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Found 8 results

  1. Depending on where you live, winter months will make for the coldest part of the year. This is why you should take measures to ensure that you and your family are warm and comfortable during this season. However, in a world where environmental conservation has become an important topic, you may want to consider ways of keeping your home green. Even as you look for ways to heat your home, it is vital that they help to conserve energy and have minimal negative impact on the environment. Proper Maintenance of Your Heating System Proper maintenance of your furnace and HVAC system will go a long way in making sure that they run efficiently. This will not only help in lowering your energy bills but also give you the assurance that your home will be warm and comfortable in winter. For the best repair and maintenance services, you should consider working with a company such as Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing. Such experts will not only inspect and repair your heating system but also the plumbing and electrical systems in your home. In this way, you will not have to worry about making the repairs during the cold season. Install a Programmable Thermostat Installing a programmable thermostat is an eco-friendly way of keeping your home warm in winter. This thermostat will allow you to enter a high and low temperature. Whenever you are not at home and temperatures in your home fall below the lower temperature, the thermostat will turn on your heating system. Once temperatures reach the maximum you had set, the unit will turn off. This way, you will have your furnace running constantly while making significant savings on your energy bill. Green Solutions for Heating Your Home Instead of depending on electricity as the sole source of energy for heating your home, you should consider investing in renewable sources of energy. Some of the options you can explore include geothermal heating, solar energy and masonry heating. These green solutions will be efficient in helping to create a comfortable environment in your home. Insulate Your Home Making your home energy-efficient will require that you ensure that heat is not lost during this cold season. Installing window covers, sealing insulation gaps, closing off unused rooms and insulating your attic will lower your energy costs. This is because you will prevent air leaks in your home, reducing the amount of work that your furnace has to do in an effort to keep the space warm. There are many more sustainable ways to keep your home green in winter. For instance, regular roof inspections and repairs will help to keep your home warm in winter.
  2. You can’t assume that winter is the one season where you have little impact on a frozen environment. During winter, a lot of chemicals, dirt, debris, and waste are collected along with the snow, and as soon as the spring thaw hits these pollutants are washed away into local storm drains and water courses. Even before the thaw, exhaust and other harmful substances can impact air quality and human health. Here are some steps you can take this winter to help preserve the environment. Use an Eco-Friendly Deicer Some deicers contain harmful chemicals, while others that seem to be natural, such as common rock salt, are not safe. Most deicers can be harmful to pets, wildlife, playing children, and the environment. Check the labels for eco-friendly, pet-safe brands. Even then, use them sparingly. Follow the manufacturer recommendations. Don’t forget that common dirt or sawdust can provide traction on slippery ice while being much more eco-friendly. Electric, Not Fuel If you can, try using an electrical or battery-powered snow blower. This will reduce the fossil-fuel hydrocarbons that are going into the air to damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. You and your neighbors will also breathe much easier while snow removal is taking place. Inside the home, never use fuel-based heaters. These can lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide as well as harmful exhaust. Even if you’re using a fireplace or woodstove for heat, have a carbon monoxide detector installed just to be safe. Pick Up Debris Pick up any kind of trash before it becomes part of the deep freeze. This is especially true around trash bins where litter is most likely to accumulate. If you have outdoor equipment like boats, lawnmowers, or project automobiles, be sure they’re fully winterized and stored indoors to prevent leaching rust, heavy metals, or oils and grease into the soil as the ice melts. If you don’t have the internal space, consider renting a storage unit from a business like Walsh Moving & Storage where you can keep your things safe and dry during the cold season. Maintain Your Heating System Inefficient appliances are big wasters of fuel or electricity. This means you’re either squandering limited resources like natural gas, or drawing needless energy from the grid that power companies have to work harder to replace. Your fuel and electrical providers work harder, releasing their own pollutants into the environment. Whether you’re using a traditional stand-alone furnace or an electrical HVAC system, have it checked when the cold weather hits to be sure it’s performing optimally. The long months of winter can also add a lot of pollutants to the air and ground. Don’t let the focus on staying warm or planning for the holidays let your environmental concerns lapse.
