Amish Heaters


So there has recently been a lot of press about Amish heaters and about how they claim that they can drastically lower your power bill. There was even a commercial on television with a guy stating that his gas bill had dropped so low after he started using his new Amish heater that the gas company sent someone out to check his gas meter because they thought that something was wrong with it. In the commercial the guy says that the gas company just could not believe that his gas bill was that low. And then the guy gives a little chuckle as if to signify that he has beat the gas company!

Is the Amish heater everything and a slice of bread? Will the Amish heater lower you gas bill? Will the Amish heater lower your power bill? These are a few of the questions that many people have about the Amish heaters. Here I will try to dispel some of the myths.

Amish heaters claim to be using some brand new technology brought here all the way from the China coast. The claim is that they only use about the same amount of power as a coffee maker. Is this true? Yes and no. This is true because the Amish heater uses about 1500 watts when it is running, about the same as a coffee maker. However, the Amish heater will be running much longer to heat your house than your coffee maker will be running to make your morning cup of joe. As I have discussed before 1500 watts is equal to 1.5 kw and over an hour is 1.5 kwh. This means that if the Amish heater runs for one hour it will use 1.5 kwh. We are billed on kwh and an easy price to do the calculation is $0.10 per hour. At 1.5 kwh and $0.10 per kwh the heater costs us about $0.15 per hour. Which leads us to our next question.

Will the Amish heater lower your gas bill? The answer to that is it depends. It depends on many things. Will you be using the Amish heater to heat your entire home? If so, then the assumption is that you will be turning off your gas furnace to use the Amish heater and in this case, yes the Amish heater will lower your gas bill. If you are leaving your furnace on to heat the rest of your house and are only trying to heat one room in your house then there is the possibility that your gas bill will be lower because of this. But are you just transferring the cost of your gas bill to your electric bill with an Amish heater? Our next question answers that.

Will an Amish heater lower your power bill? The short answer is probably not. Most likely your power bill will go up if you are trying to heat your entire home with an Amish heater. With natural gas prices where they are now it is cheaper to heat with gas than it is with electricity. So if you are trying to save on gas by purchasing an Amish heater thinking that you will be spending less overall, think again. Even if you have an electric furnace or a heat pump you will most likely not lower your power bills with an Amish heater. The reason is that it is basically a space heater with an electric fireplace attached.

How can you save on your power bill with an Amish heater? It can be done but you must be careful and note how long it runs each day. You will need to heat only the room that you are in and close the door in that room while you are in there. You will need to make sure that you use the thermostat on the unit to keep the room at a constant temperature.

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Space Heaters


Electric space heaters are a very popular option when it comes to heating a small room, an edition or a bathroom. People even try to use electric space heaters to heat their homes in extreme circumstances such as when the central HVAC goes out, the furnace goes out or even when they do not want to pay to get the gas turned back on because the deposit is so high. People also may employ electric space heaters when they are renting because they cannot afford to have the gas turned on in their name because the deposit is so high. The question is, are electric space heaters a good source of heat? To answer that question we need to weigh the pros vs. cons of electric space heaters. Then we need to look at any precautions to take when using electric space heaters.

Electric Space Heater Pros

One of the biggest pros to using electric space heaters for heat is the cheap initial cost. Electric space heaters can be had for as cheap as $15 in some instances. Use the link below if you are interested in purchasing an electric space heater. The cheap initial cost make them ideal when an emergency happens, such as the furnace going out.

Another pro of electric space heaters is the fact that they are portable. This means that you can not only take it from room to room with you but you can also take it to your cabin in the mountains over the weekend as well. Being portable also means that there is no expensive duct work to install. You just put the electric space heater on the floor in the room that you want to heat, plug it in and away you go.

They put out good heat. That is right, electric space heaters do an excellent job of putting out heat. Many come with a fan built in to help circulate the air in the room as well.

Electric Space Heater Cons

In my opinion, one of the biggest cons to using an electric space heater to heat your home is the cost. Electric space heaters can use anywhere between 1200 watts and 2000 watts depending on the model. This means that if they run for 1 hour they could use anywhere between 1.2 kwh and 2 kwh respectively. This translates into about $0.12 per hour to about $0.20 per hour. One space heater can easily cost $30 per month to run. So, if you have a three bedroom house with one in each bedroom and one in the kitchen, living room and bathroom they could easily cost $180 per month to run.

