make things more efficient. Not only are they green technology, but they pay you back year over year. Insulation Your walls in your garage are not very energy efficient. This is, unless of course, you have the proper insulation. Investing a little more in insulation now will save you a lot in the long run. When it comes to having your man cave in the garage, it is something that you can cherish for a long time to come. However, you don’t want to make the mistake of paying for more energy than you need to. Then, your getaway simply becomes another huge bill to pay at the end of the month. So save your wallet by using the simple tips above to get more energy efficiency out of your manly space.
  2. When you program your thermostat, you reasonably expect the thermostat to maintain the entire home at the desired temperature without hassle at all times. In many homes, however, there may be a significant temperature differential from room to room. This can cause a thermostat to work overtime, which can result in skyrocketing energy bills. If you are having trouble with your home’s thermostat, the problem may not actually be related to this device. Instead, it may be related to various other features throughout the home. Upgrade Your Home’s Windows Residential windows are no longer made out of a single thin pane of glass. Instead, they are usually at least double-paned with an insulating gas layer between the panes. They also may have an additional coating to further promote energy efficiency. If you notice draughts in your home, it may be a sign that your windows need to be replaced. Through professional window and glass service from a company like Valley Glass Utility, you can upgrade to new higher-quality windows that offer improved insulating benefits. Seal Doors and Windows Annually The type of windows that are installed in your home is not the only factor that can cause draughts and uneven temperatures in the home. When doors and windows are not well-sealed, they can allow external air to flow into the home. The thermostat may seemingly not work efficiently when this happens because it will struggle to maintain the desired temperature while the window and door seals work against it. Resealing the doors and windows is a smart way to save money on electricity related to heating and cooling the home. Improve Insulation External air can also penetrate into the home through the walls. Insulation is typically installed between the exterior walls to act as a buffer, but fiberglass insulation can deteriorate, be damaged by pests or simply slouch down in the wall. Fiberglass insulation may need to be replaced periodically. You may also consider using spray-in foam insulation. This type of insulation is more resistant to some types of damage that fiberglass insulation is prone to. It is easy to assume that climate control issues in the home are caused by a faulty thermostat, but you can see that there are many other factors that play a role in how effectively the thermostat can do its job. A smart idea is to inspect each of these factors closely and consider getting a professional opinion to determine if upgrades or replacements would help you to save money on energy costs going forward.
  3. The earth is currently going through a lot of challenges. This includes global warming, extreme weather, pollution and more. If these challenges are to be overcome, it’s going to require action from everyone. This certainly includes homeowners. There are steps you can take as a homeowner to lessen your impact on the environment. Below are four strategies for making your home more energy efficient. Upgrade Your HVAC System One of the biggest drains on your energy efficiency is your heating, ventilation and cooling system, also known as an HVAC system for short. According to Derek Sawyers Smart Energy Heating & Air, your system should probably be upgraded if it’s older than 15 years. Newer HVAC systems run much more efficiently. This means increased energy efficiency and lower utility bills every month. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs Another idea you should consider to increase your home’s energy efficiency is upgrading your light bulbs. Traditional incandescent light bulbs run very hot. This means they use a lot of energy and also wear out much faster as well. Newer compact fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, run much cooler when producing the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. According to the US Department of Energy, compact fluorescent lights use 25 to 35 percent of the energy that incandescent lights do. They last significantly longer as well. Upgrade Your Windows Another source of energy inefficiency in your house could be your windows. Older windows especially tend to leak a lot of air. This means that your furnace will have run much harder to keep your home heated during the winter. It also means your air conditioner will have to work much harder to keep your home cool during the summer. If your windows are significantly old, consider upgrading them to more energy efficient windows. Program Your Thermostat Many people run their HVAC system too often. This wastes energy and results in high utility bills. Instead of running your system all the time, program your thermostat so the heat or air only runs when it’s needed. You, for example, don’t need to run your air conditioner as much when you’re at work and your kids are at school. The carbon footprint of homes certainly has an adverse effect on the environment. If everyone took the steps outlined above, however, some of that negative impact could be curbed. Don’t stop here. There are plenty of more strategies you can use to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
  4. There are lots of perks to installing more energy efficient windows in your home. Some of the benefits provide more of a cost incentive than others. Here are just a few of the reasons that having more energy efficient windows will be good for your home. Lower Heating and Cooling Bills One of the best benefits that you can receive from a monetary standpoint from new windows is that your heating and cooling bills can be lower. New windows tend to be more energy efficient. This means that you’ll most likely notice less drafts around your house. Older windows often allowed air to enter and exit your home freely. This meant that it was costing you more to maintain the temperature in your home. Maintained Home Comfort Newer windows are better at warding off temperature fluctuations in your home. What this means for you is that you can more easily maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home. A comfortable home is more of a luxury when it comes to the costs associated with installing more energy efficient windows. Look into using a company like Edelen Door and Window to help you through the process. Decreased Sound Pollution You may be surprised to learn that energy efficient windows can also make your home quieter. This is because they’re better sealed and tend to be better at dampening the sound. That means that not only does less sound enter your home, but less sounds will leave your home as well. You don’t have to worry about the neighbors complaining about your loud movie night with the family. Protected Home Finishes One of the new features on energy efficient windows is that they provide better shielding from solar radiation. You can even add an extra layer of shielding to reduce solar radiation from entering your home. It’s the solar radiation that can cause your flooring to become discolored over time. This is even more apparent if you have wood flooring in your home. Areas that are protected from the sun tend to be lighter in color than those that are exposed to the sun. There are of course the better known reasons that installing energy efficient windows is the right choice for your home. Consider some of these lesser known perks if you’re torn about whether to spend the money on new windows right now. Your home is an investment, but you should also enjoy living in your home for years to come.
