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For Your Basement

Product Of The Month: 3 Inexpensive Energy Efficient Products

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in For Your Home | 0 comments

Product Of The Month: 3 Inexpensive Energy Efficient Products

If the cooler weather has you dreading those winter heating bills, consider taking these 3 easy and inexpensive steps to make your home more energy efficient. Whether you rent or you own, these small improvements are well worth the time and money. Insulate Your Outlets and Switches Several companies, including Duck and Frost King, make pre-cut foam insulators for outlets. Since it’s only necessary to insulate outlets and switches on outside walls, save yourself some time on this project by keeping it small and skipping the outlet and switches on interior walls. Get more information on this project, here.   Insulate Your Water Heater With A Blanket This winter, keep your hot water heater cozy with a thermal blanket . Hot water heater blankets only cost $15-$30 so most people will find that they pay for themselves within a year, sooner if you’re like me and have an old water heater that sits in the middle of an unfinished basement. Get more information  on this project, here.    Install A Programmable Thermostat The first month after I installed a programmable thermostat, my energy usage decreased by about 20% and I immediately regretted waiting so long. There are many types of programmable thermostats available for under $30. The one I have is a Honeywell 5-2 day programmable thermostat which allows me to set cycles for weekdays and weekends to raise the temperature when I’m usually home and lower it when I’m not home and when I’m sleeping. If you have an irregular schedule and/or travel frequently and want to be able to monitor and adjust temperature setting from your phone or computer, check out the Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s a bit more pricey, but my friends who have one say it’s worth every penny. Get more information  on this project, here. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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3 Easy Steps To A Greener Furnace

Posted by on Feb 23, 2013 in For Your Home | 0 comments

3 Easy Steps To A Greener Furnace

It has been a long cold winter so far and it’s not over yet. If your getting frustrated with high utility bills which can indicate energy waste and the cycle of buying and throwing away furnace filters every month, there are a few simple things you can take to green your furnace. These steps are so easy and cost efficient, they make sense whether you rent or own your home. #1: Install A Programmable Thermostat As a renter I never installed a programmable thermostat, then when I bought my house I waited until half way through my first winter to buy and install one. After the first month my energy usage decreased by about 20% and I immediately regretted waiting so long. There are many types of programmable thermostats available. The one I have is a Honeywell 5-2 day programmable thermostat which allows me to set cycles for weekdays and weekends to raise the temperature when I’m usually home and lower it when I’m not home and when I’m sleeping. It costs less than $30 and came with a CD to show me how to install it. If I had know how inexpensive and easy these were to install I would have put one in every apartment I ever rented. If your schedule is very different from day to day, you’ll want the 7-Day Programmable Thermostat. On another level is the Nest Learning Thermostat which can be controlled through your computer or phone. Features include the ability to detect when you aren’t home and automatically adjusting the thermostat and tracking on your energy usage so you can analyze the information and find ways to save even more energy. Whatever thermostat you buy, remember to save the receipt and look for rebates that may be available through your utility companies. I was able to get my thermostat for free after receiving a rebate offered by the electric company. #2: Get Your Furnace Cleaned We all know we should get our furnace looked at every year by a professional, preferably before it turns on in the fall and blows all the dust that’s settled in it over the summer through the vents. Most home owners I know don’t get this yearly maintenance done and it results in wasted energy. A furnace doesn’t run constantly. It starts up, runs until it’s warm enough in the house and shuts off. If you have noticed your electric bill increases dramatically in the winter, your furnace is the likely culprit. If it’s not cleaned and properly maintained it runs longer than it should, using unnecessary electricity and/or gas and decreasing the life of your furnace. Furnace maintenance tends to be inexpensive but if you’re a renter you may not want to pay for it. In my experience I’ve found that landlords don’t often have furnace maintenance done because they don’t pay the utilities or don’t want to spend an afternoon waiting for the appointment. If you can, negotiate with your landlord to handle appointments and subtract the cost from your next...

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Make Your Water Heater More Efficient

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in For Your Home | 0 comments

Make Your Water Heater More Efficient

There are two easy things you can do to make your hot water heater more efficient. First, go to the temperature dial and turn it down! If you never turn your shower or kitchen sink to the hottest setting because the water is too hot to use, you’re wasting energy because you are keeping a tank full of water at a temperature that’s too high. Occasionally you may need the water hotter, for example you may want to use the sterilizing cycle on your dishwasher for canning, and on those days you can turn it up again. Second, keep your hot water heater cozy with a thermal blanket. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about doing this I thought this was silly because I had never seen a hot water heater with a blanket. Since I had just been house shopping I had also been in more than my fair share of basements and thought I had seen it all. However, I did buy a house with an old, inefficient hot water heater sitting in the middle of an unfinished basement that stays cool year round, so I decided to insulate it. Purchasing When you are comparing water heater blankets there are a few things to pay attention to: Size: Most blankets say they will cover a 60 gallon tank, but it’s best to measure your tank to make sure. Once you measure the diameter add the thickness of the blanket to your calculation. Most blankets are 2-4″ thick, so if your tank is already 75″ around and the blanket is 75″ long, the blanket will be too small. R-value: Buy the blanket with the highest R-value, because the higher the R-value the more effective the insulation. If you are curious about R-values, more information can be found here. Tape: Most water heater blankets will come with the tape needed to secure it to the heater, but check to make sure. I usually only see hot water heater blankets in the home improvement stores in the fall and winter, so I picked a out two blankets you can buy any time of the year. The first is the Thermwell Water Heater Blanket which is the same one I bought. It has an R-value of 10 and comes with the tape you need to secure it to the water heater. The second is the Thermalwell Silver Water Heater Blanket which looks a little nicer for those of you who may have a finished basement with a visible hot water heater. Installation When you are ready to install your water heater blanket you will need to have the items below on hand: Warm water and a cloth for cleaning the water heater. Scissors for cutting the blanket to the correct size. Marker for marking the cut lines. Proper attire for handling fiberglass. This includes a mask, gloves, hat, safety goggles and long sleeves and pants. For your safety, follow the installation instructions carefully. When cutting and installing the blanket, you will need to make sure you can still adjust the...

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