Another con with electric space heater usage is the safety. Now many of them now come with sensors on the bottom that automatically shut them off if they are tipped over, some of the older models do not. This creates a fire hazard. Also, they need to be kept away from paper, clothes, towels, pretty much anything that can catch on fire because electric space heaters can and do cause fires every year.

Another thing to consider when using electric space heaters is where you plug them in. Since they do have the potential to draw so much power you will want to make sure that they are plugged into an outlet that is not overload already full. You want to make sure that you plug them into outlets that are still tight and do not have any play. It is not unusual to feel the cord on an electric space heater and it be warm to the touch. To minimize fire risk make sure it is plugged into a good outlet.

Electric Space Heater Precautions

As stated above you want to make sure that nothing is placed on, in front of, or around an electric space heater that can ignite. Examples are paper, clothes, towels, blankets. Make sure that they are plugged into good firm outlets. Make sure that if you are buying a new electric space heater that it has an automatic shut-off feature in case it is tipped over. Also, children should not be left alone with electric space heaters. You should also make sure that you turn off you electric space heater when you are not home.

Final Thoughts

Electric space heaters can work well as long as you take heed to the precautions mentioned above and are aware that they can be expensive to operate. They are not a long-term solution to heating however and should be used on a short-term or emergency basis. They should not be left on when you are not home. Children should also not be left alone with electric space heaters. If you are in the market for a space heater use the link below.



Baseboard Heaters


Electric baseboard heaters can provide an excellent way to keep you warm during those freezing cold months when you are longing for spring. They also offer many advantages to homeowners as well as investment property owners. However, be advised that along with the advantages that electric baseboard heaters provide there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of as well. First, what are electric baseboard heaters and how do they work?

Electric baseboard heaters are one type of electric resistance heater that is installed on the wall along the floor. They have metal fins inside that heat the air as the air moves past the metal fins. As the cool air falls and goes through the metal fins, the cool air is heated and rises and this is how the room is heated. Electric baseboard heaters are normally installed beneath window both to take advantage of any falling cool air from the window and because windows are located on outside walls where heat may be lost due to low or no insulation.

Electric baseboard heaters can be cheap to install because they do not require any ducts to be used like in a central HVAC system. This keeps costs to a minimum when building an edition that would be difficult to heat or when remodeling an investment property. Electric baseboard heaters can also be a good option if you live in a climate that does not see very many cold days. They can be a good option versus installing a heat pump.

Electric baseboard heaters allow you to heat different areas of your home or office independently of one another. This can be advantageous for those who live in families or work in offices where one person is cold all of the time and the other person is always freezing. This can also be advantageous if you live in a large home and only want or need to heat your bedroom at night and do not want to pay to heat the entire home. For example, you could set your main thermostat on 65 degrees and in your bedroom have a baseboard heater set to 70 degrees. This way you can be warm in your bedroom at night.

For all of the advantages that electric baseboard heaters provide there are also disadvantages as well. The main disadvantage being electricity usage. Many people ask how much electricity electric baseboard heaters use. Typically electric baseboard heaters consume about 250 watts per foot. This means that if you have a 6 foot electric baseboard heater installed in your bedroom that it would consume about 1500 watts (250 watts per foot x 6 feet). Many people will tell you that baseboard heaters are efficient. And in regard to the amount of electricity that is turned into heat they would be correct. Because they are resistance type heaters they convert nearly 100% of the electricity into heat. However, do not be fooled. Heat pumps are more effective at keeping your power bill low than electric baseboard heaters are.