  5. When you want to save money while using your home’s furnace this winter, you must make sure that the climate-control equipment is operating efficiently. In some cases, you can fix a heating system on your own with a do-it-yourself repair, but alternatively, there are times when you should contact a professional heating and cooling technician. Here are five ways to make sure that a building’s heating system is operating efficiently. Learn More from a Professional Technician You can read a heating and cooling company’s website to learn more about furnace repair. Companies such as Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc., often have informative blogs that will help you determine why a furnace costs too much to operate. When you notice that your heating bills are increasing, read the information at the blog to troubleshoot the problems with your furnace. Change the Furnace’s Furnace Each Month It is essential to change a furnace’s filter once a month to have clean air, but this will also help the warm air to circulate optimally through your home. Make sure to understand the correct size of filters for your heating system. When you are shopping for filters, buy extra to have throughout the winter to avoid any trips to a home improvement store during a snowstorm. Clean Your Home’s Venting System Every Week In addition to mopping floors and vacuuming carpets, you should clean your home’s venting system each week. Use a dust wand to reach inside the vents to remove cobwebs and household dust that collects inside the items. You may also need to wash the vent covers to remove a buildup of debris that prevents proper airflow. Verify that a Home’s Windows Are Closed Walk through your home to check all of its windows are closed completely. If the windows have latches, then make sure that the items are turned in the correct direction to seal out cold drafts that can lead to a colder home. When the caulking around the window frames are degraded, use liquid caulking to fill the openings to make your home’s furnace more efficient. Make Sure that a Home’s Vents Aren’t Blocked It is important to uncover all of your home’s vents by removing any furniture that is in front of the items. You should also make sure that long draperies or rugs aren’t covering the vents in each room. If you have piles of clutter covering the vents on the floor or walls, then you should clean your home. Is the Furnace Making Strange Noises? When a furnace is making strange grinding or squealing noises, this indicates that the equipment requires lubrication or a new part. Without a fast repair, you might spend more money on your monthly heating bills because the furnace is not operating optimally. Working on a furnace’s mechanisms and components is complicated, so calling a knowledgeable technician is the best plan for fixing your home’s heating equipment.
  6. The warehouse is a very important element of the supply chain for nearly any company that produces a tangible product. However, a lot of money can also be lost with how businesses maintain their warehouses. Part of this loss comes from a lack of energy efficiency. This inefficiency can also have a negative impact on the environment. With this in mind, below are some strategies you can use to keep your warehouse operations more energy efficient. Update Warehouse Lighting One of the biggest expenses and energy wasters for warehouses is lighting. Heating and lighting together account for 64 percent of energy use in most warehouses. Investigate different strategies for bringing lighting costs down. Implement more cost efficient choices like LED and T5 lighting. Also add motion sensors so lighting is only activated when it’s needed. If your warehouse is automated, you may not need to run the lights at all. Update Warehouse Heating Heating costs also take up a large portion of warehouse expense. Old furnaces and boilers do not run very well. They expend a lot of energy to heat a huge space like a warehouse very slowly. You should consider updating to a more energy efficient choice such as a fire tube steam boiler. Such a boiler can provide more energy efficiency compared to other boiler designs thanks to the use of many small tubes that provide more surface area to be heated for the same amount of boiler volume. Check Windows and Doors Temperature control is a big expense for warehouses. If a warehouse is not kept at a specific temperature, it may result in the spoilage of the goods stored within. Energy use for heat and air conditioning to maintain those temperatures in such a big space can be substantial. One way to lower the burden of your heating and cooling system is to check windows and doors in the warehouse to see if there are any gaps allowing cool or warm air to escape. Installing things like weather stripping may fix the problem. Overall, you may not be aware of all the many different ways your warehouse is wasting energy. This can impact the environment as well as your bottom line. Make sure to perform efficiency audits on a routine basis to assess if there are any steps you can take to increase your warehouse’s energy efficiency. You may be oblivious to some of the lead causes of your warehouse’s energy inefficiency.
