Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Consider Your Windows For Ways On How To Save Energy

As you get more into things you will discover many ways on how to save energy in the home. Have you already considered your windows?  Are they everything that they can be to you?

Windows are notorious energy drains if not approached in the right manner. Obviously we can't do without windows in the home. So what is so bad about windows and what can we do about them to reduce our energy consumption in the home?

Well, the thing that's bad about windows is that they allow air to pass through them easily. In fact,did you know that 35 percent of your cooling /  heating energy is lost through windows if your windows aren't insulated properly. In other words, 35 percent of the energy that you use could be lost through your windows.

OK, so the obvious question comes to mind...should I replace my windows?

Even though there are several things that you can do to improve the performance of your windows replacing your windows if they are old is probably necessary. Ideally, windows should be replaced every ten to twenty years depending on the type of window and its insulation.  Its not so much their age, though, as the way in which they work.

What you are looking for in a window is a good level of insulation.  You want to keep the heat inside during the winter months and the cold outside and vice versa for summer.  Nevertheless, this characteristic is difficult to achieve with older windows. 

Ideally, if your budget allows for it, you should consider double glazed windows. The air gap between the two panes of glass acts as a insulation layer similar to that around the water heater. This insulation allows the heat to stay inside during winter and leaves the cold inside during summer.

Other thing to look out for in your windows are cracks or breaks in the windows. If there are cracks, breaks and other areas where the window is compromised, you should consider replacing these windows.

However, when it comes to replacing windows, the old saying "quality over quantity" comes into play. You shouldn't go out and buy the most expensive windows out there. Because energy losses through windows make up such a big portion of the energy that you use, you want to buy the best quality windows for energy efficiency that you can.

Ideally, they should look good, but aesthetics should take second place here, since it is more important to get windows that will keep temperatures consistent throughout the home.

The cost of replacing windows is a large one, however the savings you may gain may be just as large.

Because of the rather large investment needed to replace your windows you may want to wait a couple of additional months before purchasing windows and that is just fine. Meanwhile, why not consider any of these other ways on how to save energy to save you money?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Winter Is Gone, But Your Heating Bill Is Still On Its Way

Winter is an ideal time to find out many ways on how to save energy in your home, since heat losses are much more evident in the cold conditions.

Everything in nature runs in circles and is rhythmical. And so are the seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. And so it has been since the beginning of time. Even this year has seen winter come, but your heating bill is still probably on its way.

Did you know that you can really cut down on heating costs by just preparing your house before winter. However, preparing your house for winter does not have to become an annual thing. Do it right once and never do it again, or at least not so often.

There are two words that describe winter: cold air. And, cold air means higher electricity bills. Winter is usually the time of year when your utility bills usually shoot for the sky. Have you ever investigated why this is so? Well, in winter you need to heat your home. It is critical that our home has the right temperature and during the winter we typically turn on our heating system to do this. And because we use our heating system so frequently, this is then usually the biggest contributor to our electricity bills. But all this can be changed, with a little preparation. All you need is the right tools and the right information.

The fireplace – Your fireplace actually costs you a lot of money annually. But repairing and cleaning your fireplace is no major task and with some minor checks you could be reducing your energy consumption. The best thing to do is to endure that the damper is tightly sealed when you are not using your fireplace. A lot of heat (which costs money to generate) escapes through your fireplace and also allow cold air to enter your home, which means that you would have o turn up the thermostat (costing even more energy, i.e. more money). And, if you decide to use the fireplace, make sure to open the damper again and turn down your thermostat for that time. You could save as much as 8% on your heating costs during the time your fireplace is being used.

The furnace – The furnace is a machine. And just like any machine, the furnace needs to be in a good clean condition to work efficiently. One thing is for sure, the furnace will not operate at its best efficiency when the filter is full of dirt. Logically, the furnace will then consume more energy to achieve desired operational point. So it’s simple, just make sure that your furnace’s filter is clean. Read the owner’s manual if you are unsure how to clean the filter, or simply call a handy man to do it for you. When your furnace operates at its optimum efficiency you could save up to 5% on heating cost.

The ventilation duct –Ducts that are leaking air due to small holes in them will definitely result in lost heat. Your ducts should be regularly checked that they are not leaking. You should also make sure to insulate the ducts. Typical duct insulation you can use is R-6 or higher fiberglass. This material should be available at your local hardware store. Leaking ducts put 30% more on your heating bill so it is well worth it to make sure that they are sealed and insulated properly.