Let’s do an example of how much a small home with only electric baseboard heaters could cost. For the example let’s say that the house if 1,000 square feet with 3 rooms and one bathroom. Each room has one 6 foot baseboard heater, the bathroom has a 2 foot heater and the living has two 6 foot heaters. So we have 5, 6 foot heaters and one 2 foot heater for a total of 32 feet of baseboard heaters. Remember from before that the average watts per foot is 250 watts. So 32 x 250 = 8,000 watts. So for every hour that the baseboard heater is on you will use 8,000 watts of power. Now let’s say that they run for 8 hours per day for 30 days. 8 hours x 8,000 watts x 30 days = 1,920,000 watthours. If we divide that by 1,000 we get the kilowatt hours which is what you are billed on and that equals 1,920 kilowatt hours. Now if we multiply that times say $0.10 we get $192.00 just to run your baseboard heaters to heat your home.

So, the biggest disadvantage is the usage of the electric baseboard heaters. Do they put off good heat? Yes. Are the cheap and easy to install? Yes. Are they expensive to run? Yes. There is one alternative and it is the electric hydronic baseboard heater. They use a liquid inside that is heated and radiates the heat in the room longer than the metal fins do. This means that they may run less often than regular electric baseboard heaters. But be aware that they also use the same wattage when they are running.



The Meter Technician Profession


So you are thinking about getting into a career in the electric utility industry and you are not really sure what you want to do. There are several career paths that you could choose such as power lineman, or engineer, or even maintenance mechanic. What I want to persuade you to do is to think about becoming an electric meter technician.

The electric meter technician is possibly a job that you have never even heard of, let alone given any thought to becoming one. So what does and electric meter technician do?

Well, contrary to popular belief, we do more than just read watthour meters. We are not just “meter maids” as some lineman would have you think. The job of the electric meter technician do read electric watthour meters, but we also do much more than that.

To be an electric meter technician one should have, or be able to develop, a strong electrical background. You will want to have graduated high school and if possible taken some college courses in electrical theory. It would be even better if you could get an associate’s degree in electrical technology. This education will be helpful in understanding how watthour meters work and in understanding how the entire electric utility works as a whole.

Electric meter technicians test watthour electric meters either in the shop with test equipment or in the field with watthour meter test equipment. They also check residential, commercial and industrial metering installations for proper wiring and metering accuracy. Some meter techs also specialize in some of these areas. Some meter technicians only deal with residential metering installations and customers. Some deal only with commercial and industrial customers. While others may only stay in the shop and test watthour meters.

The ideal electric meter technician will be able to work outside all day and do things such as change out electric meters, check on high bill complaints, low consumption or stopped meter orders as well as installing new metering equipment on instrument rated metering applications. The electric meter technician will also be called upon to explain billing to customers.

Many times customers do not understand their bill and the meter technician is usually the last person the customer will talk to. They have normally already called in and talked to someone and were not satisfied over the phone and want to talk with someone. The meter technician is that someone and because of this the meter tech will need to have strong interpersonal skills to be able to answer the customer’s questions. Because of this they will also need to be as professional as possible. You do not want to go out a customer’s residence or business dressed like a slob. That ruins your credibility right away.

Electric meter technicians will also need to be able to perform above basic tasks on the computer. Part of the job requires the meter tech to be able to program watthour meters, download information from the meters, create new programs for the meters as well as run reports our of the billing system to find out if there are any errors. You will need to have an eye for detail. You will many times be looking for something that stands out as unusual and be able to determine from that information if there is a problem that needs to be checked and repaired.

An ability to do algebra also comes in handy as well. Electric meter technicians use many formulas to complete their work. If current transformers and potential transformers need to be installed you will need to know how to calculate the multiplier. Also, you will need to know how to size the current transformers to the service to be metered. Another thing that you will need to be able to do is calculate and electric bill with demand. Many times customers will not understand demand and so it will be up to you to explain it to them in a way they can understand. There will be times that you will need to explain the math to the customer so that they understand what is going on.

Being a meter technician is a highly rewarding career. Notice that I said career and not job. The electric meter technician is a specialized field and most who are in the field work until retirement. Which also means that there are not a ton of jobs available. So when you get one, keep it! It will typically take between 5-7 years to become fully proficient as a meter tech. But even then you will constantly be learning new technology.

So, with that I hope that you give the electric meter technician career a chance.