  7. The dog days of summer are almost upon you. This means that you need to find creative ways to survive those hot days and nights. Make your home your refuge by employing some of these strategies. Invest in Fans The whole purpose behind fans is to circulate the air around your home. You have two options when it comes to investing in fans for your home. Window fans are a good option for you to cool your home down over night. You can either vent out hot air or bring in cooler air. Another solution is to install ceiling fans around your home to make the room feel a little cooler. Seal out Drafts There are lots of ways that hot air settles in your home. Once it’s there, it can be difficult to remove. The best solution is to prevent as much hot air as possible from getting inside. Add insulation into areas of your home that are lacking. Upgrade your windows or at the very least, seal them up against the intrusion of the outside air. Windows Provide Free Air Conditioning Opening your windows up at night is another great way to bring down the temperature in your home. You may want to look into a locking mechanism that will allow you to leave your windows open all night safely. Close the windows in the morning so that you can trap the cooler air inside your home. Another way to block out the heat is to use your curtains to limit the amount of solar radiation that enters your home during the day. Service Your AC Unit An air conditioning unit that hasn’t been serviced in a while may not be operating at peak efficiency. This could be costing you a significant amount of money on your electric bill each month. Look into companies like HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. They can make sure that your ac is up to par for the summer heat. Get Ahead of the Heat The cumulative effect of day after day of heat in your home makes it harder to keep cool. Program your thermostat at a moderate temperature so that you can avoid these spikes. Your unit only has to work harder when it needs to drastically cool your home down. Sleeping in a hot house is uncomfortable. If you have kids, this may become impossible. Use these tips to help you have a cooler, more efficient home this summer.
  8. Keeping your home cool during the summer can be challenging and costly during heat waves. All of that summer heat tends to build up inside your home and make it feel like an oven. You can employ some simple techniques to make your home more comfortable this summer. Another benefit is that you can also make your home more energy efficient. Service Your HVAC Your HVAC unit is like any other appliance in your home. If it isn’t cared for properly, it can start to experience problems. Consider using a company like Custom Comfort to give your HVAC unit a checkup. This will ensure that your AC can function in the most energy efficient manner possible when you do decide to use it. Set Your Thermostat Allowing your home to become too warm can make your AC less efficient. This is because it has to work that much harder to cool your house down to the proper temperature. Set your thermostat to a more consistent temperature. This will prevent your AC from having to work double time. Replace Drafty Windows Warm air leaking into your home can cause the temperature to start to rise. Those drafty windows are letting in a lot of hot air during the summer months. Replace them with more energy efficient models so that you can cut down on the air exchange in your home. Beef up the Insulation Add insulation into the attic, crawlspace, and above the garage of your home. You may want to consider adding insulation into your walls if you have an older home. This will increase the overall energy efficiency of your house. You may be surprised at how comfortable your home can be when it’s properly insulated. Use Natural Cooling Methods One of the more overlooked solutions to increasing the energy efficiency of your home is to use free methods of cooling it. Open up those new windows at night to let in cool air and release the warm air. You may want to use a window fan to facilitate the air exchange. A fan is much more cost effective than running the AC. There are other ways that you can make your home more energy efficient. Painting it a lighter color or replacing the roof with a lighter shingle also help. Adding landscaping that provides a little bit of cover is another solution. You may want to use several methods so that you can reap the most energy efficiency.
  9. Purchasing energy-efficient windows for your home is a smart investment that can reduce your monthly utility costs. Climate control accounts for 48 percent of the average U.S. Home’s energy usage. The right windows, however, will reduce your home’s heating and cooling needs by trapping thermal energy indoors. ENERGY-STAR Windows Windows touting the ENERGY-STAR logo are designed with strict standards to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. According to the organization’s website, replacing conventional single-pane windows with ENERGY-STAR windows yields an average savings of $126 to $465 per year. Low-E Windows Another type of energy-efficient window is low emission. Also known as low-e windows, they feature a special coating to better control thermal energy movement. You can expect to pay more than low-e windows than conventional windows, but it’s a smart investment that will save you money over time. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), low-e windows are 30 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient than conventional windows. Contact a window company like Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin for more information. Heat-Absorbing Windows Featuring a tinted surface to absorb solar energy, heat-absorbing windows are an excellent option to consider when replacing your home’s windows. Rather than simply reflecting off the surface, sunlight absorbs through these windows and into the home. For homeowners living in cold climates, heat-absorbing windows can significantly reduce heating costs during winter. Gas-Filled Windows It’s no secret that double-pane windows are more energy efficient than single-pane windows. The space separating the two panes insulates and protects against thermal loss. However, not all double-pane windows feature air between the two glass panes. Some are actually designed with gas. Gas-filled windows provide greater energy efficiency than air-filled windows. Argon and krypton, for example, are denser than air; thus, improving the windows’ thermal efficiency. Energy-Efficient Frames The frames used in a window’s construction will affect its energy efficiency level. Aluminum and other metal frames, for example, offer minimal protection from thermal loss. However, fiberglass and vinyl frames are often filled with insulation to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. When used in conjunction with the right windows, energy-efficient frames can reduce your home’s energy usage and lower your electric or gas utility bills. If you’re ready to take advantage of the cost-savings benefits of energy-efficient windows, contact a professional window replacement company today. They can provide personalized recommendations to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency in your home.
