Showing posts with label HVAC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HVAC. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Retirees Can Save Money on their Energy Costs

Air conditioner, complete with piping, insulat...
Air conditioner, complete with piping, insulated with foamed rubber pipe covering (common refrigeration insulation, along with foamglass). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Winter can be a particularly hard time for anybody. People are more prone to illness, roads become burdened with inches of that cold powdery stuff, and our finances are strained by the increasing energy costs of keeping our homes warm. However, winter can be particularly hard on elderly retirees who are hoping to stretch their retirement budget as efficiently as possible. 

While other homeowners are able to turn off their systems to save some energy costs throughout the day, retirees don’t really have an option if they’re homebound. Especially given that around 70% of arthritic individuals suffer far worse pain due to arthritis in cold weather, it can be difficult to compromise on keeping a home heated comfortably for the sake of a budget.

However, with the right practices, retirees never have to worry about paying exorbitant energy bills to keep themselves warm. Here are a few tips that folk who find themselves retired, or anyone who spends the majority of their time inside, can benefit from in reducing their heating related expenses this coming winter:

Perform regular cleaning and maintenance


When it comes to your HVAC system, realize that many parts come with expiration dates. No air conditioner lasts forever, ducts require constant maintenance to remain sealed, and homes regularly need to be audited to make sure you aren’t wasting energy. But if you’re experiencing trouble with your system before your equipment’s typical lifespan, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re having regular maintenance and cleaning procedures performed.

It’s important to recognize how your system works if you intend on doing these procedures yourself. It’s important to recognize the sort of system your house runs on; while many homes run on centralized air conditioning systems, newer houses run on split systems. See this article for a look inside the split system A/C in your home.

Some general forms of maintenance that you should certainly consider to improve your equipment’s lifespan and energy efficiency include:

  • Changing or cleaning your filter
  • Cleaning coils inside and out
  • Monitoring your refrigerant for leaks
  • Cleaning your ducts when debris is excessive or creating a blockage

However, it’s important to recognize your limitations if you find yourself unable to accomplish these tasks. Various how-to’s exist online on these subjects for all kinds of circumstances, but doing repairs which are out of your comfort zone could result in personal injury or property damage. And remember – always turn off your system and disconnect power supply when doing any sort of in-depth maintenance.

Consider how well your home “stores” heat


Depending on the amount of insulation and how weatherized your home is, you might be losing a tremendous amount of energy in your home. With improper insulation, it can leak through your walls. With poor weatherization, you can be sending heated air directly out of gaps and crevices in your windows, doors, open frame construction, and other areas. We wouldn’t leave a door open with the heater on; it’s equally reckless to let these gaps go unmaintained if you want to optimize your heating system.

Installing insulation should be left to a professional, especially if it requires removing or working around insulation which contains asbestos. However, weatherizing your home puts you at significantly less risk. This simply requires knowing where to find leaks in your indoor environment and how to seal them using applications like caulk, polyurethane coating, weather-stripping, and other readily-available adhesives. Professional services can perform these tasks for you, though at a premium. Doing it yourself might be advantageous if your budget is too great of a concern and you are physically capable.

With these tips, you can save yourselves up to hundreds of dollars annually on your energy bills. More importantly, you can keep yourself cozy even in the harshest times of winter without worrying about spending too much.

By Jason Wall, an HVAC technician of over 23 years with Griffith Energy Services


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five Ways To Save Money On Your Utility Bills

English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH.
English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No matter how strong, or how weak, the economy is, the one constant seems to be the constant increases in utility costs. Every homeowner is always on the lookout for ways to save some money every month, and we will share with you some solid, effective ways to do so. Savings add up, month to month, and any changes made will soon pay for themselves.

Heating And Cooling


Heating and cooling a home is one of the biggest energy costs today, and actually one of the easiest to fix. The first thing to do is to have an inspector come out to check for possible leak points. The more air that escapes through ill fitting vents and gaps in walls or floors, the more dollars that get wasted on heating and cooling costs.

Shade trees behind, and on sides of the home will help reduce the need for high air conditioning costs in the summer. The added insulation from the sun’s rays will keep indoor temperatures down, and the AC kicking in less. Sealing the windows with plastic sheeting will do the same with heating in the winter.

Lighting


Dimmer switches will help to reduce the amount of lighting needed to illuminate the home. The brighter the light, the more energy is expended. If you will only be occupying a smaller area, use task lighting like overhead track lights instead of lighting up the entire room. Switch out light bulbs for energy savers in every room that sees a lot of traffic. Design the placement of furniture to take advantage of natural lighting, near windows, whenever possible.

Using Home Electronics


Research has shown that 60 percent of the power that each piece of home electronics uses daily is eaten up by continually sitting on standby. Don’t just turn the volume down, or leave that green light blinking, turn it off completely. To be honest, plugging them all into a surge protector power strips will not only preserve them from storms, it will also make it easier to turn them all off at once.

Appliances


Make sure that you keep all of the appliances in the home in good repair, especially items like hot water heaters, dishwashers, and washer-dryers. A machine like these that is damaged will work twice as hard to perform, using twice the energy. Upgrade to Energy Star rated appliances, if possible, which use less energy. With washers, dryers and dishwashers, consolidate loads whenever possible. If you have an appliance you no longer use, unplug it and take it away. One empty refrigerator alone will waste up to 160 dollars of energy costs.