Meter Multipliers

Watthour meter multipliers are used whenever current transformers and/or voltage transformers are used in a metering circuit. The most often question that I am asked about watthour meter multipliers is how to calculate the watthour meter multiplier. It really is a simple thing to do and this article will explain.

CT’s and PT’s are used to step down current and voltage in a metering circuit to a safe and measurable level. But this leaves us with a little bit of math to do to accurately calculate the number of KWH or kilowatt hours the customer has used.

To calculate the meter multiplier we need to know what the CT ratio and PT ratio are. The best way to explain this is with an example.

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Let’s say for instance that you have a 120/208 three phase 4 wire wye service that is using 400/5 CTs. How would you determine the watthour meter multiplier? You would simply do the math. 400/5 means 400 divided by 5 and if we do this math we come up with an answer of 80, this is our watthour meter multiplier. What if we had 600/5 CTs? 600 divided by 5 is 120, so our watthour meter multiplier is 120.

Now what if the service that we are metering is a 480v service and we are using PTs? For this example let’s assume we are metering a 480v three phase 4 wire wye service by using 400/5 CTs and 2.4/1 PTs. How do we come up with the watthour meter multiplier in this example? We would use the same method as before to find the CT ratio and do the math of 400 divided by 5 which equals 80 but we are not finished because in this example we also have PTs. Before we do the math let’s remember Ohms’s law which says that Watts = volts x amps. Let’s also remember what we are trying to figure out. We are trying to find the multiplier for the WATThour meter. So to find watts we need to multiply volts x amps. We already know the amps part of the equation equals 80 so what is the volts part? It is 2.4 because 2.4 divided by 1 is 2.4. So, we now multiply 80 x 2.4 and we come up with 192 which is our watthour meter multipler.

Another example with PTs and CTs. Say you have a 480v three phase three wire service with 200/5 CTs and 4/1 PTs. What is the watthour meter multiplier? 200 divided by 5 equals 40. 4 divided by 1 equals 4. So, 40 x 4 = 160. The watthour meter multiplier would be 160.

When you divide out the CT ratio and PT ratio and multiply them together this is also known as the transformer factor.

So, there you have it. To calculate the watthour meter multiplier first you need to determine whether there are CTs and PTs or only CTs in the circuit. Next, divide out the ratios. And lastly, multiply the ratios to determine the watthour meter multiplier.

5 tips to saving energy when on vacation

So you are ready to go on a long vacation and you are worried about your electric bill being high when you get back and you want to know if there is anything you can do to keep you bill low when you get back. Well, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your electric bill is not through the roof. Most of these tips even work well if you are only going out of town for the weekend as well.

1. Turn off the water heater.

That’s right. An electric water heater is one of the largest consumers of electricity in your home next to the A/C. For a normal family, a water heater can account for as much as 25% of the electricity that is consumed in your home. To put it another way, they can easily uses 300 kwh per month which can equal $30 or more. Let’s understand why we would want to turn off our water heaters while we are out of town. The water heater has a thermostat inside just like the A/C does. What that means is the water heater will be keeping the water at that temperature regardless of whether you are in your home or you are one vacation. One argument that I always hear from people is that they want to be able to take a shower as soon as they get home from vacation and they do not want to be waiting on the water to get hot. Well, let me put your mind at ease. Most water heaters have about a 30 minute recovery. This means that it takes the water heater about 30 minutes to be full of hot water again. So, walk in from you vacation, turn the water heater back on and then unload your car and get ready to take your shower. By this time the water should be nice and hot for you to take a shower. The next question is, “how do I turn it off?” The most convenient way is in the breaker box. Find the breaker labeled as water heater and turn it off. Alternatively, there should be a disconnect at the water heater. You can pull this disconnect and this will turn off the water heater as well. I would only use the second method if you are comfortable dealing with electricity because it could be dangerous.

I want to note that I would not turn the water heater off if you live in a climate that freezes and it is the winter time when you will be gone. This is only recommended during the times when temperatures are above freezing.

