Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car

Why should you seek to reduce the carbon footprint of your car? Every year the average vehicle puts out between 9,000 – 11,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. Collectively, these emissions are a leading cause of global warming. green-car

Here are a few tips of how you can reduce your car carbon footprint:

  • Drive reasonable speeds. You’ll get a lot better mileage on most cars if you stay under 65 mph.
  • Make your next vehicle a fuel-efficient one.
  • Keep your car properly tuned up and keep the fuel and air filters clean. Replace according to schedule.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can result in a loss of 1 – 2 mpg

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Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The environmental impact of installing solar panels are evident. The installation of residential solar panels will reduce the size of your carbon footprint and your share of greenhouse gases that are produced annually. As you go through the decision-making process of determining the feasibility of installing residential solar panels, here are a few key points to consider:
  • Start-up Costs - You can reduce the substantial initial outlay by taking advantage of incentives and tax rebates.
  • Self sufficiency and independence -The ability to get of the grid can be liberating. You can also remove a bit of market volatility that can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters and market forces.
  • Return on Investment - The initial purchase of solar panels is obviously a substantial investment, but energy genera
  • solar panelstion starts immediately, resulting in immediate savings on electrical costs. After the initial outlay is covered, in 10 – 15 years, the system will provide pure profit.
  • Remote Installation - Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are great places to see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power infrastructure.
  • Environmental Impact - The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise pollution.
  • Home equity - Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.
  • System Longevity - Solar panels have the capability of collecting energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers typically warranty the systems for 20 to 25 years.

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Garage Winterization Tips

Save money and energy this winter with these garage winterization tips:

  • Install a weather seal between the bottom of the garage door and the garage floor.
  • If time to replace your garage door, replace with an insulated door.
  • Check the door leading from your garage to the house for leaks and replace seals, if necessary.
  • Properly insulate rooms that share walls with the garage.
  • Insulate your hot water heater.
  • Install energy efficient lighting.
  • Insulate all exposed pipes.

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Benefits of Using Dryer Vent Seal

Reasons to Install Dryer Vent Cover

Have you ever noticed that the room containing your clothes dryer is usually the coldest room in your house? Most clothes dryers are connected to a 4″ diameter exhaust duct that runs directly to an opening on the exterior of the home. During the winter months, cold air leaks in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house, allowing your heated air to Imageescape.  In addition to the energy loss issues, other problems include insects, mice and other pests to enter through the exterior vent.

One solution to the problem is to install a Dryer Vent Seal Cover. The installation of the dryer vent vent kits with a floating cap design can provide several benefits in the following areas:

Energy Efficient

Because dryer vent cap only opens when the dryer is in use, the movement of air, either air conditioned to the outside, or cold exterior air to the inside. This design also keeps rain, snow and dust or other debris from blowing into the dryer vent. Because cold air isn’t allowed in and heated or cooled air isn’t allowed out, this will improve the energy efficiency of maintaining air in the effected area.

Fire Safety

The louvered design of the dryer vent seal allows lint to pass freely to the outside, preventing the buildup of lint in the dryer vent. Collected lint is very flammable and the use of wire mesh or screens by many homeowners traps the lint and increases the collection of the flammable material.

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Winter Energy Saving Tips

Now that we are approaching the early part of winter, you can take some steps to reduce the amount of energy that you’re using to lower your bill. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Turn Back the Thermostat - Set your thermostat to 68°. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy.  You can also save from 450 – $125 a year by turning down your thermostat down 5° at night or when leaving your home for an hour or more. For a small investment, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature settings automatically.
  2. Use power strips – Plug home electronics devices, such as TVs, computers, game devices and stereo equipment, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. Another step further would be to implement smart power strips to improve energy efficiency and reduce vampire power loss.
  3. Set Water Heater to 120° - Consider reducing your water heater to a cooler setting will reduce the amount of energy required to keep the water warm enough. A reduction of 10°F could result in a savings of 2 – 6% savings in water heating related costs.
  4. Wrap Your Water Heater - Purchase a water heater blanket, which is widely available at most hardware and home improvement stores. The Department of Energy states that this will save the average household around 4-9% of their annual total water heating costs (around $12 – $48 for most homes.)
  5. Clean Refrigerator Coils -  On an annual basis, refrigerator coils should be vacuumed and cleaned. Dirty coils can result in energy loss between 5% – 8%.
  6. Seal Building Leaks and Gaps  – Use weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors. This will be an inexpensive way to save on energy loss.
  7. Install Water-efficient Water Appliances - By installing low use shower heads and faucets, you can reduce hot water usage by up to 10%, which will be a savings of $5 – $25 per water appliance.
  8. Replace Furnace or Heat Pump Filter - Regularly replace dirty filters to improve airflow, which will improve furnace performance, which can result in a $25 – $50 annual savings.
  9. Properly Seal Duct Work - Properly seal ducts of a FHA (forced hot air) System to reduce energy loss.
  10. Switch to Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs - CFL’s can save up to $40 – $50 over the life of the bulb in energy costs.
  11. Smart Appliance Replacement - When appliances and electronic devices can not be repaired, choose a replacement that is Energy Star Compliant. These devices are tested to be more energy efficient than older models.
  12. Seal Fireplace Damper - To reduce heat loss, be sure to close damper when not in use. You can further reduce heat loss up the chimney by installing a chimney draft stopper.

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Home Energy Savings

Test For Air Leaks and Drafts to Reduce Energy Loss

Properly sealing cracks and openings in you home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs throughout the year. You may already know where some air leakage occurs in your home, such as an under-the-door draft, but you’ll need to find the less obvious gaps to properly seal your home.

Here are several tests that can be used to check for air leaks:

  1. Window Seal Check – Shut the window on a piece of paper. If paper can be pulled without tearing paper, than window should be resealed.
  2. Visual Gap Check – After daylight hours, shine a light through closed window and door seam and have a partner confirm if light is visible on other side.
  3. Hot/Cold Air Check – Use your hands to feel around door and window seal checking for cold or hot air coming in through a leak.

Common areas to check for leaks are between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and between the chimney and siding. In addition, you should inspect around these areas for leaks and drafts:

  • Door and window frames
  • Mail chutes
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Bricks, siding, stucco, and foundation
  • Air conditioners
  • Vents and fans

Home Pressurization Test

If you are having difficulty locating leaks and drafts, you may want to conduct a basic building pressurization test:

  1. First, close all exterior doors, windows and fireplace flues.
  2. Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters.
  3. Then turn on all exhaust fans (generally located in the kitchen and bathrooms) or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.

This test increases infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect. You can use incense sticks or your damp hand to locate these leaks. If you use incense sticks, moving air will cause the smoke to drift, and if you use your damp hand, any drafts will feel cool to your hand.

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Reduce Heating Costs with Space Heaters

Small space heaters can be a smart, cost-effective way to heat individual rooms or spaces, without relying upon central heating. In many cases, it is less expensive to heat the occupied space versus the cost to heat an entire area controlled by a Imagecentral system.

To maximize cost savings, turn down the thermostat to 55 degrees F and place space heaters in a child or elderly person’s room or where their are individuals that be sensitive to the cold. By concentrating the heat, the central heating system will run less and heating costs will drop.

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