  10. Staying warm and cozy throughout the winter months is important, but many homeowners will deal with unpleasant drafts, high energy bills and other unpleasant issues. Your instinct may be to run the furnace more frequently to make your home warmer, but this is expensive and not necessary. There are many factors that can affect your comfort level in the home as well as your energy costs throughout the winter months, and tackling them head-on may help you to save money and avoid energy waste. These are some of the most effective solutions available to combat energy loss all season long. Upgrade Your Roof While the primary function of your roof is to protect your home from direct exposure to the elements and to prevent pest infestations, an important secondary function is to promote energy efficiency. Different types of roofs have various energy efficiency ratings. More than that, the condition of your roof can also affect your home’s energy efficiency. Consult with a roofing company, like Top Dog Roofing, to determine if your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. If you need to make a replacement, choose the new roofing material carefully. Re-Seal Doors And Windows Even when your roof is well-maintained and in great condition, be aware that the doors and windows can let climate-controlled air escape from the interior of the home. Seals around the doors and windows are designed to prevent this from happening, but seals will wear down over time. Re-sealing doors and windows throughout the home is an affordable and simple project that most homeowners can complete on their own. Update Your Insulation Another excellent idea to consider if you are concerned about conserving energy throughout the winter season while still keeping your home warm is to update your insulation. Because insulation is not easily visible, it is easy to overlook the importance of this component of your home. However, some insulation is not as energy efficient as other types. In addition, it can deteriorate or even slouch down in the walls to decrease its effectiveness. If you are thinking about updating your insulation, consider the benefits of spray-in foam insulation. Updating your home’s features is important if you want to decrease energy loss throughout the winter months. These are steps that can save you money throughout the season and that can also make your home environment more comfortable. Spend time reviewing each of these tips to determine which ones may be most effective for your home’s needs.
  11. As winter rolls in, many people find their energy bills rising quickly. While it may be difficult to warm your home throughout the winter without seeing some increase in your energy bill, there are several things you can do to conserve energy throughout the winter. Remove Phantom Power Users Phantom power users are devices and appliances that use small amounts of power whenever they’re plugged in, even when they’re not in use. To prevent this, attach your gaming systems, televisions, and other similar items to power strips and turn the strip off when they aren’t in use. Get used to shutting your computer down completely when you aren’t using it. Turn off appliances that aren’t being used. Phantom power can add a significant amount to your energy bill each month and is particularly wasteful because the power is being wasted without any of the benefits of using the device. Have Maintenance Done Even if you don’t do it every year, which is advisable, you should still call out professionals like Classic Air and Heating to inspect and maintain your air system. During the maintenance process, your system will be cleaned and examined to ensure that it’s performing at its optimal level. As a result, your unit won’t have to work too hard to warm your home. Drop the Temperature Every degree that you drop the temperature in your home throughout the winter could save as much as 3% on your energy bill. Even reducing the temperature overnight, when you’re wrapped up in bed anyway, can make a substantial difference in your energy costs. You don’t have to freeze yourself out, but if you keep the temperature a few degrees lower and bundle up a bit, you’ll save money and energy all winter long. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat A programmable thermostat will allow you to reduce the temperature in your home when you aren’t there, saving on your energy costs while still keeping your home comfortable when you’re at home. Many models can even be controlled by your phone. It’s not hard to see that you can save money and energy by only running the heater in preparation for being home and not when you know you’ll be gone. Many smart thermostats also integrate into smart home systems that allow you to turn on and off different lights and fixtures to save even more energy. Block Unused Rooms If there are rooms in your home that you don’t use on a regular basis, close the door and block the bottom of the door with a towel or blanket. This will stop heat and cold from that room interfering with the thermostat readings. The more space you have in your home, the quicker the heat can dissipate. Closing off rooms allows your thermostat to take its readings based on the temperature of the main spaces of your home. Additionally, you’ll want to keep doors to high traffic areas open so air can circulate easier. Seal Doors and Windows Small leaks and drafts can add up quickly as the warm air inside your home is replaced with cold outdoor air. Take the time to caulk around drafts in your windows and, if necessary, purchase a seal to place against your doors. This especially important at night, when temperatures drop. Controlling your energy costs throughout the winter doesn’t have to be your biggest challenge of the year. By implementing these simple tricks, you can watch your energy usage decrease and your energy bills become easier to handle.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Improving your home’s energy efficiency not only saves you money, it increases your comfort year-round. These five tips offer durable ways to lower the amount of energy it takes to cool and heat it. Some are do-it-yourself projects, while others require the help of a specialized contractor. Energy Recovery Ventilator These affordable HVAC appliances exchange stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air without increasing energy costs. The energy recovery ventilator (ERV) traps the energy in the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air. ERVs also remove humidity from the incoming air, which lightens the cooling load in the summer. Window Sealing Kits Unless you have thermal or Energy Star windows, you could be losing a good deal of heat to the outdoors during the winter. Clear plastic window sealing kits are available from home centers and online stores. They don’t interfere with the view and block air leaks and thermal transfer to the outdoors. Air Leaks and Ice Dams The air leaks from the ceilings into the attic reduce energy efficiency, and for the most part, they’re easy to seal with caulk and expanding foam. Besides the heated air that escapes into the attic into the winter, air leaks from the ceilings cause ice dams in the winter. Once you’ve sealed the air leakage, check over the integrity of the gutters. If they’re clogged or broken, rain or snowmelt won’t be able to drain quickly, which could also trigger ice dams. Companies like Innovations Siding & Windows can inspect your gutters and siding to make sure your home will withstand the damage that moisture causes to the attic or the envelope. Shade Screens Popular in the southern states for their ability to block solar heat on south- and west-facing windows, shade screens are effective in any climate. Screening materials are available online or at home centers. Some eliminate 90 percent of the heat entering through the glass. They don’t block the view and most homeowners take them down in the fall to take advantage of solar passive heating. Solar Cooking Cooking outdoors with a solar cooker on a hot sunny day requires no fuel. Solar cooking is an inexpensive and effective way to harness the power of the sun to cut energy consumption and produce delicious food. Bottom Line These suggestions will help you deal with the climate unique to this area. They won’t break the bank, and even if you need an expert, are easy to execute and will last for years.