2. Turn off the A/C

The A/C is the largest consumer of electricity in the home and because of this, you do not want to overlook it when you leave for vacation. Now, if you are hardcore, depending on the time of year, you will just turn off the A/C when you leave for vacation and turn it back on when you come home. But, if it is in the middle of summer you may want to ensure that the house is not an oven when you get back. My recommendation is to turn the thermostat up to at the very least 80 degrees in the summer time when you leave, higher if you think you can stand it. If you are going on  vacation in the winter time you will want to turn the thermostat down to at least 60 degrees. This will ensure that your A/C or heat are not running constantly while you are gone trying to keep your couch comfortable.

3. Unplug, unplug, unplug!

In this day in age when you turn your lights off at night you can just about still see everything because of all the lights from your devices that are still on. The lights may be from computers, television, gaming systems, microwaves, etc. Whatever the lights are coming from, they are drawing electricity to be kept on. Unplugging things that are not necessary to be on while you are gone, such as your wireless router (if you have networked security cameras you may need to leave that on). All of these little things do not use very much on their own but collectively they do add to your bill. Remember that nothing is free!

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4. Turn off lights

This sounds like a no-brainer but many people forget to turn their lights off when they leave. Often times they will get home from vacation only to discover that they light in their bedroom or bathroom had been left on. Do a once over before you walk out the door and make sure that the lights are off. If you are going to leave a light on for security reasons, look at getting a timer so that it does not run all the time. Or, put in an LED bulb in that particular light fixture.

5. Turn off the water

I know this does not appear to have anything to do with electricity but if something happens while you are gone, such as a busted water line or a leaking toilet, you will be in for a big water bill. If the water line breaks and it is a hot water line and you have forgotten to turn off the water heater, it will constantly run trying to heat the water. This, again, is only recommended during warmer temperatures.

6. Bonus!

If you are hardcore like me and you do not care if you have to reset your clocks when you get back then this tip is for you. When I go out of town on vacation, as long as it is not a time where we are having freezing temperatures, I just go and turn off my main breaker. If your main breaker is off, your electric meter will not turn while you are gone. This is how my power bills during the summer when I have been on vacation have been as low as $40 when the base charge takes up $20 of that $40.

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Five ways to Cool your house without A/C

During the summer time many people struggle with high power bills because their A/C runs constantly. Here I want to offer five ways to cool your house without using your A/C.

1. Use blinds

One of the most effective ways we can cool our homes without using A/C is by not letting any sunlight into our home to begin with. Heat is transferred three ways. It is transferred by conduction, which is when you touch something, convection, which is when heat is transferred by air (think convection oven), and by radiation. So, think about when you are cold and your go out and stand in the sun to warm up. This is radiation and this is what we are trying to stop by closing our blinds. If we can stop the sunlight from entering our homes then we do not have to cool them back down. Try to use blinds that do not allow any sunlight to come into your home when they are closed. This is the first way that we can combat the heat and keep our homes cool without using A/C.

2. Use curtains

This is basically the same as number one above except that curtains, when used in conjunction with blinds can make a huge difference in blocking the sunlight that enters your home. And, the thicker they are the better. Think about taking a blanket outside and blocking sunlight versus a sheet. The blanket will not let any light through while the sheet will allow some light to pass through. When the light passes through the heat is passing through as well. This is the second way that you can keep your house cool without using the A/C.

3. Use fans

By using fans we move the air around us. We can perceive a three degree difference in temperature just because the air is moving. Think about a cool spring day. As long as you are out in the sun and the wind is not blowing you are warm. But, once the wind starts blowing you need to go and get your jacket. Using fans has the same effect. Ceiling fans do a good job of mixing the air. However, to move hot air out of your house you will want to use a box fan. If you open the windows on one side of the house and place a box fan in a window on the other side of the house you will be surprised at how well this cools off the house. Even better is to use two box fans. One pushing the hot air out of the house and the other pulling the cool air into the house. Do this and your house will be cool in no time. A note that I would like to make about using the box fans is this, do it at night. If you try to do this during the day you will be pulling hot air into your house. Make sure that you wait to do this until the air outside is cooler than the air inside the house.

