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Energy Use 101

Let’s be honest, we all can get very busy.  Whether it’s work, family and other commitments…how we use our energy is often the last thing on our minds.

However, if everyone spent just a little bit of time considering the impact of our energy use, we could substantially reduce both cost and our impact on the world.

Here is a simple list of energy rights and wrongs.

The Energy Wrongs

Forget about your filters.
Especially if you don’t mind paying more each month for heating and cooling your home. Dirty filters mean your system must work harder, resulting is less effectiveness (less comfort) and higher cost.

Hide (block) your vents
Maybe your heating and cooling vents aren’t the most attractive part of your home décor. However, covering them with furniture or other items dramatically reduces your system’s effectiveness. Let them be seen.

Buy it and forget it
Heating and cooling systems are almost constantly in use. In the same way that automobile and other mechanical devices need checkups and tune ups to ensure proper and effective use, so does your heating and cooling system. If you have not had your system serviced in some time, consider doing so this season.

Cut corners on insulation to reduce expense
Sure, you can save a little money by putting less expensive insulation in your attic and walls – but those savings are temporary. Not only will you pay more in energy cost over the life of your home but your system will provide less comfort.

Keep your garage door open
During the winter months especially, an open garage door allows cold temperature to more easily enter your home. When you are not coming in and out, keep that garage door closed. In order to allow hot air to escape your garage door in the summer, install a small window or vent and vent fan.

Set your thermostat really high
This works great to keep you warm as long as you don’t mind paying exorbitant energy bills. There is a misconception that setting your thermostat higher will help your system heat up faster. This is simply not true. Set your thermostat at the desired, reasonable temperature.

The Energy Rights

High tech thermostats
Programmable thermostats are an excellent way to save energy and money. You can customize the settings to ensure maximum comfort during waking hours, times when you are home versus at work, and even weekend settings.

Don’t heat the entire neighborhood
Remember when your parents asked you if you were heating the entire neighborhood? Ensure that weather stripping and caulking in window and door frames is not cracked or missing. It takes only a few minutes to re-apply caulking and will greatly increase your heating and cooling system’s effectiveness.

Check your ducts
Leaky ducts can account for anywhere from 10-30% of your total heating and cooling bill. It reduces the comfort level in your home and dramatically increases your energy use and associated costs.

Insulate outlets and installed electrical devices
The areas behind and around outlets and other electrical devices can be a significant source of cold and hot air transfer between the inside or your home and the outside. There is insulation specifically made for outlets and other electrical devices.

Switch to compact fluorescents
As you replace light bulbs around your home, begin using compact fluorescent bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are just as effective but last 10 times longer and use 75% less energy.

Plant a tree
Trees add to your home’s look and when properly placed on the sunny side of a home can have a significant effect on your home’s comfort level and your air conditioning bill. The shade during the hotter parts of the day reduces surface heat which transfers through your walls into your home.

If you are looking for other ways to make your home’s heating and cooling system more effective, consider speaking to a FLAME comfort consultant.

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