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What You Need to Know About Energy Audits

By on Apr 3, 2019 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Furnaces, Residential |

Saving money is always a plus, especially while being comfortable in your own home.  Be it winter or summer, the potential savings can be phenomenal. Back in August 2013, the government published Energy Saver 101 picturing a Home Energy Audit.  This publication has 101 ways to be protected from high energy costs.   What an energy audit is, and what it can do for you.  A home energy audit is an assessment of how well your home uses energy.  For instance, small cracks in the siding or foundation, can bring as much air into your home, as if you had left a window open for 24 hours.  Imagine leaving your window open overnight during subzero temperatures, how much harder is your furnace running? Or, leaving your window open all day while it is over 90 degrees and humid?  That’s when your air conditioning unit will be choking!  Take that extra pressure off your furnace and air conditioner by calling in a professional auditor.  Steps to take before signing a contract:  Check with your utility companies. They may do the audit themselves or be able to recommend a local company.   References. Get several references from the auditor company and contact them all.  Ask each referenced customer if they were satisfied with the results.  Call the BBB. The Better Business Bureau may have information on any complaints against the company.  Ask questions of the energy auditor.   Does the energy auditor use a calibrated blower door?  How about thermographic inspections?   If not, ask another auditor company.  Preparing for an audit.  Before the energy auditor visits your house   Make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms.   Have copies or a summary of the home’s yearly utility bills (electric and heating if other than electric; such as gas, fuel oil, and coal).  The auditor then will analyze the residents’ behavior:   How many people live here?   Is your home occupied during the day?  What is the average thermostat setting for summer? For winter?  Do you use every room in the home?  What to expect during an audit.   Room-by-Room. The energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence.  Utility Bills. A thorough examination of your home’s bills for electric and heating. This will give the auditor an idea of what to look...

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DIY versus Professional Air Conditioning Tune-up

By on Apr 2, 2019 in Air Conditioning, Cooling, energy efficiency, Residential |

How would you feel if you came home after a long, hot summer day, only to find the air conditioner has stopped working? And, then, to be on a waiting list, as the repairman made his rounds to all the other people who also are waiting? Guessing it would make you a bit hot under the collar, wouldn’t it? (pun intended) Preventive maintenance in the springtime is a much better option… Plan ahead and Enjoy your summer!     Benefits of Having an Annual Air Conditioning Tune-up  Spring is the perfect time to have your air conditioning unit checked out… That way you can be sure your system is ready when you are! While there are many things you can do yourself, there are still other things it’s best to call in the professionals for. To see what they are, feel free to reference one of our previous articles:   Besides coming home to a cool house when it’s super humid outside, here’s some other benefits to maintaining your air conditioning unit:  Prevention truly is the best medicine for keeping you cool. Scheduling your annual maintenance check is your first step!  You want your air conditioning unit to be in peak condition for the summer season. Plus, ongoing and preventative maintenance help contribute to the longevity of your unit.    Increase efficiency of your system. You not only want your air conditioning unit to work, but you want it to be as efficient as possible. Regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency as you keep your home cool and comfortable. Plus, it saves you money by helping you avoid some of those mid-summer repairs and it lowers your electric bill.   Improve the performance. Remember last summer when you noticed that the air coming out of the vents wasn’t quite as cool or blowing as strong as you would’ve liked it to? An annual maintenance check in the spring helps your air conditioning system provide a better cooling output throughout the humid summer months.  You can schedule your tune-up here!   So, what can you expect from your technician during an annual air conditioning maintenance check?  Following are three things your technician will do and why:  Clean the coils. Your technician will clean the evaporator and condenser air coils, because dirty coils can decrease the ability of your HVAC system to cool your home. Dirty coils can...

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Cold Weather Tips To Help You Save Money

By on Jan 11, 2019 in energy efficiency |

Cold Weather Tips To Help You Save Money The weather is now colder, and you feel like you are constantly looking at the thermostat trying to keep the house warm without draining your bank account for the colder months. Know that you are not alone, most households have this same issue throughout the winter months. Check out our list of 8 tips to help keep you warm this winter without going broke. 1. Open your curtains. If you live in a place where the sun is shining during the winter months use that to your advantage. Sunlight brightens and warms up a room. 2. Lower your thermostat at night and when you are not home. Bumping your thermostat down 2 to 8 degrees when you are sleeping or out of the house. No need to heat a house when no one is home, and we tend to sleep better in a cooler room. If you are a cold sleeper add blankets or warmer sheets. 3. Wear layers. While this isn’t ideal for everyone, a saying in our house growing up was “you can’t tell me you are cold unless you’re wearing long pants, socks, and a sweatshirt.” Layers of clothes are more or less free since they are already in your closet where turning the heat up will cost you money. 4. Keep your furnace clean. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when needed. 5. Check your housing insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat in homes due to lack of proper insulation. Insulation does not have to be expensive; check out your local hardware stores and stock up on what your house needs most. 6.Ceiling Fans! Use Them! Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow. Turning your fan on clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer. Keeping your ceiling fan on low will help keep the room warm. 7. Only heat the rooms that you are using, there is no need to heat guest rooms, or warmer rooms in your house, your bank account will...