  15. Most people maintain a clean interior setting each week while spending time at home. The air quality in your home has an influence on the health of residents who live on the property and will determine how well you breathe while spending time in the building. If you want to purify your space, there are a few important steps to take. 1. Use an Air Purifier An air purifier is a useful product that will remove dust, pollen, and pet dander that is present in the air. Use the product in the most used rooms in the home and keep it running for several hours each day to clean the air. 2. Replace Your HVAC Filter The filter on your HVAC system needs to be replaced every 30 to 60 days, depending on how much you're using it for each season of the year. The HVAC filter can become dirty over time and can cause dirt and dust to begin to circulate in the home. You can also have your air ducts cleaned and remove pollutants in the home, which includes synthetic fragrances and cleaning products that contain chemicals, according to apartmenttherapy.com. Opt for using household ingredients when cleaning and use soy candles indoors. 3. Schedule an HVAC Inspection Hire professionals from a company like Smedley & Associates to perform an inspection of your HVAC system and look for any repairs that are needed. The technicians can clean the parts and inspect them to ensure that cleaner air circulates in the home. 4. Close Your Windows Closing the windows is necessary to prevent pollen and environmental elements from entering the home to maintain a clean interior setting. You'll also want to use screens on the windows if you keep them open at certain times of the year. 5. Use a Vacuum Cleaner with a HEPA Filter When cleaning your home, use a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter to ensure that the dust and dirt aren't released from the product and go back into the air. Vacuum each week and shake out rugs every few days. Although you may suffer from allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues, there are ways to increase your indoor air quality. With the right products used and steps taken, you can create a cleaner interior setting that allows you to breathe deeply and improve any health issues or ailments that you may be suffering from throughout the year.
  16. As the weather turns warm and thermostats get turned down, many people will see a spike in their electric bills. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to make your house more energy-efficient. From simple steps that can be done in minutes to more intensive projects that may require hiring a professional, these tips can help lower your energy costs and make your home more environmentally friendly. Install Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans can drop the temperature of a room up to four degrees without using much electricity, but a four degree difference in your thermostat can lead to a huge difference in your electric bill. A window fan can also be used to cool a room much more efficiently than turning on the air conditioning, especially in early mornings and later evenings. Maintain the Air Conditioner If your air conditioner is in good condition, it will run more efficiently. Change the air filters regularly, vacuum and clean dust out of registers and vents, and clean around the exterior unit to ensure smooth airflow and not overwork the unit. It's also a good idea to have it professionally serviced once a year to troubleshoot any repairs and make sure it is running at peak condition. Install a Programmable Thermostat When you aren't home, don't keep the thermostat set low. If you are going to be gone at the same time every day, you can program the thermostat to raise while you are gone, then program it to lower to your preferred temperature about thirty minutes before you come home. This way you don't need to worry about re-setting your thermostat every day or forgetting to raise the temperature before you leave. Repair or Replace Old Windows Old windows can leak, and while the drafts in the winter are noticeable, they let a lot of warm air in in the summer, too. Caulking or weather-stripping around frames and leaky areas can help, but if your windows are old or single-paned, it may be worth it to replace them to a more efficient style of window. Have Your Home Insulated Insulating your home can make a huge difference in your home's energy efficiency. If your home is older, your home may be lacking insulation, or it may have lost its effectiveness. Having Reflective Optimizing Insulation installed by Parsons Construction Group in attics can reduce energy bills drastically and make your home significantly more efficient all year and has a lifetime performance guarantee. As the mercury creeps up, don't let your electric bill follow suit. Follow these tips to make your home more energy efficient to save money without sacrificing comfort.
  17. 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.
