Tag Archives: Energy Savings

Make Sure Money Isn’t Spilling Out Your Garage!

Make Sure Your Garage Isn’t Tacking Money On Utility Bills…

As ever-increasing home energy bills continue to plague Americans, homeowners are looking for cost-effective ways to reduce their heating and cooling costs. If your house has not been properly insulated, you may be paying more than you should to heat or cool it.

Nearly all modern homes have insulation throughout the living spaces, but garages commonly get overlooked. Because the garage is the last barrier between your home and the outdoors, it’s important to ensure the insulation is adequate. You can do a few simple things to make sure your garage is insulated properly.

First, it’s important to ensure that the door leading from your home to the garage is sealed properly.

Other areas to consider when checking your garage’s energy efficiency are the ceiling and the garage door threshold. If there is a room above your garage, it may be beneficial to bolster the insulation in the garage’s ceiling to help keep the living space above it comfortable. For the threshold, installing a rubber seal-strip on the floor where the garage door closes helps prevent air leaks, and keeps out insects and rodents.

That said, one of the most important areas to examine is the garage door itself. While installing a pre-insulated garage door can cost up to a thousand dollars or more, and requires a skilled contractor, there is a simple and inexpensive DIY solution to insulate your garage — garage door insulation kits.

Homeowners can easily insulate their existing garage doors with these kits, which are readily available in leading home improvement stores or online. These affordable and easy-to-use kits are made to fit standard garage door sizes and can be cut to fit non-standard sizes. With pre-packaged insulation, do-it-yourselfers can insulate their garage door in less than an hour, at a cost of less than $100. Kits use energy-efficient expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation panels — a rigid white foam that trims easily, is durable, offers excellent long-term insulation, and gives your garage a professionally finished look.

During fall and winter, the insulation helps keep heat inside the garage so that the furnace does not work as hard and use as much energy. In the summer, the insulation helps keep the sun’s heat at bay so the garage can stay cool. Insulating your garage also helps reduce interior noise and can earn federal tax credits as an energy-efficient upgrade (check your local energy guides for more information).

Source: The Dallas Morning NewsGetContent.asp

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Water Heating Savings!

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Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home.
It typically accounts for about 16% of your utility bill. There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient water heater.

A family of four, each showering for 5 minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water a week; this is enough for a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person. You can cut that amount in half simply by using low flow aerating shower heads and faucets.

Water Heating Tips

* Install aerating, low-flow faucets and shower heads.

* Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.

* Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses. And, today’s Texas Standards of Practice states that water heated over 120°F is a SAFETY HAZARD

* Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.

* Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow themanufacturer’s recommendations.

* Insulate your natural gas or oil hot water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.

* Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.

* If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving model to reduce hot water use. (Or air dry or hand dry dishes)

* Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps.

* Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer’s advice.

Long-Term Savings Tips

* Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. If your current water heater is electric, consider switching to a natural gas water heater if gas is available.

* Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system. A recent DOE study showed energy savings of 25% to about 30% for water heating using such a system.

* Consider demand or tankless water heaters. Researchers have found savings can be as much as 34% compared with a standard electric storage tank water heater.

If you heat water with electricity, have high electric rates, and have an unshaded, south-facing location (such as a roof) on your property, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house. More than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the United States have invested in solar water heating systems, and surveys indicate over 94% of these customers consider the systems a good investment. Solar water heating systems are also good for the environment. Solar water heaters avoid the harmful greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. During a 20- year period, one solar water heater can avoid over 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. When shopping for a solar water heater, look for systems certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.

Source: ShelmanHomeInspection.com

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