Posts Tagged ‘energy bills’

Happy…Energy Awareness Month!

October 13, 2011

Hey, at the end of this month while you are standing at your door letting the heat out while handing out candy to kids you don’t recognize, feel good that you’ve raised awareness amongst your friends by sending out e-cards from the Alliance to Save Energy!  Here are a few festive examples:

 

Happy energy awareness month!

Thanks,

Jason.

“Why does my new home have such high energy bills?”

March 2, 2011

We have too often heard the cry “my home is brand new and my energy bills are skyrocketing through the roof!”  Homeowners have falsely accepted that old homes have to be drafty, uncomfortable and costly to heat or cool, and most people just assume that a new home will automatically be efficient.     

It’s frustrating when you invest a great deal of time and money in a place meant to be special to us and quickly realize  that lighting, heating and cooling our home costs a great deal more than expected. On top of that it’s drafty, some rooms are too hot, or too cold, and you just can’t stay comfortable.  It’s unfortunate that energy and performance concerns are often left at the bottom of the list, if they’re considered at all. 

The problems in a new home may look different at first glance than the ones in a home 100 years old, but often they are one in the same.  Heating or cooling the air in the home too frequently because the home isn’t tight enough happens regardless of age.  Builders often overlook critical details needed to air-seal a house.  New homes like old ones can suffer from too little insulation in places, or insulation in the wrong place.   Poor duct work, inefficient or incorrectly sized furnaces and air-conditioners, and poor window performance plague new homes, too.  Refrigeration, lighting and other electrical loads often aren’t any different in a new home.  The good news is there are certainly ways to make new homes more comfortable and waste less money on utility bills.

Our customers who own newer and older homes  have happily discovered that with air-sealing, improved insulation and/or upgrading heating and cooling systems  as well as  lighting, comfort and savings can be achieved.  By acting on the recommendations of a good energy audit utility bills can be slashed in winter and summer.

Our advisors understand a house does best when it acts as a system and their recommendations work to truly fix the problems that make homeowner’s comfort levels go up and bills go down.  This works in a home 100 years old or only 1 year old. Stay tuned and we’ll talk more about how we can turn your brand new “old” home into what it ought to be.  And we’ll give  you pointers on things to look for and insist on when buying a new home—it’s always easier and less expensive to do it right the first time.  Unfortunately they’re building them faster than we can fix them!

Is It Time to Replace That Air-Conditioner?

August 4, 2008

With the high temperatures (and soggy humidity in the Northeast), here’s a question we’ve gotten a lot likely.  How do you know when it’s time to replace your air-conditioner?  There are several warning signs.  First, any air-conditioner that is more the 10 years old is a candidate for replacement. Energy efficiencies have improved dramatically, and top contractors like GreenHomes can install this new equipment so that you can get the most out of it.  Age of the equipment alone, though, isn’t the only sign that you may be ready. ENERGY STAR offers some guidelines for homeowners that make a lot of sense.  It’s time to call for help if any of the following apply.

  • Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up. There are a variety of problems that can creep in over time to make your cooling equipment less efficient.  Although some can be repaired, occasionally replacement can be more cost effective.
  • Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.  Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.
  • No one is home for long periods of the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.  Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat or have a good contractor install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while they’re away or sleeping.
  • Your home has humidity problems.  Poor equipment operation, inadequate or oversized equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer. 
  • Your home has excessive dust.  Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.
  • Your heating or cooling system is noisy.  You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.  
  • Your score on the U.S. EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick is low.  The Yardstick helps you determine how your energy use compares to others in homes like yours.

If any of these apply to you should have your system evaluated.  Make sure though, that you get a comprehensive assessment of your home first.  Many problems that appear to be with your heating and cooling equipment are actually caused by poor insulation, air leaks, windows, or other issues.  Unfortunately, these problems can be found even in newly constructed homes, and regardless of when it was built your home should get a thorough evaluation.

Much of the above applies to your furnace as well.  New “ECM” furnace motors are much more efficient than standard models and can lead to huge savings your electric bill.  Because inefficient motors actually generate waste heat, equipment with these new motors saves you twice with your air conditioning!  But I’ll talk more about furnaces later.

-Mike 


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