  18. Today, more people than ever are concerned with things like global warming, climate change and pollution’s effect on the environment. One thing that can contribute to a family’s carbon footprint is how much energy is required to run a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. However, there are strategies you can use to make the climate control in your home more energy efficient and less expensive at the same time. Use Your Windows Strategically One way to save money and energy in your home is to rely less on your HVAC system. It doesn’t have to be used all the time in every season. Windows can make a big difference all on their own. During the winter, open up drapes and shades to let in the sun’s warming rays. They can certainly heat up a room. In the summer, you may want to close them for the opposite effect. Opening or closing your windows as needed can also cool and heat up rooms depending on the temperature. It can also freshen up a room’s air supply if it feels stale. All of this is free and requires no expenditure of energy or electricity. Upgrade Your HVAC System However, homes in most climates still require an HVAC system. An HVAC system is not something that can be used indefinitely. Over the years, the components of the system wear out and become far less efficient. Older systems may have also been designed at a time when energy efficiency and global warming were less of a concern. Newer systems are designed with efficiency in mind and can also save you a significant amount of money month to month on energy bills. Certainly, consider an upgrade if you have had your HVAC for a very long period of time. Companies like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning can often utilize your existing system to make significant improvements, or replace your system altogether. Program Your Thermostat Another way you can be strategic regarding how you use your HVAC system is to program your thermostat. Many people don’t do so, and this is a mistake. Programming your thermostat can allow you to make sure the heat or air conditioning isn’t running when nobody is home during the work or school day. It can also allow you to lower the temperature at night when your family is sleeping and less heat is needed. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day can save you as much as ten percent on your monthly HVAC bills.
  19. As the seasons change from fall to winter, temperatures turn from comfortable to chilly. Depending on your location, temperatures can drop down drastically and create one frigid situation. So, how do you beat the cold? Most people would reach to turn on space heaters or dial up that thermostat. But, chances are good that your heating sources are consuming astonishing amounts of energy. Before heading over to the thermostat, there are several ways to tame the cold weather without wasting all that energy! Use Natural Heating Sources A simple way to be green in the winter months is to let some sun into your home by keeping the curtains open during the day! The heat from the sun can help keep your house warm without running the furnace all day. Turn Down Your Thermostat Energy officials recommend keeping your thermostat at around 68 degrees during the winter months. If 68 degrees just isn’t cutting it, try wearing sweaters, socks, or blankets around the house to bridge the gap. Also, try to avoid changing the thermostat throughout the day. Keeping the temperature consistent reduces energy consumption, and wear and tear on your heating system. Check Your Windows Considering that cold air can enter your home through tiny openings in your windows, it’s a good idea to take measures to make your windows work for you, not against you. For one, you could have your windows replaced. Windows can make all the difference by keeping warm air in and the cold air out. There are experts out there, like Statewide Energy Solutions, which specialize in energy efficient window and door installation. You could also seal your existing windows using caulking or weather stripping. Caulking is especially helpful for small gaps in windows. Weather stripping is used more for sealing moving pieces like large windows and doors. Keeping Up Your Heating Systems A simple yet practical solution to being energy efficient is to just maintain the upkeep of your heating and air system! Replacing the filters, cleaning your ducts, and having your system serviced will help cut down on your heating costs. It’s always a good idea to make sure everything is serviced and up to date to avoid any issues during those cold winter months! In short, there are many ways to be efficient during the winter months. By checking your windows, using natural heat, and keeping your central heating up to par, your whole family benefits as you have made conscious energy saving efforts! Remember, you can be warm without being wasteful!
  20. Most people assume that they have clean air in the home and that their environment is safe to live in, but pollutants and dust from the outdoors are known to settle inside of buildings. This can often lead to asthma and allergies for many residents in each season of the year. To increase your home's air quality and create a cleaner setting, there are a few important steps to take to breathe easier. Replace Your HVAC Filters The filters in your HVAC system will circulate dirty air if they aren't replaced every few months. Install new air filters several times a year to ensure that the dirt that is captured in the air doesn't recirculate in the home. Use an Air Purifier An air purifier is extremely effective at cleaning the air and removing contaminants that are present. This includes removing second-hand smoke that has accumulated in homes where smokers are present. Dust, pollen, and pet dander will also be eliminated to make it easier to breathe and avoid allergies in each season of the year. Use the air purifier in each room of the home for several areas to ensure that the product works effectively in a small setting. Keep the Windows Closed Although most people open up their home's windows to allow fresh air in, it can cause pollution and pollen to enter the home easily. Make it a point to keep the windows closed during the spring season to secure the interior setting. Rely on fans to circulate the air and keep the home cooler during the day. You also want to check the air quality level in your local area each day to determine if it's safe to leave the windows open for a few hours. Schedule an Inspection Hire a company like AirCheck One to perform an inspection to pinpoint specific areas in the home that have poor air quality levels. Gases, mold spores, lead, and particulate matter will all be discovered if they're present in the home to create a more habitable environment. It can be difficult to prevent toxins and allergens from entering your home each day, but there are still many ways of purifying the air and increasing your health over time. With the right tools and equipment used, you can enjoy having clean air in your home and reducing the effects of certain health conditions that you may suffer from.
