13 Energy Saving Tips For Winter

13 Energy Saving Tips For Winter

Although winter is still a few weeks away, it’s never too early to start preparing for cold weather. With cooler temps usually comes those dreaded high energy bills. Whether you’re looking to go greener at home or just save a little extra green in your wallet, there are lots of things you can do to save energy and cut down on the cost of your home energy bills. Check out these 13 tips to not only save energy, but save money and stay comfortable in the cold winter weather.

  1. Go Natural. The sun is an amazing source of free heat! Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to naturally heat your home. Close the drapes at sundown to retain this heat at night.
  2. Use Ceiling Fans. Ceiling fans can be used to get better airflow in your home. Running your fans counterclockwise can push hot air upwards in the summertime. Running them clockwise pushes warm air down in the wintertime.
  3. Adjust Your Thermostat. During the day, set your thermostat as low as possible to be comfortable. Adjust the temperature up at night before bed. The US Department of Energy reports that you can save about 10% per year on your utility bills just by turning your thermostat down by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours a day. One way to do this is to install a programmable thermostat in your home. This allows you to reduce the heat in your home while you’re out for the day and increase the heat before you get home in the evening.
  4. Bundle Up. Don’t shed your sweaters once you get home. Wear warm sweaters and socks. Lay area rugs throughout your home to insulate the floor. Keep throw blankets on the couch to wrap up in. Consider using flannel sheets and warm comforters in the winter months.
  5. Heat What You Need. Only heat the rooms you use most often. If you have rooms that you don’t use regularly (like a guest room or a storage room), close off and seal the vents to those rooms. This will not only make your home more energy efficient but will redirect the flow of air to the rooms you use more often. The Department of Energy reports that setting your thermostat to 62 degrees and using space heaters where needed can save you up to $200 per year on energy bills.
  6. Get Rid Of Drafts. Use heavy duty clear plastic to cover drafty windows. You can either use plastic sheets on frames or tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames during the winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame. Use tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty.
  7. Don’t Forget The Fireplace. Keep the fireplace damper closed unless you have a fire burning. Keeping the damper open lets warm air escape right through the chimney. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Check the seal on the flue damper and make sure it is as snug as possible. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
  8. Insulate. Americans lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from heated and cooled air escaping through poor or improper insulation. Make sure your home is properly insulated. Seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Install Energy Star doors and windows and use weatherstripping around them.
  9. Check Your Furnace. Make sure your furnace is kept clean and unblocked. This reduces energy consumption and helps you save money. Check your furnace filter monthly and replace it when it gets dirty.
  10. Use A Humidifier. During the winter, the air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air not only feels warmer, but also holds heat better. Using a humidifier can help your home feel warmer even when you have your thermostat set at a lower temperature. You can also increase the moisture in your home with houseplants.
  11. Limit The Exhaust. Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull warm air that rises to the ceiling out of your home so only use them when absolutely necessary. Make sure to shut them off when you are done.
  12. Lower Your Water Heater. Lower the cost of using your hot water by lowering the temperature setting to warm (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
  13. Switch to LED. LED lights use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights. They also don’t emit as much heat as traditional lights so they are much safer to use. Replace your household light bulbs with LED bulbs. This also applies to your holiday lights which also come in an LED variety. Always unplug your holiday lights when leaving your home or going to bed or use a timer if possible. Unplug small appliances when they are not in use. If you don’t want to have to remember to unplug all of them, consider using a power strip to turn all of them off at once. Holiday lights and appliances will continue to draw power even when they are not in use, increasing your energy bill without you even using them!
Winterize Your Home With TAP Insulation

Winterize Your Home With TAP Insulation

The leaves are changing colors and there’s a chill in the air. Finally! A break from the heat. And while most of us are looking forward to the cooler weather, the change in temperature also means changes in your home. As the weather cools off, it becomes more difficult to regulate your household temperature. And as your heating and cooling system works harder to control the temperature, the increased usage translates into increased utility bills. The is also prime time for wildlife and pests to seek shelter and food inside your home!

The solution: TAP insulation

Thermal Accoustical Pest Control insulation (TAP) is energy star-rated attic insulation made of 87% recycled newsprint. TAP insulation helps regulate the temperature in your home by keeping them consistent throughout all four seasons of the year. For example, TAP keeps warm air inside and cold air outside during the winter months. By reducing the energy needed to heat and cool your home, utility bills costs can be lowered by up to 30%!