The solar heat – This does not mean that you have to have solar panels on your roof. Simply leave your drapes open during the day to allow the heat from the sun to come in throughout the day. This is sure to heat up your rooms without using electricity. But you have to remember to close the drapes at night. This simple trick can cut as much as 10% off of your heating bill.

The openings – Openings on your doors, joints, windows and sills allows the cold outside air inside. Sealant or weather stripping can be used to make sure that these openings are sealed properly. Even though this might look like a small change it will make a considerable difference on your heating bill.

The thermostat – Technology can help a lot nowadays. Programmable thermostats or centralized heating systems have the potential to allow you to save on your heating cost. With programmable thermostat you can set your desired room temperature for any specific time of the day. On the other hand, centralized heating systems give you full control over the temperature in every room. It is interesting to note that one degree difference on your thermostat can make as much as 5% difference on your heating costs.

So there you have it. Some of the areas you can check on to make sure that you do not waste unnecessary energy during winter and possibly also save some money in the process. For more information for ways on how to save energy download my free ebook.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Small Things Can Go A Long Way In Ways On How To Save Energy

In my eBook you will find a lot of different tips and tricks to help you to save money on your home’s energy needs by showing you some ways on how to save energy.

But, as I mentioned earlier, the right thing to do would be to start small and work up to larger changes in your home. Now, that doesn't mean that you can't do both, but I will begin to show you some of the small, inexpensive ways that you can begin with to improve energy efficiency in your home.

Here are some pretty simple yet effective things you can do right now to get started to reduce your energy consumption and start saving your hard earned money.

First off, as mentioned earlier somewhere, you can insulate your water heater.

There is a lot that you can do with your water heater to reduce its energy consumption.

Firstly, are you aware that at the moment you are heating water to a certain temperature for your shower or your washing machine and then you bring that temperature down by mixing it with cold water so that it is usable?  I'm sure that most people can't use hot water straight from the water heater. Now this is one simple and obvious step that you can take to lower your energy consumption. If you haven't done this yet, please go ahead and do it. Simply lower the hot water temperature to the lowest comfortable setting for your needs. By heating the water too much you are actually throwing away money by cooling it down again for showering or washing. Most hot water heaters have dials that you can use to lower the heating temperature of your water heater. Just be sure not to go below 120F as your water heater will become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria below this temperature.

Furthermore, you could install a timer on your water heater. Why would you want to heat water over and over during the day if you aren't at home or don't use hot water during the day?  Simply set the timer so that it switches on before you come home from work so that hot water is ready and waiting for you. 

Similarly, at night you're probably also not using hot water. Therefore, by insuring that the timer keeps the heater off during the night when you know you won’t be using hot water you will be again saving a lot of energy.

However, having the water heater insulated is probably one of the largest benefits in regards to saving energy. Typically, your water heater should already be insulated, just take it up a notch. If you add more insulation around the outside of your water heater, you will be reducing the amount of heat lost from the water, therefore reducing the amount of times the water needs to be reheated, resulting in a lower energy consumption. 

This is probably one of the easiest ways on how to save energy in the home. Obviously, you will get optimum results if you incorporate all strategies discussed above.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Getting Started Finding Your Biggest Needs Is An Important Step To Finding Ways On How To Save Energy

By reading the previous posts you should have a better idea of how to go about considering any and all products that you will put into your home, you should be thinking what your biggest potential need for your attention is for ways on how to save energy.

While you were analyzing your monthly utilities bills, you should be able to see which source of energy you use the most.  For myself and for most people I think, this is gas. 

Gas is rather expensive and, as with any carbon based fuel source, there is no doubt that the price of it will continue to rise in the future. It is inevitable. But, it is a little more complex than that.  You've probably heard that within the next sixty years, most scientists believe that we will have exhausted all of the world's crude oil supplies......that also means no more gas!

As the supply of a product dwindles, the costs of it goes up. It is a simple economic principle (supply vs demand). To make matters worse, we continue to use more and more gas each and every year. In other words, as we use more gas the demand for gas increases. As the demand increases, so does the price for gas. It's a vicious cycle.