  21. Spring brings sunshine and warmer weather, and this means it is a good time to evaluate your home for energy efficiency. Drafts and other issues can mean higher electric and gas bills all year long, but there are steps you can take to ensure your comfort and savings. Here are things to do right away. Check your Water Heater Turning the temperature down just a few degrees can save you money. In addition, if you haven’t had the tank flushed in a while, now is a good time to do it. Sediment in the bottom of the tank reduces efficiency because it can block the heating element, in addition to other problems the sediment can cause. Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Schedule a seasonal preventive maintenance visit with a local HVAC company such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. A technician will inspect your AC to make sure components are clean, and in good repair, which is necessary for the most energy efficiency once the cooling season is in full swing. Dirty or poorly maintained systems use extra energy to keep your home cool. Check Your Windows Wet your hand and move it slowly around the window frame to check for drafts. Sometimes winter weather causes things to shift, including weatherproofing, and you might need to re-caulk or add weather-stripping. For even more energy efficiency, purchase solar curtains if you don’t already have them up. They help block any residual drafts and they keep the hot afternoon sun from raising indoor temperatures too much. The cooler you can keep your house through methods like this, the less electricity your air conditioner will use. Check the Attic A hot attic leads to a hot house if you don’t have the right amount of insulation or the insulation has been damaged through pest activity or moisture. Even if you had it checked before winter, it is a good idea to recheck it in case the roof leaked or other problems occurred. Invest in Fans Fans make the air feel cooler because they help move heat away from the surface of the skin. This allows you to put off using your air conditioner for longer or keep your thermostat set higher to reduce energy usage. Ceiling fans are best, but any fan will help. When you do all you can in spring to make your home more efficient, you will have less to do in the heat of summer. In addition, you should see energy savings quickly. It is easy to imagine all the other things that saved money can be used for this season.
  22. Nearly every homeowner loves to doll up their domicile to suit their specific tastes. Popular modifications include basement game rooms, new kitchens, redesigned bathrooms and offices. Many ambitious DIY home improvement enthusiasts are increasingly focused on energy-efficient upgrades that'll save money and help the environment. Here are a few choice options that can work in any scenario. Upgrade Windows and Doors The easiest way to prevent energy waste in the home is to ensure that the entryways and exits don't leak heat in either direction. Installing double-paned windows filled with argon is a great start. New high-tech doors with blown-in foam insulation placed between the frame and the studs is another step in the right direction. Put In Superior Insulation A typical 2x4 home features fiberglass R-11 insulation lining the exterior walls. You can sister 2x6 studs to the original 2x4 members so that thicker R-23 rockwool insulation can be installed. This will reduce heat loss during the winter and strain on your air conditioner during the summer. It'll also give you a chance to check the walls for mold or rot. Attach Hyper-Efficient Siding Traditional siding materials like OSB or T1-11 are pretty lousy when it comes to blocking heat transfer even when wrapped in Tyvek. Going with a next-generation siding system from an outfit like Lifetime Exteriors can greatly improve energy efficiency. Modern sheathing and siding products use advanced synthetic materials to create a fairly impermeable barrier. Install Stingy HVAC Hardware Furnaces and central air conditioners have come a long way in the past decade when it comes to energy efficiency. If you live in a cold climate, a natural gas furnace or pellet stove will deliver better heating while using less fuel. Homeowners in hot environments should ditch window-mounted AC units in favor of central air. Opt for Tankless Water Heating A run-of-the-mill electric water heater costs hundreds of dollars per year to run. What's more, there's a limit to how much hot water they can crank out within a given time period. Tankless water heaters require a little more work to install but can drastically reduce electricity usage and provide limitless hot water on demand. Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck While the long-term benefits of efficiency upgrades justify the costs, the initial investment can be daunting. It's best to proceed gradually by starting with exterior jobs and working your way in. Furthermore, there are many government tax credits and rebates available to homeowners that cushion the financial blow.
  23. These five energy efficient tips will keep your office warm and your bills low this winter. Most of these tips are incredibly simple to implement and should become annual best practices for your office. Adjust the Thermostat Keep the office cooler at night when no one is there working. Raise the temperature a few hours before people arrive so they are able to work in a pleasant environment straight away. Maintain the temperature at a comfortable level that is neither too hot nor too cold for most people. Boiler and Heater Maintenance One of the most energy efficient ways to keep the office warm is to provide routine maintenance on your boiler and heating systems. This will help ensure this equipment is operating efficiently and safely. If you find that you require a new system or an upgrade, many companies such as Nationwide Boiler provide new and reconditioned equipment for any budget and an ideal solution to optimize energy efficiency. Close Doors and Windows It is important that you keep all windows and doors closed whenever possible. Front doors can often become a problem area as snow and debris becomes stuck in the entryway. Be sure to routinely remove snow and debris from the most commonly used doors to prevent this scenario. And, inform all employees that all windows and doors must remained closed. Natural Sunlight One of the least expensive and most effective energy efficient ways to keep your office warm this winter is to use natural sunlight to your advantage. You can start by opening all shades and curtains during daylight hours. Also, remove dark carpeting and paint the walls a light color that will more easily reflect natural light. If it is within you budget, you might also consider skylights and removing walls to create a more open floor plan so that both light and heat can more freely move about the office. Seal Windows and Doors It is also essential to ensure all your doors and windows are sealed properly. A significant percentage of heat is lost due to poorly insulated and sealed windows and doors. Be sure to check for leaks and consider adding more insulation. This will help to keep out harsh and bitterly cold winds and keep in the lovely comforting warm air. Once you implement these energy efficient tips, your office will be a more pleasant environment and your company will save a significant amount of money. And, by teaching these practices to your employees, they can implement the same practices at home to save money on their own.