  3. Everyone wants to save a little more money, especially on electric bills since it is usually one of the highest bills people have to deal with. This is true during the winter when you turn up the heat to stay warm. Do not fret about this; there are a few ways to stay warm while reducing your electric bill. Use a Fan One way to stay warm this winter without forcing your heater to work hard is to use a fan. What you want to do is simply reverse the blades so that they are spinning clockwise. There is usually a switch on the fan that helps you do this. The reason this is effective is that the fan pulls cool air upward while pushing warm air downward, helping your home warm up faster. Insulate, Insulate It is important that you do your best to insulate your home. You can add insulating foam to your attic, basement, and the walls if needed. You are going to have to talk to a professional to have your home insulated though some homeowners try to do it on their own. Making your home trap warmer air while keeping cooler air out should definitely help reduce this bill. Alternate a Bit Sometimes the best thing you can do is use an alternative way of heating your home to avoid those electric bills. You might want to consider a fuel-powered heater instead of the one that uses electricity. The prices are more than competitive as long as you find a company that sells bulk fuel such as BUCKSFUEL.COM at the right rate. These furnaces are just as good as electric furnaces, which should be good enough for a family trying to stay warm without breaking the bank. Repairs Make a Difference Some homes have little problems that could make it harder for your heater to preserve warmth, which spikes your bill in the long run. For example, air could escape from your home through weak window seals, cracks on the walls, or other similar issues. What you want to do is inspect your home, and try to deal with all of these problems to ensure that warm air stays in. Again, you can hire a professional, or try to deal with these little issues on your own. Hopefully, some of these suggestions help keep you warm while saving money. Remember, there is always more to do. For example, you can wear warmer clothes made with materials like wool or alpaca.
  4. As Winter approaches, there are normally a few duties and projects that you do around the house in order to prepare. This year, why not enjoy a warm and toasty home all winter long? If you start today, you can ensure that your home is heated properly for years. Here are three ways that you can make certain that your heat is working properly. Infrared Camera Service: A few years ago, people put together infrared cameras that could sense minute differences in temperature. Many of those cameras found their way to remodeling contractors that use them to point at your home from all angles so that they can show you specifically where your home is losing heat. The warmer that it is near the outside of your home, the more warmth you are losing- and the more money that you are losing. Therefore, when a contractor finds a flawed spot and repairs it, you will see automatic savings on your heating bill. Pipe Wrapping: Another annoyance for some homeowners is that they have one or two rooms in their house that are never heated properly because somehow the air that gets to them is a few degrees cooler than the air that they get in other rooms. This type of problem normally occurs because most of the pipes on the way to those rooms have not been wrapped properly. A secondary cause could be that the foil pipe itself has a rip or tear in it. Having a trusted professional like those from A & E Heating and AC Inc. work on your home heating system, you should be able to have the full potential of your furnace restored to all the rooms in your house. Furnace Optimization: Furnace optimization is another service that companies like a & E Heating provide because it ensures that your furnace will not break down on you during the course of the Winter, and it might also identify other areas in your heating system that you are losing hot air. One of the most common areas near a furnace that might need patching is on the pipe that leaves the boiler or furnace itself. One nice thing about asking for experts to come out and optimize your service is that they are very efficient and won’t take long to both find and fix what is necessary. So if you are looking at keeping your home warm this winter, consider calling and setting up an appointment. Staying warm and saving money can be a good combination.
  5. 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!
  6. All families should be interested in saving on their energy costs, but it can be difficult for some to achieve these savings during the winter. Energy costs are going to naturally go up as the temperatures cool down, but there are still several ways you can save some money. If you follow these four tips, then you should be able to live comfortably in your home, while still saving a few dollars each month this winter. Lower Water Heater Temperature Most people have their water heater temperature set higher than they actually need. Setting your water heater around 120 degrees Fahrenheit has the potential to save you a lot this winter. It may take slightly longer to get hotter water in the sink and shower, but the savings makes the wait well worth it. Open Curtains during the Day The sun may not come out every day during the winter months, so you need to take advantage of it when it does appear. Opening the curtains to let the sun in is a great way to naturally heat your home without have to spend any money. Make sure to close the curtains and blinds when the sun goes down so you keep all of this extra heat in your home. Turn down Thermostat The cold weather outside may compel you to turn up your thermostat a few degrees, but you need to resist this urge if you want to save money. Keeping your home a few degrees cooler than normal has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars during the winter season. You should have no problem staying comfortably warm in your home if you wear a sweater or bundle up with an extra blanket. Properly Insulate Your energy costs are going to be high enough this winter, so don’t add to your own costs with poor insulation. If you do not have the proper insulation, then the warm air from the furnace will escape your home at a faster rate. This requires your furnace to run longer than it should to make up for the escaping warm air. A local heating company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. should be able to direct you to problem areas you might have, and keep your heat pumps running smoothly. There is no reason to be intimidated by the potentially high energy costs this winter. When you implement these four changes into your normal routine it will help your house run a little less energy, and keep you toasty and warm.