Furthermore, gas is not exactly a clean fuel. Burning gas produces CO2.....and we all know that that is a greenhouse gas. Does melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels ring a bell? So by using gas we are actually paying for the destruction of our planet. Ok, I may be a bit dramatic here. Don't worry, the future not that bleak.

Really now, what does this mean?  All I am trying to say is that now is the time to look at how you can save gas costs within your home. You know prices are going to increase inevitably along with your utility bills. But this doesn't mean that you have to keep on loosing money.

There are a number of ways to save on gas, as you will see in my free eBook.  If gas comes out at number one, this is where you would want to start.

Now obviously, gas it not the only fuel that you use in your home.  Electricity can be another potential one of the ways on how to save energy in your home and save money if you learn to use it wisely. All you need to do is spend some time to find out exactly where you use it and how you can save in doing so.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Cost vs Savings Analysis - Another Bridge to Cross to Find Ways On How To Save Energy

Ok, so you though you can go right into applying ways on how to save energy in the house? Unfortunately, before you get into saving money with methods to reduce your energy consumption each month, you need to understand the benefits of energy savings by smart investments.

You are probably well aware that the world is in an energy crisis and the cost of gas and other energy sources will undoubtedly continue to rise. In times of turmoil you get opportunists that want to make as much money out of you as possible by selling you the magic pill.....the one solution to everything. Unfortunately, these guys are also in the home energy business and are promoting very expensive products. Please note that there are legit products out there and legit people promoting these. This is just a warning that you must watch out for those that are out to get a quick buck.

Now before you even think about buying any product you should be 100% sure that it will be cost effective and worth your hard earned money. Otherwise, it will cost you more in the long run. This is why a cost vs savings analysis is such an important step.

Here are few good tips about buying any item that someone may present to you as a way on how to save energy on your home.  Investing in anything no matter how big or small the price tag is an important decision. So, as with as with any important decision take some time to really think about what you are investing in before you do so. This alone can save you money.

Here are some things to think about:

•  What is the product promising to do for you?  You get products that promise miraculous results. Be sure that they can deliver what they claim. Do some research.  Remember, if there was a miracle product out there, wouldn’t we all have it by now?

•  What is the cost of this product? Don't just think of the initial cost, think of the cost of the product over it's entire life cycle. You have to buy it, install it (or have a specialist install it for you), commission the product and keep it in working order. All of these activities have a price tag. And finally, once the product has reached it's life expectancy (remember, nothing lasts forever), you have to uninstall it as well, which is another cost. All these costs add up in the end and you should make sure that after all this you will still be saving money in the long run.

•  Will you be able to reap the benefits immediately?  In other words, you should be able to immediately reduce your energy consumption.

•  Finally, when will you see a return on investment? How long will it take until the product has paid for itself?

When you take above into consideration, you will be able to better understand the true benefit of any supposed energy savings gadget that is available on the market. For more information don't forget to download the free Ebook.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The First Step in Ways On How To Save Energy In the Home - Determine Current Costs

As mentioned in my first post this is the first thing that you should do on your energy saving journey when looking at ways on how to save energy. You have to know exactly just what you are currently paying for your energy.

If you do this correctly and take enough time to determine what you are currently spending on energy, you will be in a much better position to determine which areas you can possibly save with. Obviously, in every state there are different rates, co ops and various different types of fuel to take into consideration. 

All you basically have to do is to find out what you are paying for your energy and the best and most obvious place to look is your monthly bill payments. When you look at your monthly energy bills you should try and focus on two things: 

•  How much do I pay per unit of each fuel type?

•  How much of that fuel type do I use per month in units?

Once you've determined that you should then ask yourself how you can change these. This is where you will start thinking ok, I could save on electricity by buying energy saving light bulbs, or insulting your water heater properly. While there are many ways on how to save energy these steps do help, there are numerous other ways to save energy. I am not saying  that you shouldn't install energy saving light bulbs or properly insulate your water heater (please do it, it is definitely worth it!), I am saying that you should be thinking more out of the box. For some really great ideas on how to save energy in the home have a look at Save On Home Energy. If you combine these techniques with the obvious ones you will be amazed at the results you get.

On a side note, here's how I cut down on some of my energy costs. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending which way you look at it), this has nothing to do with reducing energy usage, so it will not impact your life style in any way. You could lower the cost per unit of each fuel type you are using?

