Saving money and energy by only changing your lighting? Sounds like a bright idea to me! Energy efficient lighting is one of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills. Here are some ideas to save money more than just changing out incandescent bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs.
You might think that something so small in your home, which uses so much less energy than, say, your AC unit, might not make a difference. If that’s your thought, let me illuminate you: lighting is one of the easiest ways to save energy, with the most immediate results. Even if you’re not paying much just to light your home, waste is waste, so let me bring a few ideas out of the shadows and into the light:
Firstly, keep your lamps (and even your other appliances!) away from the thermostat. Every thermostat has a sensor so that it can tell how warm the room is, and whether it needs to be running the air conditioning. If the sensor is too close to a warm lamp, the sensor will pick up on its warmth and run the AC longer than necessary.
Lamp placement can help save energy in other ways, too. For instance, try putting a lamp in the corner of the room. A lamp placed against a single wall only has one surface to reflect light off of, but placed against two walls, your lamp reflects twice the amount of light. This makes your lamp appear even brighter than normal, and offers an opportunity to use a lower wattage bulb for the same amount of light.
Speaking of lower wattage bulbs, another idea is to replace your lesser-used light bulbs with a lower wattage. While you do this, you can also upgrade your most used lights with an energy efficient bulb.
Keeping your lights on a timer helps you keep your energy use on a regular schedule, while a motion sensor attached to your lights allows you to make sure you are only keeping lights on when you need them, instead of when you forget about them.
Who would've thought you could do so many different things to save energy from just your lights? At Green ID, we can help your energy efficiency shine bright with a home energy audit. Don't be in the dark about your home's energy waste, call us at (602) 926-1650 today!
Whether you spend every night in the kitchen making dinner or its main use is warming up left overs, these tips can help you cut down your spending and energy use in the kitchen.
Pots, Pans, and dishes
Using a warped pan to cook can be an energy sucker. Using a warped pot to boil water can take longer and use 50% more energy! Not only does the state of the cookware matter but the material matters as well. Using a copper bottomed pan will cut the time of cooking down; they heat up much faster than some of the other options. Also, when using the oven it’s better to use glass or ceramic dishes rather than metal. If you use a metal dish you’ll need to turn your oven at least 25 degrees up to be finished cooking in the same about of time as you would with a glass dish.
If you can, make double portions! You can freeze the extras and save them for later. It takes a lot less energy to reheat than it does to cook a meal twice.
Trust me, when it comes to energy use, not all appliances are equal. Upgrading your appliances would be a great first step to lower your long term spending in the kitchen. Although the initial cost may be high, this change will make the biggest impact on your energy bills and has the potential to slash your spending. Aim for investing in energy star appliances because you’re guaranteed that they are the most energy efficient.
cleanA convention is always preferred over a standard oven. Because the heated air is constantly circulating the temperature and cook time can both decrease. Making the switch to a convention oven, on average, will lower your ovens energy use by 20%.
Self-cleaning ovens are ideal because they’re built with better insulation.
Your burner pans
You know the metal bowl underneath the coil stove burners that catch water and crumbs while you’re cooking? Those are burner pans. Keeping your burner pans clean is crucial and so easy. Those pans are not meant just to catch whatever is overflowing your pots; they’re supposed to be a reflective surface! That surface reflects heat up to the cookware and helps your stove work more efficiently.
Fix that leaky faucet
A leaky faucet, though it seems only small and annoying, can really add up! A faucet that drips once a second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water each year! Not only is that a complete waste of water, it can cost you up to $35 in electricity and gas.
You might think that choosing a new AC unit is as easy as pie (er, porridge?) when an HVAC contractor tells you their size suggestion, but getting a correctly sized AC unit is not as easy as it may seem- HVAC contractors will frequently take shortcuts by trying to use “rules of thumb”, or calculations based on limited information like the square footage of your home, which very often force you, the homeowner, to end up with an incorrectly sized unit.
Most units sized wrong end up being too large for the home, but units that are too small happen too. People (sometimes even HVAC contractors!) can often make the assumption that “bigger is better”, meaning a larger unit will be more efficient and save more energy, but this is far from the truth. Whether it’s too big or too small, an AC unit that’s the wrong size wastes energy and raises your bills.
Too big, too small, or just right… Looking at AC units can have you feeling a bit like Goldilocks. And if you have the wrong size AC unit, the sight of your frightening electricity bills might just get you to run screaming.
What can happen when your AC is not sized correctly:
• Shortened lifespan
• Cycles on/off more frequently than right size unit
• Can cause humidity indoors – which can lead to mold!!
• More expensive to buy, maintain, and use
• Large temperature swings
• Continuously runs
• Possibly not enough to fully cool house
• Warmer indoor temps overall
• Often overworked system
PROBLEMS OF BOTH:
• Longer run times
• Higher electricity costs
• Higher maintenance costs
• Excess noise
• Higher chance of system breaking
Before installing any new AC Units, you should be absolutely sure that your HVAC contractor did their calculations with a Manual J Load calculation.