As an added bonus, TAP is treated with borates –  a natural pest control product, providing permanent pest protection against roaches, ants and other unwelcome pests in your home. TAP insulation is also treated with a flame retardant that helps limit the spread of fire.

Install TAP insulation in your attic to get these benefits, not only this winter but throughout the rest of the year:

  • Immediate Return On Investment with lower energy bills
  • Going Green by conserving energy
  • Temperature Regulation for year-round comfort
  • HVAC Efficiency by decreasing the effort of your system
  • Fire Safety with flame retardant material
  • Permanent Pest Control Protection against ants, roaches, and more

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10 Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills

10 Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills

Your electric bills are probably at an all-time high right now. It’s hot, the A/C is running all day, and energy costs are on the rise. Here are a few tips on how to save some money this summer and in the upcoming winter months, by lowering utility bills and improving energy efficiency, making your home more comfortable:

1. Check to See if Your Home is Properly Insulated

Most homes don’t have enough insulation. Adding insulation to your home provides an immediate return on your investment by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home. Some products, like TAP Insulation, can even lower utility bills by up to 30% and has the added benefit of pest protection!

2. Install Weatherstripping Around Doors & Windows

Keeping cool air in during the summer and warm air during the winter increases the efficiency of your HVAC system and makes your home more comfortable (and keeps pests out!). Check around doors and windows for gaps and install weatherstripping to correct any issues.

3. Upgrade Light Switches to Dimmer Switches

Using less light powered by electricity is an easy way to cut utility costs. Consider installing dimmer switches in the areas of your home you spend the most time, and turn the lights on a low setting to conserve energy.

4. Install Ceiling Fans

While ceiling fans use electricity, the benefits of air circulation outweigh the electric usage. Run ceiling fans consistently to keep air distributed evenly throughout your home, making your HVAC system run more efficiently.

5. Enclose Your Crawlspace

One of the best ways to increase energy efficiency is by completely closing off your crawlspace with a service like Complete CrawlSpace. This could save you up to 18% on utility bills and offers other home-healthy benefits like mold growth prevention and pest control.

6. Keep Sunlight Out

While most of us love a lot of natural light coming into our homes, that sunlight heats up the house and makes HVAC systems work extra hard to keep it cool. During sunniest hours (12-4 ) keep curtains closed to cover windows or consider installing shutters, blinds or shades to help cut down on sunlight exposure.

7. Change HVAC Filter Once a Month

A lot of people forget to change their filter regularly which increases utility costs. Change your filter out about every 30 days to keep your HVAC system running efficiently.

8. Upgrade Your Appliances

While this will cost more out of pocket initially, the long term savings on energy bills will be worth the investment. Energy Star-rated appliances perform more efficiently, using less energy to perform the same functions as your old appliances. And you can always upgrade one at a time to spread the cost out over time!

9. Wash & Dry Better

When washing clothes or other laundry, use cold water cycles when possible and only wash full loads. If you’re using the dryer, make sure you clean the lint trap after every load; this maximizes your dryer’s efficiency so it doesn’t have to work as hard or long to dry laundry. It’s also a good idea to scrub the lint trap with soap water once every month or so to remove lint build-up. For even more energy savings, take advantage of the warm air outside and line dry your laundry instead of running the dryer.

10. Update Old Power Strips

Electronics in your home are using power (and increasing your utility bills!) even when they’re not being used. To avoid this, replace power strips with surge protectors that automatically turn off power to electronics or devices not in use.

 

Winterize Your Home to Save Money & Stay Warm

Winterize Your Home to Save Money & Stay Warm

Winter can be harsh on our homes and our wallets. It can be a struggle to keep warm air inside, making us cold and driving heating costs up. But you don’t have to be cold OR empty your pockets this winter with these home winterization tips.

Tune-up HVAC Systems

Keeping your heating and air system maintained with regular HVAC tune-ups will ensure your unit is running at maximum efficiency, making your home warmer and your bills lower. Regular maintenance will also extend the life of your HVAC system! This includes cleaning and/or replacing filters, checking thermostats, and checking/cleaning heating system components, all of which are usually included in an HVAC tune-up done by a heating and air company.

Add Insulation

Most homes don’t have enough insulation which is needed to help your HVAC system run more efficiently, keep cold air out, warm air in, resulting in lower utility bills. Call an insulation company – most offer free inspections – to check your home’s insulation levels. Then you can decide what and where you need additional insulation and what kind will work best for your home. Consider a blown-in option, like TAP Insulation, which has the added benefit of permanent pest control.