  7. The 'polar vortex' and severe cold weather don't mean climate change isn't happening, writes Yarrow Axford.   "Climate change is a painstakingly well-documented long-term global trend, in which each recent decade has been warmer than the decade before. This is generally true for most parts of the globe, but more importantly is true when one considers the Earth as a whole. [...] Despite the overwhelming evidence that our planet is warming, there are two points of perpetual confusion that combine with our psychology to make winter weather a seasonal boon for climate skepticism. For one, a cold snap where we live should not be confused for a global event."   Read it: No, Global Warming Isn't Suddenly a Myth Because It's Really Cold Out
  8. Believe it or not, winters have been warming rapidly in the majority of the continental 48 states since 1970. And, take note Chicago and other Midwest readers: The coldest states are warming the fastest. So says a 2013 report by Climate Central. In fact, says science writer Andrew Zimmerman, if the climate had not warmed so much during the past few decades, it's possible that the current freezer-like weather would be even colder in those areas. Yikes! Meanwhile, there have been above-average temperatures across parts of the Arctic, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia this past week, Zimmerman reports. Last month, the northern Alaska coastline, above the Arctic Circle, had the warmest temperatures on record in at least 70 years. It's part of an overall trend of warming in the Arctic area. But yes, brrrrr, every state in the continental U.S. has had sub-freezing temperatures this week. It's attributed to the behavior of the "polar vortex." The polar vortex (also known as a polar cyclone) is a large swirl of very cold air that sits over the polar regions year round. It intensifies in the winter and weakens in the summer. The jet stream from the Arctic polar vortex sometimes brings extremely cold weather southward into Europe, Asia and the U.S. According AccuWeather.com, cold outbreaks like the one this week occur "on average once every 10 years. The last far-reaching, bitterly cold blasts occurred in the mid-1990s, during February of 1996 and January of 1994." AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said, "We were overdue for a large Arctic outbreak of this intensity." This time the polar vortex has spread unusually far south into the U.S., giving us the record frigid conditions we've been experiencing. Is global climate change a factor in this unusual intrusion of the polar vortex? Some scientists say yes; others say the jury is still out. Scientific studies have tied abnormally cold temperatures in the U.S. and Europe to warmer than usual conditions in the Arctic - they dub this the "Warm Arctic/Cold Continents Pattern." This could be driven by the loss of polar sea ice which has been documented over the past few decades. That in turn is spurred by human-caused global warming. Research is ongoing. "The research linking climate change impacts in the Arctic to more extreme jet stream patterns is still very new, and we need several more years of data and additional research before we can be confident that this is occurring," writes Weather Underground scientist Jeff Masters. "But if the new research is correct, the crazy winter weather we've been seeing since 2009 may be the new normal in a world with rapid warming occurring in the Arctic." But one thing is sure, scientist agree: cold weather does not contradict the well-established fact that the Earth has been warming overall due to human activity, in particular the massive use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels. The consequences of this, scientists say, include more extreme weather of all kinds. For a break from the cold, you might want to consider a trip Down Under. Australia has experienced record-breaking scorching hot weather this past year. It's been so hot that mapmakers have had to add a new color to temperature maps to signify the blistering heat there. Australia's winter, which is during our summer months, was "only" the third hottest on record. But its spring temperatures, starting in September, were the hottest ever. January 2014 is starting off with similar heat extremes. Walgett, in New South Wales, recorded 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the second hottest temperature ever measured in the state. One of the reasons for Australia's record heat in 2013 was very high ocean surface temperatures, the third warmest on record according to preliminary data. If you are not up for a trip to Australia, not to worry. The record cold in the U.S. will be ending this week, weather forecasters say. Temperatures are predicted to be up to 50 in places like New York and St. Louis. This article was first published in People's World by Susan Webb.