G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Energy Savings’

Woodinville Easy Tips: How to Improve Efficiency This Winter

Monday, October 29th, 2012

“So I heard that energy prices are going down,” said no one ever. With energy prices on the rise and no end in sight, we’re all dreading our monthly utility bills. That’s why people everywhere are looking for cheap and easy ways to make their homes more energy efficient. We’ve put together some simple ideas that are fast and affordable to make your home more efficient this winter. By keeping more of your heat indoors you can use your heater less and potentially save yourself some money.

Insulation

The first thing you should do is climb up into your attic and check the insulation there. Heat naturally rises and will collect in your attic. If your insulation is old or if you have holes in it, you could be leaking all of that heat energy to the outside. Insulation is given an “R” value that determines its efficiency. Replacing your old insulation with newer, higher rated insulation could help keep more that heat indoors. You can also check the insulation in your floors and in your walls. These are other areas where heat can escape.

Window and Door Frames

Another place where heat can escape is through the frames in your doors and windows. Having your windows and doors sealed is a great way to keep more of that energy inside. There are weather stripping products and indoor sealants that are specifically designed for this application. Particularly important is the door to your attic and the door to your basement. These can be places where heat easily escapes to the outside. There are also thin, transparent seals that can be applied to your windows to keep heat from seeping through the spaces between the glass and the frame.

 Insulate your Water Heater and Pipes

Another way to improve the efficiency of your home is to look at your hot water system. If you have a tank water heater in your basement you might be losing a lot of heat energy there. Your basement can get freezing cold and if your water heater is there, the cold air could be sucking heat out of it. Insulating your heater is a great way to trap more heat inside of it so that it doesn’t have to keep reheating the water. You may also want to think about insulating the water pipes in your house. Not only can this keep more heat in the water as it is en route to your faucet, but it can also potentially prevent damage to your home from frozen pipes.

If you have any questions about increasing the efficiency in your home, contact the heating professionals at G & S Heating, Cooling & Electric today. We offer comprehensive heating services in Woodinville and would be more than happy to talk with you about your home heating situation.

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Landscaping, Your AC, and Saving Money!

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Who knew that proper landscaping of your home could save you money?  It’s true!  Our Everett air conditioners will work harder and more frequently than we would ever want to in direct sunlight, so landscaping is a way of giving the AC a break while at the same time saving money on utility bills.

  • Cut back any overgrown bushes or plants nearby, and remove any weeds growing near or over the AC unit, in order to ensure proper air circulation is maintained in the space immediately surrounding the AC unit. It might even be prudent to place stepping stones or cement in the foot of space immediately surrounding the AC unit, to keep a good barrier between the unit and surrounding foliage.
  • Pull out that green thumb and plant some flowers or greenery surrounding but not too close to the AC unit, making it a part of the yard’s landscaping, rather than an eye-sore which stands out.
  • Get your air conditioner under the shade.  This can be done simply by adding trees or tall bushes near the AC unit, protecting it from the blazing sun.  AC units can also be moved to the North side of a house or other building, making sure they are under the shade during the heat of the day.  Ensuring an AC unit is in the shade can mean not only saving approximately 5% on cooling bills, but can also increase the energy efficiency of the air conditioning unit by upwards of 10%.
  • Add trees or tall foliage all around a property to provide shade directly on the home or building, which can additionally contribute to overall cooling of the yard and buildings being cooled.

Proper landscape maintenance near, upkeep of, and airflow to an air conditioning unit ensures that there is reduced wear and tear on your Everett AC unit, helping it to run more efficiently for a much longer period of time.  Pay attention to your AC unit and it will provide a great service for many years. To schedule a maintenance appointment today, give G & S a call!

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Stanwood HVAC Question: What Will an Energy Audit Do?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

With costs constantly on the rise, Stanwood homeowners are looking for new ways to save money on their energy bills, such as conserving electricity, using less heat and exploring alternative energy sources. One great way to see how you and your family can use energy more efficiently is to get a home energy audit.

