Winter Energy Savings, Part 4: Air Filters

Last time we discussed how air leaks can cost you a lot in energy waste due to warm air escaping outside.

This time, we’re looking at a place where you want air to freely move: through your air filter.

The air filter is a critical component in your heating and air conditioning system. There is usually a single location where air is sucked in to be circulated throughout your house.

At this air intake is a filter, which is usually a mesh fabric screen encased in a cardboard frame. Other air filter systems may work differently, but this is the most common design.

This filter traps dust and debris what’s floating around your home and prevents it from being sucked into the actual heating and cooling systems.

They help reduce allergens in the air and keep your HVAC system working properly. But if they

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Winter Energy Savings, Part 3: Air Leaks

Air leaks are one of the biggest problems when it comes to heating or cooling your home.

As we mentioned in the last article, cold and warm like to equalize and balance out. For example, if you have a hallway that is warm and you open the door to a cold room, the air will mix.

The hallway will become slightly cooler and the room will become slightly warmer. As the air continues to spread out, an average temperature will be reached across the open rooms.

Now, if you keep the door to that room shut, the cold air should stay in there, right? Well, mostly.

The space around the door frame, particularly at the bottom, is an air leak. Warm air will try seeping through the cracks around the top of the door while cold air will slip under it.

By plugging these air leaks, you will prevent the

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Winter Energy Savings, Part 2: Insulation

Having a properly insulated home will go a long way toward keeping it comfortable, both in the winter and summer. Insulation is designed to keep the indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature separate.

An imbalance in temperature between the inside and outside will always try to equalize. The closer your indoor temperature is to the outdoor one, the less your heating and AC have to work to maintain it.

With insulation, you can prolong how long it takes for this equalization to happen, reducing the energy required to get to a certain temperature inside.

Where to Add Insulation

When most people think of adding insulation, they think of adding it to the attic. This is one of the primary places insulation is needed, no doubt, but it’s not the only one.

If you have a basement or cellar, you’ll also want that to be insulated. Warm and cold temperatures like

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Winter Energy Savings, Part 1: Sunshine

In the summer, most people think of sunlight in a negative light. The oppressive heat leads to sweating and high energy bills when using the AC.

However, during the winter months, sunlight can be your best friend at home.

The trick is knowing how and when to utilize sunlight for your home.

Passive Solar Heating

Passive solar heating simply means using the sun’s rays to warm up your home. This can primarily be accomplished by opening the blinds and curtains on south and west sides of your home.

Your home will also absorb sunlight through the roof, as long as it’s not a reflective one. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help a whole lot during the winter. In the summer however, you’ll want to reduce the heat your roof absorbs.

If you have special coatings on your windows that filter out UV light, you won’t

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Super Bowl Energy Use, Part 3

Last time, we looked at the overall energy impact of the Super Bowl on residential energy use. While there is a lot of energy being used, it’s actually a lower average during game time than it would be on a typical Sunday.

Today, we’re going to focus on the energy impact of the stadiums themselves along with transportation.

Lighting

Years ago, stadiums relied upon inefficient metal halide and sodium vapor lamps to light their games. These kinds of lighting systems require huge amounts of energy.

For the 2015 Super Bowl, Phoenix Stadium upgraded from metal halide lamps to LED lamps. The metal halide lamps needed 1.24 million watts of power to light the field. The LED lamps only needed 310,000.

LED lighting for stadiums is becoming increasingly popular because not only are the LED fixtures more efficient, they’re brighter too. This means they can cut back on the number of

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Super Bowl Energy Use, Part 2

Last time we looked at the energy cost of using a single 60 inch plasma TV to watch the big game coming up this Sunday.

Today, we’re going to look at how much energy use fluctuates in the hours leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

Sunday Morning Juice Use

Prior to the start of the Super Bowl, many families are gearing up for the big game by preparing big meals. This means there’s a lot of cooking going on, often with several different kinds of food.

You’ve got your staples: chicken wings, pizza, chili, dips, and several others.

There may also be a few items that don’t require cooking, such as a cheese and cracker display, veggie trays, and cold sandwiches. Maybe even a salad or two (but who eats salad during the Super Bowl?).

All that cooking means a lot of energy use. If one family is

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Super Bowl Energy Use, Part 1

Have you ever wondered what the energy impact of the Super Bowl is? The answer may actually surprise you a bit. While there is a pretty huge draw for fans watching the game and cooking up snacks, there are some plus sides to everything as well.

Watching the Game at Home

Let’s look at the energy impact of just watching the game at home on a decent sized, 60 inch plasma screen.

Given that size and type of TV, you would need about 0.65 kWh to power the television for four hours, which is the lower average end of Super Bowl lengths.

To put that into perspective, a kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1000 watts. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is consuming 1000 watts over the course of an hour.

An equivalent would be using six 100-watt light bulbs continuously for 60 minutes and one 100-watt bulb for 30 minutes. That’s

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What Are Your Appliances’ Operating Costs

Do you know how much money your appliances and electronic devices are costing you each year in energy costs?

Energy costs can vary based on the type of appliance or device, how much electricity it consumes, and how long it’s used each day.

Energy Guide Label

One of the easiest ways to find an average cost per year is to look at the Energy Guide label. This label stands out pretty well with its black text on a yellow sticker, and it gives insight into the energy consumption of a particular product.

The label gives an estimated yearly electricity use and operating cost based on an average use and electricity rate. Your actual use and cost may vary from this, but it gives a good indicator of potential cost.

Additionally, if the model of equipment you have is very efficient compared to other models in the same

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Keeping Your Home Warm This Winter

Winter is in full swing, and some of the northern and western parts of the US are getting a fair amount of snow already.

What’s the best way to keep your home warm without raising the roof on your energy bill? The colder it gets, the harder your heater has to work, so take some extra steps to maintain comfort and keep energy use low.

Seal Up Your Home

The first thing you’ll want to address is heat loss. It kind of goes without saying, but shut doors and windows that connect to garages, basements, and the outdoors.

Basements and garages are often unheated spaces, so keep these doors closed to minimize the area of your home that receives heating.

Keep all doors and windows leading outside shut. When you proceed through a door leading outside, open and close it as quickly as possible. The common rule

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Tax Credits and Exemptions for Energy Use

Tax season is upon us, and it’s time to start checking our figures and cashing in on any tax credits we may have.

Tax credits related to energy use and production can be claimed by residential, commercial, and industrial consumers, and can include many categories, such as wind, solar, wood stoves, and fuel use.

In most cases, the tax credits are a sort of rebate for reducing energy use or for installing renewable energy systems.

Texas Tax Credits

Texas corporations may qualify for a franchise tax credit if they have installed a solar or wind device that generates electricity.

Businesses that construct, sell, or install wind or solar installations are exempt from the franchise tax.

Property owners, both commercial and residential, can be exempt from property tax increases related to the installation of renewable energy systems such as wind and solar power.

Other State Tax Credits

Maryland

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