  24. If you are a home owner or are looking to buy a home, you should consider the importance of having an energy efficient and family friendly home. A green home will keep your energy bills down and will be helpful for the environment. There are many green communities like the ones found at Princeton Classic Homes in Texas. Below, you can find out what they are doing to accomplish this with these seven tips. Fluorescent lighting Switching to fluorescent lighting in your home will cut down on your energy usage drastically. Florescent bulbs use less than 1/4th of the amount of energy that normal bulbs use. Although they are more expensive than normal light bulbs, they will last much longer unlike light bulbs that need to be replaced after extended use. They will also help you lower your monthly energy bill. After a few months, they will have paid for themselves in their energy savings. Replace your old appliances If you are still using appliances from the 1990’s, it is time to replace them. Old appliances have poor energy efficiency ratings and may be costing you more than you think. Inefficient appliances can be costing you thousands of dollars a year in wasted energy usage. The biggest offender of this is the refrigerator. By exchanging your old fridge for a new one, you could easily cut down on the energy you use significantly. Keep your windows open Use the sun to your advantage. Keep your windows open and the blinds drawn whenever the sun is out. By doing this, you will be able to cut down on the electricity used to light your house. Also, keeping your central air off in favor of a cool breeze will make a big impact on the amount of energy you use. As an added bonus, you will be able to enjoy the fresh air that will be circulating through your home by keeping your windows open. Clean with micro fiber Ditch the cleaning products where ever you can and use micro fiber cloths instead. Micro fiber cloths attract dirt and will allow you to clean surfaces without the use of harmful chemical sprays. Dampened microfiber cloths will be able to effectively clean most hard surfaces throughout your kitchen and bathroom including glass and wood. You can re-use these cloths after you throw them in the wash. Grow plants indoors Plants will help filter the air in your home. They will absorb some pollutants and expel clear air. There are many plants that are particularly good at this. Plants like spider plants, rubber plants, palms and boston ferns are all easy to care for indoors and will make a noticeable difference with the air quality in your home. Always recycle Recycling is important for the environment, but this goes beyond simply keeping an extra recycle bin in your home. You can take recycling to a whole new level by re-purposing items that you would otherwise throw away. Use egg cartons as jewelry organizers, save glass jars and use them as cups, or think of some of your own ideas. Anything you can find a use for instead of throwing it away will be helpful for the environment. Switch to solar Solar energy is becoming more popular with the new advances that are being made to it year by year. It is becoming increasingly more affordable and efficient as we continue to perfect them. Many people shy away from the idea of switching to solar because they feel it is an all-or-nothing option. This is not the case. You can start small and use that amount of solar energy to add along with feeding off of the electricity grid. No matter what amount you can commit to, any bit will help.
  25. Homeowners that want to cut back on their energy consumption should start thinking of their house as a complete system instead of individual areas that do not interact with one another. Small changes anywhere in a home will affect its overall efficiency and can make a big difference over the course of their lifetime. Here is a look at 6 upgrades that are sure to lower your utility bills in the coming years. Insulation Older insulation rolls do not have a tight enough fit to perfectly insulate attics, crawlspaces, walls, garages, and basements. Modern spray insulation is often made of green materials such as cellulose, resistant to fire, and much more effective for retaining the home's temperature. Programmable Thermostats A programmable thermostat should be one of the first upgrades a family carries out when it comes to improving their home's efficiency. Newer thermostats give you unprecedented control over your home's temperature and can even be controlled with wireless devices. Furnace Replacements Furnaces that were manufactured before 1992 will often use over 35 percent of their gas just keeping the pilot light on. Newer furnaces are designed to use up gas and electricity only as they are needed. This could lead to an 11 percent drop in utility bills during the colder winter months. Light Bulbs Studies have shown that inefficient light bulbs cost California families over $35.6 million in wasted energy every single year. One simple way to combat this is to begin switching out older light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as they go out. CFLs produce the same amount of light at just a fraction of the cost and have a much longer lifespan. Energy-Efficient Windows Thick curtains will not be enough when it comes to the energy that is lost through windows. Older windows allow an incredible amount of heat to enter and leave a home due to the materials they are made of and ineffective seals. Energy-efficient windows, available from places like Five Star Windows Inc., help to block out UV rays and maintain the indoor temperature. Refrigerator Upgrades Even just three decades ago, most refrigerators were not built with energy efficiency in mind. Modern Energy Star refrigerators, however, have been made to use as little electricity as possible. These devices often consume just $50 worth of energy per year. These six areas upgrades are great options when it comes to cutting down on your carbon footprint while saving some money on utility bills.