Go On A Budget


A lot of municipal energy providers offer what is termed a ‘budget plan’ for cost conscious consumers. You will pay the same amount of money every month, regardless of what your meter says. On months that you do not use that much energy, the overage that you paid in will go into credit, which you can then use during months when you will need more energy, like summer.

About Author: Alisa Martin is a proficient author and writes articles on finance. She regularly contributes for the website Direct-payday-lenders.com.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to Save Energy on Your Home Air Conditioning

English: Thermostat FLZ 541 Русский: Термостат...
There is a lot you can do in order to ensure that you do not waste energy on your air conditioning. After all, you use your air conditioner the most during the summer. In fact, there may be days when you do not wish to switch it off at all. In hot climates, having an air conditioner is very important. So you need to find out ways, which are the most energy efficient, in helping you to cool your home. This way you will not have to pay any high energy bills. Thankfully, there are many different things you can do in order to use your air conditioner in a more efficient way, spend less money, and avoid wasting energy too.

First, you need a thermostat that is programmable for your air conditioner. This is a device that is temperature sensitive. Once it is programmable, you would be able to control when your air conditioning is switched on. You need to choose from the various programmable thermostat models available in order to find the one that will suit your specific needs. There are models that you can program for the whole week. This will suit those who have varying schedules and routines. So you can program each day depending on when you leave and when you come back.
There are also the five and two day models. These can be programmed for those five weekdays and the two days at the weekend. This is best for those who follow a different schedule during their weekend.

With a programmable thermostat you enjoy a cool house when you leave and be welcomed by a cool house when you return. Your air conditioning will get switched off during the rest of the day. You would be saving on energy this way.

Second, you need to think of solar energy in order to keep your home cool and to save on money too. The solar panels you use will take in energy during the day. You can use this energy in order to power the air conditioning system of your home. This way you would be using the sun in order to keep your home cool. Even though you should not turn towards solar energy for all your heating needs, but this is definitely an efficient way for you to lower your energy bills. Even though the start-up costs for using and installing solar panels may be somewhat expensive, the long-term savings that you would be making will make it worthwhile.

Of course, regular maintenance is important but is often neglected by a lot of people. You need to clean out your system each month. This will help you to get rid of any kind of dust or debris that may be lying around. You must replace the filter, too. Having less dust will ensure that your air conditioning system works more efficiently. You will also save energy this way. 

These are simple techniques that can be practiced by all in order to save on energy bills. Click here for more energy saving tips.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5 Smart Ways Property Managers Can Save Money

Yongjin Clover Apartment
 (Photo credit: Bitman)
Successfully maintaining an apartment building can mean big profits for owners and savvy property managers can save even more money while keeping tenants happy. 

Even little changes have a big impact and most of these changes are energy-efficient, too. And many new and existing apartment buildings can qualify for substantial tax deductions for these eco-friendly construction and changes. 

Conserving Water and Its Use

Water prices are rising, so it’s important to find ways to conserve and use water wisely. There are many ways property managers can make changes and many of these changes aren’t too difficult to tackle.

Repair leaky faucets which also reduces costly hard-water stains. Finding the right water holding tank is important as well. As the seasons change, review the watering schedule and make changes accordingly. Another thing you need to do is to drain the water heaters once or twice per year to remove built-up sediment.

Here are a few more ideas. Retrofit plumbing, toilets, showers and faucets. You may even find some incentives and rebates to help you do so for cheaper. And another idea is to change top-loading washing machines to front load or other energy-efficient models.

Choosing Proper Lighting

Replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and in common areas, use high-performance T8 lighting. Solar lighting recharges during the day and lights up at night and is something to consider.

You may also wish to install occupancy sensors to control common-area lighting. LED exit signs can equal further savings, about $40 per year. Consider when a room or space is vacant, the owner pays for any energy costs, so installing and encouraging efficiency is the way to go. 

Weatherizing Buildings

Sealing windows, ceilings, floors and doors with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping is one of the easiest ways to save on heating and cooling bills. According to the EPA, doing so can save up to 20 percent. Filters on heating and cooling systems should be changed every three months to increase energy efficiency and reduce the risk of failure. Also, installing programmable thermostats saves a lot of money. If funding assistance is needed, the Department of Energy has a Weatherization Assistance Program that might help your property. 

Conserving on Payroll Costs

Payroll is the single biggest operating expense. Web-based systems offer savings in this area. Property managers should also work to ensure they are hiring the right people, who will make tenants lives better. Of course, it’s important to do background checks — that is a worthwhile expense. 

Reducing the Advertising Budget

Similar to saving on payroll, going online for your advertising can also save money. Choose no-cost places to get the word out about your apartments, including Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter.

As a final tip, make sure you inspect all areas of your properties regularly and don’t defer maintenance until later. Fix things now while thinking about the future.

About the Author: Alisa Martin is a property manager with 15 years of experience. For finding the right water system for your apartment or property, she recommends Waterline Controls.



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