4. Open the windows

This may sound simple and not effective, but this can be very effective especially during spring. Opening the windows allows the air to flow naturally in and out of your house. This natural movement of air moving past your body can actually make you feel like it is cooler than it is. This is because sometimes there is more moisture in the air outside the house than inside. When our bodies are in this moist air we often feel like the air around us is cooler than it actually is. So, go ahead and open those windows! And again, this works best when the temperature outside the house is cooler than the temperature inside the house.

5. Open the doors

Opening the doors is something that we typically forget that we can do. We often think that if we just leave the door open some random person will just walk in our house. But, if we utilize this huge opening and allow it to be used just like a window we will be able to reap the rewards of using the opening just like the window!

If you put these tips to use, you will be well on your way to keeping your house cool without using the A/C! If your like this article be sure to visit our Facebook page and like it to keep up to date with all of our articles!

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Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters can be a very useful way to saving money on your power bill. A water heater alone can easily cost a family of two $20-$40 dollars per month. Now think if you have a larger family what that could cost you throughout the year.

Heating your water by the sun is not a new concept. Back in the 1970’s there was a big push to conserve energy by heating your water with the sun. It however did not last very long. There are a few different types of solar water heaters out there. They can be as simple as laying a garden hose in the sun to a full enclosed system that uses a heat exchanger to transfer the heat from a liquid that does not freeze to the water.

The system that you decide on depends upon your location. If you live in a warm climate where it never or very rarely has freezing temperatures then you can go wth one of the more simple systems where the sun directly heats the water. The basics of the system include the solar water panel, some pipe and an old water heater. This is my favorite system because you can utilize your old water heater as a backup in case it is cloudy and there is not sufficient sun to heat the water. The old water heater also acts as a storage tank for the hot water and keeps it hot and ready for whenever you need it.

If you live in a climate that sees freezing and below freezing temperatures, you will need to go with a system that uses an antifreeze type of liquid just like your car so the water in the system does not freeze. You would also be wise to utilize your old water heater as a backup for when there are clouds or if the panels are covered in snow. You can also use the old water heater as a hot water storage tank using this method as well.

One of the best thing about solar water heaters is that they do not need electricity to run! This not only will save you money on your power bill but it will also allow you to take hot showers when there is no power! Imagine that there is a storm that comes through while you are at work and the power is out. You will still be able to take a hot shower.

Another advantage to having a solar water heater is that once you have it installed you are one step closer to being off the grid. In my opinion, this should be one of your first things to consider before going off the grid. Before you go and install $30,000 worth of electric solar panels on your house, put a solar water heater up there and start saving right away. It is also more efficient to heat your water with the sun than it is to power your old electric water heater by the electric solar panels you are thinking about putting up. This is because there are always losses with electricity. There will be losses due to heat, wire and electronics. This means that you are better off to heat your water with the sun first. This also means that you can save some money on the electric solar panels because the load that they will need to carry will not be as great. Electric water heaters can typically pull anywhere between 1500 and 4500 watts. This is 1500 to 4500 watts that you will not need to buy solar panels for.


Top 5 tips for using window units

When summer approaches we all want to beat the heat and the way that some of us go about it is to use window A/C units. These unit do their job and they do it well but there are a few things that we can do to help them cool our homes more efficiently.

1. Check the rating.

Window units are typically rated by the number of BTU’s they can produce. Most of us however, do not have a clue what a BTU is and so the manufacturer’s of window units will typically tell you how many square feet the unit will cool. To find your square footage measure how big your room is and multiply the length times the width. You will want to make sure that you get a unit as close to your square footage as possible. Most of the time it is better to go over just a little if you will be cooling an area with a kitchen or if you have high ceilings. You want to make sure the rating is close because if it is too small it will run constantly and not cool very efficiently therefore making your power bill higher. If it is too large the room could feel a bit moist since part of the job of the window unit is to dry the air as well.

2. Use fans.

That is right. Use fans to help mix the air in the room that you are using the window unit. This will help you be more comfortable instead of having one area that is hot and one that is cold. Another thing that the fans do as well is give the perception that it is cooler than it is. Moving air in the home can give us the perception that it is up to 3 degrees cooler than is. This means that we can set the thermostat to a higher temperature so that it does not run as much.

