Scare Up Some Energy Savings This Fall

Here are a few quick tips for how to save energy and money this fall season.

First, set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when you are home and lower the temperature when you go to bed or when you are not at home. This will ensure optimal home heating and save energy.

You should also keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain heat.

Also, don’t let air escape that you’ve paid to heat or cool. Be sure to check your home’s weather-striping for air leakage around doors and windows, baseboards, and where ever pipes, wires, and vents enter a house. A fresh application of caulk or new weather-striping around theses openings can save you bundles.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, have your HVAC system serviced by a NATE-certified technician and regularly replace furnace filters. During the heating season, change or clean those filters once a month.

 

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Top Stealth Energy Hogs

Devices such as notebook computers and DVR/VCR’s continue to draw energy when they are plugged in but not being used.  According to a recent article on Forbes.com there are 26 devices that consume the most energy.  Consumers can see increased costs when multiple devices are on “standby” waiting to be used.

 

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Saving on Pool Power

Looking to save electricity and money on your home pool this summer?

One simple solution is to use a smaller, more efficient pump for your pool. The larger your pump, the greater your maintenance and energy costs associated with keeping your pool well maintained. A Florida Study has shown that a .75 horsepower pump is usually all that is needed for most residential pools. In order to choose the absolute right pump size, consult your pool suppliers’ design chart.

Another way to cut down on energy costs is to limit the time your pool pump operates daily. Many people allow their pool pump to filter for much longer than necessary. The Department of Energy’s Energy Savers recommends only using your pump for six hours a day. In addition, by running your pump in several short cycles throughout the day you will keep your pool cleaner than by running it once for a long continuous amount of time. If six hours is not enough time, and your pool still looks dirty, run the pump in short half hour increments until it appears clean.

Lastly, be sure that your pool’s intake grates are clean and free of debris. Drains that are clogged make the pump work harder and use more energy.

Watch your summer time savings add up!

 

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Window Quick Tips

A considerable amount of heat transfers through windows. If you have single-pane windows, consider doing the following:

  • Tighten and weather-strip your old windows and then add storm windows.
  • Replace your old single-glazed windows. In colder climates “low-e” coatings on glass can help reduce heat loss through windows.
  • In hot climates, consider adding solar screening to west-facing windows that catch a lot of heat late in the day. Solar screening is sold at many home improvement stores.

 

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Pull the Plug, Save Some Shillings

Even when not in use, cell phone chargers and other plug-in household appliances use electricity. This energy drain is known as phantom loads, vampire electricity, or standby power. Although it may seem small, several appliances drawing vampire electricity in a household can add up and cost you money.

In fact, only five percent of the power drawn from your cell phone charger is used to charge your cell phone. The other ninety-five percent is wasted when you leave your cell phone charger plugged into the wall.

Look to save some cash and electricity this summer by unplugging your cell phone charger and other appliances when not in use.

Click here to learn more about how you can eliminate vampire electricity in your home.

 

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Heat Up Your Summer Energy Savings

Heat Up Your Summer Energy Savings

Sometimes keeping up the Joneses is about keeping your electric bills down

With temperatures on the rise, now is a perfect time to make your home more energy-efficient.  ENERGY STAR® offers suggestions for how to reduce your annual electricity costs by up to a third—that adds up to about $700 savings per year! Listed below are six of the biggest energy wasters in your home. Following these quick tips will help you save both energy and money.

1. HVAC Systems

HVAC systems account for 46 percent of your overall electric bill.

Change filters regularly. Furnace and air conditioner filters need to be changed monthly, especially during the summer and winter months when the HVAC unit has a heavy workload.

Install a thermostat. To save even more, you can install a programmable thermostat, letting you regulate your home’s temperature throughout the year.

Seal the cracks and gaps. Seal your heating and cooling ducts, especially those running through the attic, crawlspace, basement or garage.  This can improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit by as much as 20 percent!

2. Water Heater

Lower standby losses.  The average household spends $400-$600 per year on water heating. Eliminate standby losses by lowering the heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

3.Lighting

Out with the old and in with the new. Lighting accounts for about 12 percent of your bill.  Just simply replace five of your standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to save $70 a year.

4. Refrigerator

Clean the refrigerator inside and out. Check the temperature settings on your refrigerator.  Ideally, a refrigerator’s temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees for maximum operating efficiency.

Replacing a refrigerator that is 10 to 15 years old may help you save in the long run.  Energy-efficient appliances can save you as much as $100 a year.