The goal of an energy audit is determine how energy is being used in the home in order to identify and correct any inefficiency. By finding ways to use energy more efficiently, you can reduce the energy used in your home without sacrificing comfort. Efficient use of energy reduces costs and environmental impact.

How It Works

To conduct an energy audit, a professional will use special instruments to inspect various aspects affecting energy use in your home, including construction, occupancy, appliance use, number of windows and doors, and so on. In this way, you can see how well your home is retaining heat and note any places where inside air may be escaping, making your home cooler or warmer than desired. For example, since a lot of heat can be lost through them, upgrading windows and skylights is an inexpensive way to gain a lot in terms of efficiency. Making sure windows are properly sealed, repairing worn weather stripping, and installing new windows with energy efficient certifications (such as LEED or Energy Star) are simple but effective first steps to making your home more affordable and eco-friendly.

Another aspect of energy audits includes prioritizing energy needs in order of importance, in order to reduce the use of energy on less critical functions. This may include collecting data on the local climate and past energy use. This data can be analyzed in order to identify and predict times when higher usage may be necessary, so that you and your family can prioritize according to your budget. For example, if the results of your energy audit show that July is historically the hottest month of the year and the month when you use the most electricity, you can make up for increased cooling costs by using other electrical appliances less. This way you can stay cool without going outside your utility budget.

Other solutions stemming from your energy audit may include installing insulated curtains, unplugging “vampire devices” like cell phone chargers, and avoiding the use of large appliances during warmer times of the day.

If you are one of the many interested in cutting energy costs, while helping the environment, a home energy audit is the first step.

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Duvall HVAC Contractor Tip: Energy Saving with Your Water Heater

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you want to lower the energy costs for your Duvall home, the water heater might not be the first place you’d think to save energy. However, when you add up the savings from a few easy steps that can improve your water heater’s efficiency, it can make a significant difference in your utility bills.

Here are some of the ways you can reduce the use of hot water in the home and increase your energy savings.

Saving Energy by Using Less Hot Water

Even if you own an energy-efficient, tankless water heater, and you try to conserve water as much as possible, hot water usage can always be reduced in other areas. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can provide up to 60% in water savings because they reduce the flow rate (gallons per minute) for each fixture. Tankless water heaters are also more efficient when they are used with any application with a lower flow rate.

Replacing older appliances that require a lot of hot water with more energy-efficient models is worth the money and effort because of the energy savings you will get in the end. Make sure you fix any leaks on older hot water faucet or fixtures. A leak that costs a dollar or two extra per month doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up over time.

Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

For every 10°F that you lower the water temperature on your hot water heater, you save between 3% to 5% in energy costs. The manufactured setting for most water heaters is 140°F, but most homes only require a maximum temperature of 120°F. Check your owner’s manual before you lower the temperature on your water heater to find out what the recommended settings are and how to change them.

Insulate Your Water Heater Tank and Water Pipes

Whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater, you can find fairly inexpensive and easy-to-install insulators or “jackets” for your water heater tank. Every tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses, so unless it is a high value, your water heater tank needs insulation. Call a professional or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of your hot water heater, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need more insulation.

You can reduce emissions and your energy costs simply by paying more attention to how much hot water you are using in your Duvall home. For more tips and expert advice, call us today to speak with one of our technicians.

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Kenmore HVAC Tip: Improving the Energy Efficiency of Existing Windows

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

There is a lot to be gained by purchasing energy efficient windows for your Kenmore home. They can help keep your temperature regulated air in and prevent outside forces from causing your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home comfortable. In some cases, it may make a lot of sense to replace your existing windows with newer, more energy efficient ones, but that is not always a viable option.

So what can you do instead? There are actually quite a few steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of the windows you already have. For starters, it is a good idea to make sure that all of your windows also have storm windows in place. Storm windows are not necessarily the best, most insulating things you can buy, but they do provide an important extra barrier against air moving between the indoors and the outdoors.

And not all storm windows are created equal. You can certainly opt for the cheapest kind out there, or you can pay a bit more for a product that actually offers a bit more protection against the elements. You will also have to decide whether you want to go for the type of storm windows that are installed on the outside of your existing windows or on the inside. In general, the indoor windows are the best choice, particularly for windows above the ground floor because they are easy to put in and take out and they provide a better seal against the outdoors.

