Tag Archives: winterization

Energy Efficient Roofing

Hot roofs absorb heat, causing air conditioner systems to work harder to cool during the warmer months of the year.

A cool roof uses material that is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Cool Roofs can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees, which will reduce cooling costs.

 

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Efficient Windows Can Save Energy = Money

In most structures, windows account for 10 to 25 percent of the total heating bill by allowing hot or cold are to enter. During the summer months, HVAC systems work harder to cool hot air from sun exposed windows. Best to replace inefficient windows with double-pane or low-emissivity coated models, which can reduce energy loss by anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.

house-windows-300x198

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Caulking Tips

Caulking seems like a relatively easy thing to do, and in most cases it is. There are simple tips and tricks that can make a big difference between a easy, seamless, hassle-free caulking job and one that’s messy and full of frustration. Before you start your next caulking job, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Window-Caulking

  • Purchase a good-quality pro-style caulking gun ($10). Skip the cheap low-end guns that utilize a ratcheting plunger. Ratcheting guns don’t operate smoothly, making it hard to apply a clean, uniform bead.
  • Use blue painter’s tape to protect your windows and the other side of the joint you are trying to fill. Leave a gap between the tape about 3/8ths of an inch wide.
  • Find a utility knife as when you cut off the top of the caulk tube, you do not want an uneven or straight cut. Make the cut at a 45 degree angle.
  • When you apply the caulk you will hold the caulk gun at approximately 45 degree angle.
  • Bend a piece of cardboard and practice on the seam before you attack your first seam. You could start in a less visible area where any mistakes will be less noticeable.
  • After you apply the caulk, use a plastic spoon to smooth the seam so that it is more or less flush.
  • Keep the tip of your caulking tube clean and free of dried caulk.
  • Make sure you pull the tape off before the caulk dries to leave clean seam.

Proper caulking and sealing will lead to an increase in energy efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling systems. Caulking can also substantially extend the life of windows and doors.

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Home Winterization Tips

How to Winterize Your Home and Save Money

1. Change Furnace Filters

2. Run Fans in Reverse – Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it seem warmer by making an updraft that sends the warmer air pooled near the ceiling back into the living space. This can cut your heating costs as much as 10 percent.

3. Winterize Your A/C and Water Lines – This one’s really easy, and it will save you wear and tear on your cooling system, so it can function at tip-top shape the next time you need it. Simply drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, and make sure you don’t have excess water pooled in equipment. If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off.

4. Turn Down Your Water Heater – While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don’t need that level, and end up paying for hot water that just sits around, slowly cooling. Lowering the temperature to 120 would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10%.

5. Install Storm Doors and Windows – The simple act of installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45 percent, by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Storm doors also offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation enter your home. Look for Energy Star-certified models.

6. Use an Energy Monitor – Measure your way to savings with an energy monitor.  This device indicates household electrical usage by device in real time.  Now you´ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money.

7. Use Caulking and Weather-stripping – Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weather-stripping.

8. Insulate Your Pipes – Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation.

9. Insulate your attic. One of the easiest ways to save some money is to ensure that you have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. Hot air rises and through the attic is where it’ll go unless you sufficient insulate it. The rule of thumb is that if you can see your ceiling joists (the wooden beams), you don’t have enough because those are often shorter than 12 inches. You should also reduce the amount of transfer through your attic stairway by installing an attic stair cover.

10. Turn off exterior water lines. Chances are you won’t be using any of the water faucets outside of your home, so shut the valve that allows water to those exterior bibs. This prevents the water inside from freezing and cracking your pipes.

11. Wrap your water boiler. Since it’ll be cold, it’s more important than ever to invest in a water heater blanket and warp your water heater so it loses less heat into the ambient air.

12.  Open the blinds in sunny rooms. Be sure to keep the blinds open on any rooms that get a lot of sun, ever little bit of extra heat can help keep those bills down.

13.  Get a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can help you save a ton of money by only turning on when you most need it. All HVAC systems work the same way – they are either on or off (there’s no low, medium, or high intensity setting). If you can keep your system off when you’re not home or when you’re asleep, you can save yourself a lot of money. They are easy to install and often break-even (cost vs. savings) within the first year.

14.  Consider lowering the temperature setting on your thermostat. A lower temperature means the system is on less, so try lowering the temperature a degree at a time.

15.  Replace your HVAC air filter. During the winter, when the system will run more often, it’s good to replace it monthly so that you don’t have a dirty air filter ruining the efficiency of the system.

16.   Install window insulators. Window insulators are simply plastic sheets you tape up over windows to add an extra layer of protection from the cold. If you have especially drafty or old windows (especially if they’re single pane), consider replacing them.

17.  Block those leaks – One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out, experts say. The average American home has leaks that amount to a nine-square-foot hole in the wall. First, find the leaks: On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets. Then, buy door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots. Outlet gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home’s outer walls, where cold air often enters.

18.  Don’t forget the chimney – Ideally, spring is the time to think about your chimney, because “chimney sweeps are going crazy right now, as you might have guessed.” That said, don’t put off your chimney needs before using your fireplace.

One other reminder: To keep out cold air, fireplace owners should keep their chimney’s damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use. And for the same reason, woodstove owners should have glass doors on their stoves, and keep them closed when the stove isn’t in use. An installation of a chimney draft guard will also prevent the loss of heat via your fireplace.

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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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Conservation Tip: Limit HVAC Leaks

Your central heating, venting and air conditioning  (HVAC) unit may be sending conditioned air to unwanted areas, such as attic and crawl spaces. Check your ductwork for leaks or have it inspected by an HVAC professional. Sealing leaks will keep you from wasting home energy and save you money.

Projected SavingsEstimated Annual Savings = $75 – $140

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