Adjust Water Heater

Set your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees or lower. This will save up to 10% on monthly water heating costs without you having to give up hot showers.

Turn Down the Heat

Don’t pay for unused heat by forgetting to lower the thermostat before you leave the house. To make this easy, consider installing a programmable thermostat.

Weatherstripping

Sealing gaps around your home is one of the easiest ways to keep warm air in, cold air out, prevent pests, and save money. Check around windows, doors, chimneys, and pipes for openings, gaps, and cracks, and repair as needed. For added protection, consider installing storm windows and doors.

Insulate Pipes

Lower water heating costs and prevent pipes from freezing by insulating them. Check your local home improvement store for insulation options; most are easy to install yourself.

Winterize Your Home to Save Money & Stay Warm

Winterize Your Home to Save Money & Stay Warm

Winter can be harsh on our homes and our wallets. It can be a struggle to keep warm air inside, making us cold and driving heating costs up. But you don’t have to be cold OR empty your pockets this winter with these home winterization tips.

Tune-up HVAC Systems

Keeping your heating and air system maintained with regular HVAC tune-ups will ensure your unit is running at maximum efficiency, making your home warmer and your bills lower. Regular maintenance will also extend the life of your HVAC system! This includes cleaning and/or replacing filters, checking thermostats, and checking/cleaning heating system components, all of which are usually included in an HVAC tune-up done by a heating and air company.

Add Insulation

Most homes don’t have enough insulation which is needed to help your HVAC system run more efficiently, keep cold air out, warm air in, resulting in lower utility bills. Call an insulation company – most offer free inspections – to check your home’s insulation levels. Then you can decide what and where you need additional insulation and what kind will work best for your home. Consider a blown-in option, like TAP Insulation, which has the added benefit of permanent pest control.

Adjust Water Heater

Set your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees or lower. This will save up to 10% on monthly water heating costs without you having to give up hot showers.

Turn Down the Heat

Don’t pay for unused heat by forgetting to lower the thermostat before you leave the house. To make this easy, consider installing a programmable thermostat.

Weatherstripping

Sealing gaps around your home is one of the easiest ways to keep warm air in, cold air out, prevent pests, and save money. Check around windows, doors, chimneys, and pipes for openings, gaps, and cracks, and repair as needed. For added protection, consider installing storm windows and doors.

Insulate Pipes

Lower water heating costs and prevent pipes from freezing by insulating them. Check your local home improvement store for insulation options; most are easy to install yourself.

How Insulating Your Attic This Winter Can Save You Money ALL YEAR

How Insulating Your Attic This Winter Can Save You Money ALL YEAR

The majority of homes we inspect do not have adequate insulation in the attic. Most often, when homes are constructed, contractors will install the minimum amount of insulation required. While minimal insulation is better than no insulation, having the proper amount will make your HVAC system run more efficiently which keeps your home warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and saves you money on energy bills ALL YEAR LONG. The investment of insulation begins paying for itself immediately!

For attic insulation, there are a lot of options you can choose from, making it a somewhat stressful decision for homeowners. Here are some things to consider:

  • Does your attic currently have some type of insulation? If so, you may want to with a loose-fill product since it fills in gaps well OR have the insulation removed and replaced (common when insulation is contaminated by pest infestations or water-damaged).
  • Are you planning to insulate the attic yourself or call an insulation contractor? Installing loose-fill or blown-in insulation is more labor-intensive compared to batt insulation since it requires special equipment to install.
  • How much accessible space is in your attic? Batt insulation is relatively easy to install in accessible spaces with higher ceilings, but not recommended for areas with a lot of obstructions. Loose-fill insulation is blown into your attic, making it a better choice for spaces with limited accessibility.
  • In what type of climate is your home located? This will determine how much insulation you need, using R-Value minimums established by the Department of Energy (see map below).

insulation r-value minimums
For most insulation projects, we recommend using TAP Insulation. TAP is a loose-fill, cellulose insulation product that guarantees energy cost savings of 20-38% when installed at recommended R-Values. TAP, short for Thermal Acoustical Pest Control, Insulation is made of 87% recycled newsprint, is energy star rated, and treated with borates, a natural pest control product that provides permanent pest protection in your attic. TAP is also unique in that it has the added benefit of fire protection. And, in addition to saving you tons of money throughout the year on utility bills, TAP Insulation keeps warm air inside in colder temperatures, cool air in warmer temperatures, making your home comfortable year-round.

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