Electricity rates and surcharge prices have been on the rise, leading to higher electric and utility bills. Fortunately, there are a few easy way to reduce your home electricity consumption and bring the dollar amount on the bill down as well.
Conducting a nightly electricity check before you go to sleep can bring down your energy consumption quite a bit. Take a walk around your home and turn off any unnecessary lights, fans or appliances. The savings you will see from turning off even these small devices might surprise you. Setting your water heater down to 120 degrees will also help eliminate wasted energy. Bill payers who currently set their water heaters at 140 degrees can see up to $60 of savings throughout the year by just lowering the temperature by 20 degrees. All of these savings can be compounded when you go on vacation as well, because you can turn all of these appliances off completely, including the water heater, saving you from paying for electricity you weren’t even using! Purchasing Energy Star-certified products is also a helpful way to keep costs down, and they are available in anything from light bulbs to refrigerators.
When you are home it’s nice to be comfortable, but just make sure that your air conditioner or heater isn’t working overtime because of poor insulation. Check for small cracks around your home in places like windows and door frames, or where pipes enter and exit. In the summer, these cracks provide an escape for the cool air provided by AC, forcing the unit to work even harder to keep the house cold. In the colder months these cracks allow heat to escape, kicking your furnace or space heaters into overdrive. Sealing these cracks with expanding foam or caulking found at your local hardware store can save you money and keep your household comfortable. And on the topic of keeping your home at a nice temperature, using a programmable thermostat can help with this a great deal. Setting your thermostat to kick in on your way home from work or school can save you from paying to keep an empty house cool while also setting you up for a nice welcome when you get home.
Energy prices are surely rising, but these strategies might just help you beat the trend and keep your electric bill where you want it, if not lower.
Solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for home energy use. The reasons why are easy to understand. Solar energy is clean, with no emissions that hurt the environment. It is sustainable, because the energy from the sun in endless. It is easy to maintain, and it saves money. And solar energy provides reliable energy for all household needs. To get more information about solar power and how it can benefit you, check out http://solarenergyplans.net/why-solar/. In the meantime, here are some simple tips to make the most of your solar energy:
1 – Know your energy use
Do a thorough assessment of how much and when you use energy. Each household will be different in its energy use. You may have a home office or other special energy needs that may require additional power at certain times of the day.
2 – Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
As you replace appliances throughout your home, ensure that they have high-energy efficiency ratings so that you can maximize your use of the solar energy your system produces. Using less energy for appliances will free up power for other uses.
3 – Minimize Wasted Energy
Carefully examine all use of power in your home. Turn off or unplug equipment that is not in use to prevent inefficient energy draining on the power system. Use fans instead of air-conditioners whenever possible. Only heat the room you use on a regular basis. Increase the insulation in your attic, walls and ceilings to prevent energy waste.
4 –Keep Solar Panels Clean and Free of Debris
Dust, dirt and animal waste will inhibit the efficient use of sunlight. Every six to twelve months, clean your panels to remove debris so that the panels can collect the maximum amount of sunlight. Remove snow that accumulates on panels and prevents proper exposure to the sun’s rays. Keep bushes and trees near the solar panels trimmed to avoid obstruction of sunlight.
5 – Install A Backup Battery Bank
A battery storage backup system will allow you to store energy for use when the power goes out because of bad weather or other conditions. The system will generate power, which can be stored for running refrigerators, sump pumps, cell phones and lighting in emergency situations.
Green Energy Alternative Fuel Guide: Using Wood Pellets As BioFuel
As fossil fuels cost more and more, the demand for wood pellet production is increasing. Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust left as waste from other industries and are a renewable fuel source. They are made by putting the wood chips and sawdust through a hammer mill first, then pressed through a die having the required size holes, which is usually 8mm or larger. They are made from almost any wood type and burn so hot there is no creosote. Wood pellets produce low dust, low emissions and low ash. The pellets can be bulk stored and come in 40 pound bags. You can get them from feed stores, nursery and other places such as a building supply store.
There is a free standing pellet stove, an insert usable for a fireplace, or pellet boiler. There is a hopper on top of the burner, on the side or nearby. An auger or belt brings the pellets to the burner. It is fully automatic, quiet and competes with the comfort of a gas or oil furnace. If you will need to have the pellets delivered, consider the cost of delivery when deciding if this will save you money. They should be no further away than 50 miles or in the end you will not be saving money, though it would be greener. There are three grades of wood pellets according to how much ash they produce. The premium has less than one percent, the standard between one and two percent, and industrial or grade, over three percent. The industrial or grade should be avoided because of all the ash it produces. With a pellet burning stove you will need to oversee its use. This will take about thirty minutes a day to empty ash and check its settings. It needs to be greased once a year.
Any home can be set up for this type of heat source. It is less bulky, burns cleaner and is more convenient than burning wood. It can save you money on your heating bill after your initial investment. It is better for the ecosystem, and it has more stable costs than fossil fuels. The ash is safe for animals, humans and plants and can be spread on your lawn or garden.