Renewable Energy Tips

Heating and Cooling Energy Saving Tips

A simple way to save energy is to keep your home temperature at a moderate setting year round.  It requires less energy not  to maintain very high or low temperatures, you can save not only on energy but on wear and tear on your equipment.

Regular maintenance is as important as oil changes for your vehicle.  Clean or replace filters once a month or as needed. If your filter is in a cardboard frame, it needs to be replaced monthly during the heating season.  It is important to note that pets can require you change your filters more frequently, so check them especially during times of high use.  If your system doubles as a central air-conditioning system, also clean or replace the filter monthly while the cooling system is in use.

Help make sure your system can breathe!  Clean air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. Make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.

Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season. If in doubt about how to perform this task, call us!

Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.

During the heating season, keep the draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight and heat to enter your home. Close drapes at night to help reduce heat loss.

During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent the sun from heating your home.

Close off unoccupied rooms. Install individual room controls to heat and cool rooms only when you use them.

Saving the World – One Drip at a Time

Don’t lie in bed, listening to the plink, plink, plink sound of your plumbing emptying your wallet.  Follow these simple steps to save water, and help save one of our most important resources from wasting, one plink at a time.

Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.  Call Mikel in the office if you need to understand better how you can keep your plumbing in good shape for the future.

Insulate long runs of hot-water supply pipe, especially sections that pass through unheated spaces so you don’t lose the hot water as it travels.

Repair or replace leaky faucets. The drips add up fast and represent dollars going down the drain.  A hot water faucet that leaks one drop per second wastes more than 2,300 gallons of hot water per year.  That is a waste of resources and money. The replacement washers needed to repair a leaky faucet cost only a few cents.

Lower the water heater thermostat to 120°F, or raise the temperature and install a cold water-mixing valve to the line. Water reaching your tap will be 120°F, will be safe enough to avoid scalding and will make your water heating faster and more efficient.

The Quandary of Laundry

In our hearts we all are a little like Linus, waiting for our blankets to come out of the dryer.  But we can wash and dry responsibly too, with cold water whenever possible and with full loads to maximize efficiency. Yes, Linus, you should wait until there are a couple of other things to wash WITH the blanket.

Don’t overload dryers. Overloaded dryers use more energy, cause clothes to wrinkle so they may need to be ironed, and wears out clothes more quickly.

Use suds savers and front-loading washers for maximum efficiency.

Always adjust the water level to fit load size.  It’s just paying attention, simple things, running a little load on super wastes money, energy, and time.

Overloaded washers don’t clean clothes as effectively so they even may need to be rewashed.  A little patience can go a long way, you might be preserving the life of the items you’re washing as well.

Clean the lint filter after each drying cycle to maintain dryer efficiency.  Like anything that moves air, let it breathe.

Let There Be Light (If Needed)

Emerson said ‘To the illumined mind, the world burns and sparkles with light’.  Unfortunately, he meant metaphorically.  Use task lighting to target work and leisure activities. This lets you reduce your overall room lighting levels, think quality, not quantity of light.

Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs especially in fixtures that operate more than two hours a day. They cost more initially but use 75 percent less electricity while lasting about ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Open shades and blinds to take advantage of natural light, the sun is right there for many hours a day, and doesn’t cost a thing.

Select bulbs carefully. Look for the highest lumens at the lowest wattage. Wattage is the power needed to make a bulb work. Lumens measure brightness. Long-life bulbs emit less light than standard incandescent bulbs of the same wattage. Use long-life bulbs only in hard-to-reach places.

Keep light fixtures clean to gain the most illumination.

Refrigeration

Is your refrigerator running?  No, really, is it?  Test the tightness of the door seal on refrigerators and freezers. If the seal doesn’t tightly hold a dollar bill when the door is closed, it’s probably time to adjust or replace the gasket.

Replace old refrigerators. A 1980s-era refrigerator will cost up to 75 percent more to operate than modern high efficiency models.

Did you know:  For greatest efficency set refrigerators at 40°F. and freezers at 0°F.

Listen Up Betty Crocker!

Use your oven instead of your cook top to cut cooking costs. Surface units heat continuously, but an insulated oven normally heats one-third of the time it’s in use.

Don’t peek. Cooking temperatures can drop as much as 50° every time the oven door is opened, causing the oven to have to reheat.

Use the oven’s self-cleaning cycle only for big cleaning jobs. Start the cycle while the oven is still hot from baking.

Use small appliances such as crockpots, electric frying pans, toaster ovens, and microwave ovens to save when cooking.