3. Use the thermostat.

This is very important but it also depends on the room that you are cooling. If you have one big window unit in the living room that you are using to cool the entire house then you want to find a temperature that is comfortable and set the thermostat and leave it. Now, if you are using a window unit in your bedroom you can set that thermostat higher when you are not in there so that it will not run all day to cool a room that you are not using.

4. Keep the filter clean.

Keeping the filter clean on your window unit can help save you energy when you are using it. When the filter is dirty the window unit has to work harder to move the air. This in turn means that it will take longer to cool the space that you are trying to cool. I know that when I am hot I do not like to wait any longer than I have to to be cool. This will also help your window unit last longer. Because the filter will be clean and the motor will not have to work as hard, the window unit will last longer.

5. Seal the air gaps.

This sometimes seems like a no brainer but I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone complain about their power bill only to find out that they are using a window unit. When I go inside to inspect I see air gaps everywhere. The fan on the window unit not only blows cold air but it sucks air in as well. This air has to come from somewhere and it is going to take the path of least resistance and if that means that it is going to come from around the door where you can see outside then so be it. Go to the hardware store and buy some insulation and some weatherstripping to keep out the drafts. Even tape can help on old drafty windows. Another problem area to address many times is the attic access. These may be stairs or just an access hole. Many times the seal around these holes is not very good and lots of hot air can come from your attic. If you are not sure where to start with weathersripping and insulation, look at your windows and doors and if you can see daylight (I am not talking about through your glass window panes for you wise guys out there) you can bet that cold air is escaping and hot air is coming in. You can also crawl up in your attic and see if there is insulation. If there is no insulation, start here. You will see a dramatic improvement.

You will be suprised how much better your window unit works after you follow these tips!

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Energy Efficient Home

So let’s say that you are planning on building a home and you are wondering what you can do to make your home the most energy efficient. What are some of the things that you need to take into account when planning for a more energy efficient home? You want to have a green home but you do not know where to start.

Here are a few tips that you can use when you are planning your green energy efficient home.

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is whether your initiative to go green is because you want to save money or because you want to save the planet. I know this sounds like a dumb question but if you are trying to go green simply because you want to save money then you may want to think about different traditional alternatives. Going green can typically save you money in the long run but the upfront cost may be prohibitive to some. If you are wanting to go green because you want to save the planet and you do not care what it costs you then thanks for helping out the rest of us!

The next thing to consider about building a green home is where you are going to be building the home. In some states there are incentives to using energy efficient materials such as energy efficient windows and appliances. Another factor to take into consideration are the utility rates that you will be paying where you build your home. Often times co-ops have lower rates than municipalities. Also, large energy companies can have cheaper rates and also offer rebates on things like geothermal heat pumps.

Planning is important in the building stages of your green home. You want to make sure that you have the proper amount of insulation in your home. It does not cost much more at this point to add more insulation than is recommended and it will save you in the future. Also, be aware of your eaves and overhangs. If you are trying to build a green home one of the things that you need to be aware of is that the most expensive appliance in your home is typically your heating and air system. If you can plan ahead and put in extra insulation and plan so that you have no direct sunlight coming into your home during the day in the summer and have direct sunlight coming in during the winter your heat and air will not need to come on and off as often to keep you comfortable.

Green appliances are also a must. Get the highest SEER heating and cooling system that you can afford. Which leads to my next recommendation. Currently for most people it is cheaper to heat, cook and heat water with gas. This may vary depending on your location. If you can put in gas it would be to your advantage.

Another option is out there for heating your home. It is called a water stove and they are becoming very popular. Heating your home and your water can be upwards of more than 2/3 of your power bill. If you have access to cheap or free wood to burn and do not mind a little elbow grease this is a very good way to heat your home and your water.

Water stoves are basically boilers that heat water and then use a heat exchanger to transfer the heat in the water to your water tank and to heat your home. They are typically installed away from the home because of the smoke and lines are run into the house.

Another thing that you can do to keep sun off of your house is to plant plants that have large leaves that provide good shade especially on the west side of the house to keep the hot setting sun off of the house. Which reminds me that you want to make sure that you have south facing windows. These windows will allow sunlight in all year long without the sunlight being too direct.