Here's a little tip. When you go shopping do you buy brand X, Y or Z? Do you buy brand X, Y or Z based on cost? Well, cutting down on your energy costs is exactly like shopping. Ask yourself this, do you have the most cost effective provider of each fuel type that you are using?

Nowadays there are several suppliers of each type of fuel. If you think about it, you may have a choice between which gas company you use or which electric company you use.  If this is so, then you should find out which company can give you the best deal with the lowest rate per unit of fuel used. 

Simply contact your local government, if you want to find out if you have an option in this service. They should be able to easily tell you which providers are available as well as provide contact information to you. 

Once you have all the necessary details give each provider a call and ask them if they do in fact provide to your home.  If they do provide to your home, ask them what their rates per unit are, as well as any transfer or account set up fees that they may have.  Do this for all of the providers in your area until you find the best deal. I found that doing this exercise on a excel spreadsheet makes the decision taking process a lot shorter. Simply fill in the rates, any comments you may have and then sort your data in ascending order. The rate at the top should be the lowest and your choice (depending on any comments you may have jotted down).   

By doing the above, you can save some money without having to break your head about investing in a state of the art piece of equipment that will cost you a lot of money. You just need to spend a couple of minutes of your time. There is much more information in my free eBook that you can download here, it's called Ways On How To Save Energy.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Why I Bother Writing About Ways On How To Save Energy

Well, it's because of this question that I hear a lot lately: What are ways on how to save energy in the home?

More and more people are starting to realize that their monthly energy bill is starting to hit hard on their pockets. And unfortunately this scenario is not going to change soon (if at all), as it is predicted that the cost of energy will become ever more expensive in the years to come. We are now throwing away money on expensive energy that we could be saving for that special holiday, or be spending on ourselves or our loved ones.

However, I've learned that by changing small habits and making minor improvements in my home I can cut down on my energy consumption. By applying what I've learned you can reduce your energy consumption at home as well and start saving your hard earned dollars for something special. My profession (I'm a mechanical engineer by day), has also helped me a lot to take me through this process, since this is what we engineers are being paid for......optimization. But, before we can get into ways on how to save energy we first need to establish where we are now. This is going to sound like I'm going off topic, but it's not, so please bare with me.

Saving energy in your home can be compared to a journey. Every journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. You should also know that you can get lost on your journey. All the information for your energy saving journey is freely available on the internet. But, as is typical with the internet, there is just so much information out there that you can get overwhelmed (i.e. this is when you get lost.....when you get lost you won't get to the end, or it might take a while). And that is the main reason why I am writing this, to prevent you from getting lost on your energy saving journey. Hey, and if this helps you save more energy and money in the long run, you might pass this knowledge on to your friends, who in turn pass it on to other in the end, we all save energy, which will also help save our planet.

Ok, before I go off sounding too much like a tree hugger (no offense to any tree huggers out there), let's keep on going with the subject at hand. Like I said before, all the information for ways on how to save energy in the home is freely available on the web. However, to keep you from spending hours of your precious time researching ways on how to save energy at home I highly recommend that you keep on reading this.

I've also compiled an "eBook" (if you will), which you can download for free, just check out the link at the top of my blog homepage. This eBook will take you by the hand from start to finish and also show you some really easy to implement home improvements that will reduce your home energy consumption. Some of the information contained in the eBook is actually in some of my posts. But this is only a small bit. For all the bells and whistles I suggest you download the eBook as well.

A further resource I highly recommend is "Save On Home Energy". This is, let me rephrase......this is THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE for ways on how to save energy at home. "Save On Home Energy" is  easy to read and understand and will show you every little secret there is on how to save energy in the home so that you could save up to 50% each month on your home utility bills without installing solar panels or wind generators. Most of these ways on how to save energy won't cost you much, but the savings you experience will be great.

With that said, I now officially want to welcome you to the beginning of your energy saving journey. Don't worry, it's not difficult at all to reduce your energy consumption, and it will be completely painless too. You will be surprised how much difference a little change can do.

So where are we going to start? Obviously you have to download my free eBook "Ways On How To Save Energy" first. Ok, then you have to know on what and how much you are spending on energy. Next you'll have to look at where you can start easily changing some things to reduce some of that energy consumption. Finally, you will have to check whether or not it is really feasible to make those changes. And, if it is, you'll just  have to implement the strategy, monitor the results and enjoy the savings.