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5 Upgrades that Boost Your Home Value

By on Aug 13, 2018 in energy efficiency |

There’s really only one word to describe the current housing market in Cleveland: HOT. It’s truly a seller’s market, with newly-listed houses getting snatched up by eager buyers practically overnight. This is a trend that’s actually sweeping across the nation, with home values up nine percent year-to-year. If you’ve been thinking it’s time to sell your current home, whether because your family is growing and needs more space or because you’re ready to downsize to a more manageable option, now is definitely the time. However, it might be a seller’s market, but you still want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when you list your home. The Best Ways to Increase Home Value If it’s a seller’s market, why should you be concerned with making any changes to your home? Well, for that same reason! Because the market is so hot, you might be faced with paying slightly more for your dream home right now. And that means you’ll want to make sure you’re getting as much for your current home as possible, so you can put that money into your new home. However, you should focus only on the upgrades that provide the biggest return on your investment. Here are the top five upgrades that can increase the value of your home: Make it energy efficient. The average American spends over $2,000 on home energy every year, and letting potential buyers know your home is energy efficient can definitely increase your profits when you sell. Focus on adding energy-efficient lighting, replacing drafty windows and doors, or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances that will stay with the home. Make it smart. Smart home technology is all the rage these days, and you can bet potential buyers will be looking for these upgrades in a home. Most smart tech isn’t very costly, and it can add a lot of appeal to those buyers. Consider swapping out your old thermostat with a smart thermostat, for instance, or adding smart door locks and lighting. Add some curb appeal. First impressions are everything, and if your home looks drab on the outside, some potential buyers may not even consider checking out the inside. Paint your front door an eye-catching...

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New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy, Organized Home

By on Jan 8, 2018 in energy efficiency, Residential |

You know the phrase: new year, new you. The start of a new year represents a perfect time to create some goals designed to improve your life in some way, whether it’s to work out regularly, eat more vegetables, or spend more time with family and friends. However, while you’re making this year’s resolutions, don’t forget about one more important aspect of your life – your home. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home – and How to Keep Them Home is where the heart is, and you and your family deserve a comfortable, clean and healthy space to live your lives. That’s why one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to get the home organized and tidy. Additionally, we recommend making sure your household is running as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Here are 5 achievable goals you can set for your home this year: Get rid of the clutter. Did you know that clutter can actually add to the stress in your life? It’s true! Clutter can overwhelm and overstimulate your mind, as your brain has to work extra hard to process everything it’s seeing. It’s time to downsize some of your belongings. Start with items you know you don’t use or need regularly. Then stick to the rule where for every new thing you bring into your home, you must purge one item. Conduct an energy audit. When your home isn’t energy efficient, you’re simply paying too much on your monthly energy bill. Start by swapping out old incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or CFLs. Secondly, check your windows and doors for drafts and make sure to seal them up using caulk and weatherstripping. Just a few small steps can result in a major monthly savings. For bigger savings, it could be time to upgrade your HVAC system or your appliances this year. Organize your storage spaces. Make it a goal to go through one storage space every month, whether it’s the junk drawer in the kitchen, the coat closet, or the basement shelves. Get rid of broken items, donate extra items or things you no longer use, and arrange the spaces in a way that makes sense. For instance, combining all hats, scarves...

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The Basics of Energy Efficient Lighting

By on Nov 6, 2017 in energy efficiency |

Did you remember to set your clocks back this weekend? Daylight savings ended early yesterday morning, so you’ll now notice a much darker sky earlier in the late afternoon/evening. And, this means when you’ll be getting home from work you’ll be flipping those light switches right away to see your way around without bumping into furniture or stepping on your cat. If you’re still using some of those old, incandescent light bulbs, it’s time to consider swapping them out to more energy-efficient options. In fact, according to more than 70 percent of homes in the country are still using inefficient bulbs, and 5 percent of the average household’s energy budget is dedicated to lighting. By making the switch to energy-efficient options like halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LED lightbulbs, you might notice a saving of as much as 75 dollars a year! As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment. Top Options for Energy-Efficient Lighting Since 2012, traditional incandescent lightbulbs have been phased out and replaced with more energy-efficient choices. Let’s take a look at each of the energy-efficient lightbulb options available today that will help save you some money on your monthly energy bill: Halogen Incandescent Lightbulbs Halogen incandescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than the traditional incandescent bulb, but of the energy-efficient lighting options, they actually only meet the federal minimum energy efficient standards. Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, they contain a capsule that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) You know those long tube lightbulbs you may have in your office building? CFLs are smaller, curly versions of those. They’re a little pricier than the traditional incandescent bulbs, but after about nine months you’ll have saved enough on your energy bill for them to have paid for themselves, and they’ll also last ten times longer than your old bulbs. And then the real savings kicks in. Compared to halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs save around a third of the energy of those. LED Lightbulbs Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they’re much more commonly known as, use only about 20-25 percent of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb...

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