5. Energy Vampires

Unplug and save. Energy vampires consume 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances.  Any appliance or device that sucks up energy when it’s plugged in, despite being turned off, is draining your bill.

Don’t just turn energy vampires off—unplug them.  ENERGY STAR® suggests:  plugging your television and/or DVD player into a power strip and then turning that off when your television is in stand-by mode; put your computers on sleep mode; unplug a battery charger of adapter.

6. Entertainment

Unplug to save more for fun. It costs you about $120 if to leave your Xbox plugged in for an entire year.  Unplug video game consoles when you are not playing and limit the use of stand-by mode.

Click here for more information.

 

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More Efficient Light Bulbs Save Cash

Did you know that traditional incandescent light bulbs will be phased out by 2014?

In an effort it increase efficiency and save energy, the federal government requires that light bulbs be at least 25 percent more efficient than the standard incandescent light bulb. Three newer energy efficient alternatives have sprung up that can save you money on your energy bill.

More efficient light bulbs save you energy and money

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are about 75 percent more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs.

Halogen incandescent light bulbs are the most similar to the traditional light bulbs, and are about 25 percent more efficient over their lifetimes. These bulbs cost about $2 a piece and have the same familiar pear-shaped design as the old bulbs.

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are about 75 percent more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs. They cost about $2 to $5 each and have a recognizable spiral shaped.

Light emitting diode (LED) lamps are about 85 percent more energy-efficient than the old bulbs. While these lamps do cost significantly more—anywhere from $20 to $55—these prices are expected to come down significantly over the next three years.

The next time you purchase light bulbs, consider purchasing energy-efficient bulbs that will save you money on your energy bills.

Click here for more information or check out ENERGY STAR’s Lighting Guidebook.

 

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Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

If you recently purchased an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for your home, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit.

While some energy efficiency tax credits are only available through 2011, others such as installing a Geothermal Heat Pump or Solar Energy Systems, are available through 2016. Plus if you haven’t filed your 2010 taxes yet, you can still claim 2009 and 2010 credits, based on work completed during those years.

You may also be eligible for additional tax credits or rebates, so visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to find out what else you may be eligible for.

Finally if you are looking to purchase some new appliances, learn about the state rebates for Energy Star (R) appliances.

 

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5 Ways to Spring Into Energy Efficiency

Spring is a perfect time of year to make your home more energy-efficient.  Here are five quick tips that will save both energy and money.

  1. Seal the cracks and gaps around your home. Spring may be the right time to put away those storm windows, but it is also a good time to add weather-stripping and caulking around leaky windows. Don’t stop there, sealing more cracks and leaks – especially around the floor and ceiling can save the homeowner over $200 annually.  See how you can seal the cracks and keep your wallet from leaking.
  2. Change filters regularly. Furnace and air conditioner filters need to be changed monthly and this can really help lower monthly energy bills.  Dirty filters can restrict air flow and reduce the overall efficiency of your cooling system and make it work even harder on hot summer days.
  3. Check your refrigerator. Clean the outside of the refrigerator as well as the inside. Gently vacuuming the outside coils (getting rid of “dust bunnies”) and checking the seals for air leaks can improve the efficiency of your refrigerator.  Also, check the temperature settings on your refrigerator.  Ideally, a refrigerator’s temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees for maximum operating efficiency. When it’s time to replace that old refrigerator, be sure to buy an ENERGY STAR® labeled appliance. Energy-efficient appliances can save you members as much as $100 a year based our calculations. Discover how you can use Energy Star® qualifying appliances like an energy star.
  4. Think sun block. Closing the blinds on your windows this spring and summer, you could save about $35 a year.  Your local hardware or do-it-yourself stores have lots of inexpensive window coverings. Best of all, by blocking the sun, your house will stay comfortable year-round ($35 savings includes winter too).
  5. Control temperature settings. Do you have a programmable thermostat?  Check that the temperature and time settings are programmed for summer.  Try setting the temperature to 78 when you are home.  Let the temperature drift up a few degrees when you are away.

 

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Save Money on Next Year’s Taxes with Energy Efficiency Improvements to Your Home Today

If you missed out of any of the 2010 tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades to your home don’t worry because there are a lot of money and energy saving incentives you can take advantage of in 2011.

For example, you can receive a tax credit, up to $200 on new ENERGY STAR qualified windows. You do not have to replace all the windows or skylights in your home to qualify. And it doesn’t need to be a replacement either – installing a new window where there wasn’t one previously (like in an addition) qualifies.

Visit the Energy Star website for more information on Federal Tax Credits

 

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