At Green ID, our job is to make sure your AC unit is up to par. With our help, your air conditioning could feel juuust right. Call us today at (602) 926-1650.
Installing a new air conditioner or heating unit in your home is an intricate process because every house is unique and requires a specific amount of heating and cooling in order to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In order to provide consistent comfort for you and your family, it is necessary to have appropriately sized air conditioning equipment.
When purchasing a new system, completing a Manual J Load Calculation before installation is the only precise method a homeowner can trust to accurately measure their heating and cooling load. If you are replacing an existing system, technicians will often refer to the data plate of the original unit for measurements. Many contractors who follow this method rely on a general rule of thumb (400 square feet per ton) for their calculations. However, this shortcut is not ideal because buildings change over time in various ways that may significantly affect the size of the load.
A Manual J is the short industry name for Heat Load Calculation or Residential Load Calculation and is performed in order to determine how much cooling and heating a home needs to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you are considering the purchase of a new HVAC system, your contractor should absolutely perform a Manual J Load Calculation for your home. A Manual J will indicate the proper size of unit that is required for your home.
HVAC systems impact a home’s air quality, energy efficiency, and overall comfort. An oversized unit will lead to short-cycling and other risks that will drastically affect these three qualities of your home.
Air conditioner short-cycling is when your HVAC system constantly turns on and shuts off every few minutes. Bigger is not always better – your oversized AC system is causing this to happen because it is so powerful that it cools your house down quickly enough to satisfy the thermostat buy you are left with an uncomfortable level of humidity.
Most AC units need to run for at least ten minutes before they begin dehumidifying the air. If your system is frequently turning on and off, it doesn’t allow enough time for humidity to condense. This results in extra unnecessary wear and tear to your equipment from frequent starting and leaves your home feeling humid and stuffy.
On the other hand, if your system is too small, it will run continuously, struggling to fulfill your home’s heat load. This may never allow your home to reach your desired temperature setting. An undersized unit will increase your energy usage and will raise costs from constantly working so hard.Incorrect sizing is one of the most critical aspects with any comfort system and the only way to avoid this issue is to put in the extra effort from the start and complete a Manual J Load Calculation before installation. Ensure that this does not happen after the installation is finished for the sole purpose of utility rebate incentives. It is ideal to a Manual J Load Calculation to be completed before the installation is started for the sole purpose of ensuring that the equipment is sized correctly.
Performing a load calculation can be rather complex, as there are several factors to obtain that will determine the load calculation for a particular house. Load calculations are not based on square footage; they’re based on construction materials and occupant usage. To give you a better understanding of what exactly goes into a load calculation, see the list below:
The main purpose of roof ventilation is to keep the air space above the roof insulation at the same temperature as the outside air. In an unoccupied attic with the insulation on the floor, the air space between the floor and the roof requires air changes to achieve this. Local residential building codes specify appropriate roof ventilation methods depending on where a home is located.
Benefits of Roof Ventilation
When damp air enters an attic, it can lead to condensation on surfaces inside the attic and shorten the life of building materials. When cooling a house, a hot attic can increase the load on an air conditioning system. Roof ventilation can help keep spaced adjacent to the conditioned space at regulated temperatures.
Roof and attic ventilation can also increase the durability of building materials and reduce heating and cooling costs. It is important that the roof ventilation is designed in a ways that does not diminish the integrity of the insulation and matches the size of the space being ventilated. Air sealing is also key to the appropriate performance of roof ventilation. It ensures there is a barrier keeping unwanted moisture and temperature changes from entering unconditioned spaces.
Why You Should Keep Unconditioned Spaces Separated
Insulation is the thermal barrier of a home which reduces the temperature changes between the interior conditioned spaces and the exterior/outside unconditioned spaces. Air sealing is the work that closes holes between the conditioned and unconditioned spaces. If there are holes from the conditioned space that allow air into the insulation, this will affect how several systems in a building function. Roof ventilation is one of the systems that performs best when air sealing has been properly completed.
A passive roof ventilation system, which has openings low and high, is designed to move air in an unconditioned space using the natural flow of air called stack effect. Air moves naturally as it does in a chimney, entering at low points and exiting out openings at higher levels. IF there are openings from the conditioned space into the ventilated, unconditioned space, then roof ventilation can pull air from the home and not function as intended. This can cause problems during both the heating and cooling seasons.
How to Know if a Roof is Properly Ventilated
There are contractors that can complete a visual and diagnostic inspection to ensure that your home’s attic is ventilated according to local codes and BPI standards. During an energy audit, the contractor will measure the ventilation openings and ensure that the path is setup to perform in a way that does not reduce the effectiveness of insulation. A blower door test will be completed to discover any air sealing improvements that can benefit a home’s durability, comfort, and whole-house performance.
Contact an experienced contractor like Green ID to inspect your attic and perform an energy audit on your home to determine which technique would be most cost efficient and effective for your home.
Your central air conditioner has two fans: one located inside that blows cool air for your home and one located outside that blows over condenser coils in order to release heat from your home. If there are problems with either one of these fans, your home will not be able to cool properly. Here are some of the most common reasons that your central air conditioner fans might not be working and what can be done to fix the problem.