That is not the only thing you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your existing windows, however. Another important step to take is adding weather-stripping around the windows and caulking any areas where air could come through. Even the smallest cracks can cause large losses of heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer, so making sure there is a good seal all around should be a top priority.

Another option worth considering is the application of one or more different window treatments. There are high-reflectivity films you can put on your windows that will help bounce the sun’s heat away from your home. You can also opt for more traditional sun blockers like awnings and blinds. A well insulated house with energy efficient windows will make your heating system more effective and save you money in the long run.

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What Do the Energy Stars Indicate? A Question from Wallingford

Monday, November 21st, 2011

If you’re in the market for any type of appliance for your Wallingford home, you’ve probably come across some that boast an Energy Star certification. But what does this really mean? After all, there are all types of special labels that manufacturers put on their products to make them look better, so how can you know which ones are really worth paying attention to?

Why Energy Star Matters

The truth is that no matter what type of appliance you’re looking for, from a coffee maker to a new furnace, buying one with the Energy Star label is definitely a good investment. This certification is conferred by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and it can only be used on products that pass the EPA’s stringent tests for energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Energy Star products create fewer pollutants like greenhouse gasses because they use less energy to get the job done than their inefficient counterparts. This is great for our planet, but it also translates to savings for you as a consumer. Because Energy Star appliances use less energy to heat or cool your home or do whatever else you need them to do, your monthly bills will be significantly reduced.

Quality and Performance Measured

And you don’t have to worry about inferior performance as a result of increased energy efficiency either. Energy Star products can only receive the label if they provide all of the features you’ve come to expect from comparable products across the board. They need to maintain high energy efficiency ratings while still maintaining a superior level of performance.

While it’s true that you may wind up paying a bit more for an Energy Star product, that is only a one-time cost. If you compare the monthly savings you’ll receive by using your Energy Star appliance on a regular basis to what you would pay out over time with a less efficient model, it’s easy to see how the Energy Star product costs you less.

For all of these reasons, the Energy Star rating is definitely worth looking out for when shopping for home appliances and equipment. These products are made to be reliably energy efficient and can save you a ton over the years as long as they’re properly cared for.

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Installing Automatic Thermostats – Quick Fix to Energy Savings in Marysville

Monday, October 10th, 2011

While you probably spent a lot of time researching your Marysville home heating and cooling system to make sure you got one with great energy efficiency ratings and all of the other features you were looking for, one thing you may not have thought a lot about is your thermostat. The thermostat in your home is your direct link to your home comfort system, and the type and quality of the product you have in place can have a much bigger impact on the performance of that system than you may initially realize.

Of course, any thermostat will get the basic job done. You set it for the desired temperature and it will communicate that information down the line to the heating and cooling system. But the better the thermostat you’re using, the better the communication and coordination between the two devices will be. And many advanced thermostats come with all types of special features that can both enhance the quality of your indoor environment and save you some considerable money in the long run.

Saving Money with a New Thermostat

So how can a thermostat save you money? There are actually a couple of ways. For instance, an automatic thermostat can be programmed to switch your heating and cooling system on and off at different pre-set times of day. That means you can have the heat or air conditioning turned off during the day and still come home to a comfortable house. Simply set the thermostat to come on right before you get home and you’ll be able to walk into a perfectly temperature controlled environment without having to keep the heat on all day.

Automatic thermostats can come with other great features as well. For instance, you can set them up to maintain different temperatures in different parts of your home. That way, your home comfort system doesn’t have to work harder to keep your whole house warm or cool when only part of it is in use. And when your home comfort system is working less and using less energy, it will last longer so you won’t have to pay for repairs or a new system nearly as frequently as you might otherwise.

You’ll also pay less on your monthly energy bills the whole time, adding up to a great deal of savings. It might never have occurred to you that a new thermostat could save you so much money, but with all of these benefits, it’s definitely worth looking into.

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