We should all think of our homes as an energy system. Although the furnace may create and deliver heat, it can’t do so effectively if heat is lost in ducts, through walls, in the attic or through cracks in doors and windows.
Even the most efficient furnace needs a little help and proper maintenance to provide the best results.
Since heating and cooling often make up 45 percent of the energy bill, it’s well worth it to tidy up operations.
Efficient furnaces and air conditioners
If you’re in the market for a new heating or cooling system, it’s the perfect time to go for high-efficiency. Your contractor should be able to point out the best models and help you find the right fit for your home. If you’ve already insulated and been busy sealing leaks and drafts in the home, you might even be able to get away with a smaller, cheaper furnace.
Furnaces have a minimum 78 percent AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, but some models are over 90 percent efficient. Air conditioners go by the SEER standard (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), and must meet a minimum of SEER 13.
When ventilation has been reduced through efficiency measures, it can become necessary to install air exchange units. Heat-recovery ventilators trade indoor air for out but keep the heat from leaving, too.
Change furnace and air conditioning filters – Furnaces and air conditioners must work harder to pull air in through clogged filters, wasting energy to do … More...
Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs as the often spiral-shaped bulbs are known, can work just as well as any incandescent bulb, while using less energy, lasting longer and providing increased safety. If you want to ease yourself into fluorescent lighting – because it does cost more initially – replace the most often-used bulbs.
Those are usually the kitchen, living room, bathroom and outdoor porch lights.
CFL’s save money
According to the statistics, changing just five lights to efficient bulbs like CFLs would save $60 a year in energy costs. But you don’t have to stop there. Although CFLs cost more, it’s easy to find them on sale and they are often cheaper in large quantities. Buy enough to fit most of the fixtures in your home, even if you don’t need to replace the bulbs yet. When current bulbs burn out, the new CFLs are already on hand.
Almost an entire home can be lit by compact fluorescent light bulbs, meaning frequent light bulb changes will be a thing of the past and power consumption will be cut drastically.
Some CFL facts:
- Last up to 10 times longer than incandescents
- Use about 2/3 less energy
- Generate only 30 percent the heat, meaning safer operation (and less heat added to the home)
- Different types can fit most regular fixtures
- Can work indoors or out
To be qualified as Energy Star, the gold standard in energy efficiency, CFLs must give off the same amount of light as regular bulbs, turn on … More...
Tankless water heaters are exactly what they sounds like – they heat water up so quickly, that they don’t need for the water to stand in a tank while they heat the water. These appliances can heat water that’s just passing through. When you look at an electric tankless water heater, you’ll probably be appalled at how much power it consumes – usually, these machines consume about as much power as a dozen 12,000 BTU domestic air conditioners. A typical model uses up about 13,000 watts. You’d think that it would be able to practically boil water with that kind of power. But you would be wrong.
In deep winter, when it’s snowing outside, a tankless water heater that promises to put out 3 gallons of water a minute will not be hot enough for most people. It’ll just be tolerable. For a really invigorating hot shower, you’ll probably need something that’s even more powerful.
The thing is, even with something that uses a power this quickly, you still get a tax credit in some places for using an energy-efficient device. That’s because the alternative – using a storage water heater – is very wasteful. There’s all that water that you heat that you don’t end up using right away. All of it is just heated for no reason. Even with the most powerful tankless water heater, for a full 20 min. shower, you won’t spend more than 20 cents.
Basically, if you’re going to buy an electric tankless water … More...