Capacitor problems. A capacitor stores up energy that is used to provide power to your air conditioner’s fans. For various reasons, your capacitor can go bad and stop working properly, which will force one of your system’s fans to stop spinning. Oftentimes a bad capacitor will need to be replaced by a professional.
Contactor problems. An air conditioner’s contactor is a switch in which electricity flows in and out in order to control the compressor as well as the condenser fan motor. It is common for the contactor to go bad over time, which restricts the outside fan from working properly. This is another part that can be replaced by a professional contractor.
Burnt out motor. Fan motors go through a lot of wear and tear, and they can burn out when they undergo too much stress. This is especially true for air conditioners that are not properly maintained. A bad fan motor is a more serious issue that will either require professional repairs or a system replacement, depending on the age and condition of your system.
Loose or broken belt. In older systems with belt-powered fans, the belt can get loose or break and cause the fan to stop spinning properly. This can be repaired, but it’s often a good sign that it’s time for a new air conditioner since you likely have an older and less efficient system.
Unit not receiving power. Some air conditioner fan problems might not be the fault of the fan’s assembly at all, but rather a power issue. Various parts of your air conditioner can overheat and trip your circuit breaker, forcing your air conditioner to shut down. If this is the case, you can flip the switch at your circuit breaker back on. However, repeated power issues should be looked at it by a professional.
Blocked air filter. If your air filter is severely clogged, your indoor fan might be working properly but the air that it blows will be completely blocked. If it sounds like your fan is working but you don’t feel any air in your home, check your air filter and replace it if it’s dirty.
Avoid Fan Issues With A Tuneup
It’s important to note that many central air conditioner fan issues can be prevented by getting an annual air conditioner tune-up from Green ID. The small amount of money that your spend on an annual tune-up will pay off big time in the future by avoiding potentially expensive fan repairs, as well as a wide array of other issues.
If you have any questions about your central air conditioner fan not working, or if you’d like a cooling system tuned up or installed in your home, contact Green ID, your Tempe, AZ air conditioning contractor at (602) 926-1650 or visit us online at www.greenintegrateddesign.com.
Signs Your Phoenix, AZ Air Conditioner Needs Attention
Are you in tune with your AC for the Phoenix summer? Here are a few tips for knowing when you need air conditioning repair- or replacement.
No cool air
If your air is coming out not cool enough or not cool at all, this could be a symptom of a myriad of issues, ranging from low Freon, to a bad compressor, to an incorrectly sized unit.
Weak airflow is also an indicator of AC issues, as well as if you’re changing the thermostat with seemingly no changes. This could mean your AC and thermostat aren’t properly linked up. If you feel like your thermostat adjustments just aren’t doing what they should in your house, it might not be synced up right with your AC. This can cause wear and tear on your system over time.
Additionally, if your house is having issues with inconsistent temperature or hot rooms, it’s worth having an energy audit done to see where these issues are coming from and how to go about fixing them.
Unusual smells or sounds
Your AC unit should be free from any strong, unpleasant smells or sounds.
Common noises to listen for, and what they could mean:
It’s summertime! That means backyard BBQs and pool parties. Well, assuming you’ve got a working pool. If your pool pump needs to be replaced, it can unfortunately mean more summertime sadness than fun in the sun.
Let’s be honest, as nice as they can be, swimming pools are expensive to maintain. Especially if your pool pump is lacking in efficiency, it can quickly become your most expensive appliance by far. There are three types of pool pumps: single-speed, two-speed, and variable-speed.
I’m sure you can guess just by the name how they mainly differ from each other, but the single-speed runs at a single, consistent speed, while the two-speed runs at either a high speed or a low speed, and the variable-speed has several speed settings to choose from.
But they have way more differences than just that. A single-speed, for instance, is extremely common in many homes, and is the cheapest type of pool pump, but it is loud, inefficient (which means higher bills every month), and has a shorter lifespan.
The two-speed pump is very similar to the single-speed. In fact, they’re nearly the same, but the two-speed has the addition of a low speed, which adds some efficiency by not running at its highest power setting all the time. The problem is, with only two options, many of your pools functions will be too much for the low setting to properly work, requiring you to change the setting to high. This is certainly a better option than running it on high 24/7 like you must using a single-speed pump, but if your required pool function requires less energy than the amount high setting your two-speed is using, you are still absolutely wasting energy AND money.
We recommend the variable-speed pool pump. It is, by far, the most efficient and technologically advanced pool pump on the market. It’s quiet, long-lasting, and often includes convenient features like a touch screen and easy adjustment. It leads to a cleaner pool, with better chemical mixing and reduced temperature stagnation. It is also the most expensive option, but after the initial purchase, you can expect an average annual savings amount of $200-$450!
There’s no feeling like jumping into a cool, clean pool in the hot summer months. Except maybe watching your summer energy bills go down. With the right pool pump, you can do both! Step aside, inefficient pool pumps, summertime fun is here to stay.
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