Save Energy, Save Money Through Conservation
Understanding your energy consumption
Increasing global demand puts pressure on energy supplies, and it's critical that we work together to use energy wisely. ckSmithSuperior understands conservation, and we are committed to helping our customers save energy and money. We routinely help homeowners understand their energy consumption and take positive steps. We also work closely with an energy auditing company that can perform a full evaluation of your home.
If you are ready to step up your conservation efforts, give us a call today at 508-753-1475 or contact us and we'll help you choose a conservation strategy that matches your budget.
Cold Weather Tips and Info
Have an Equipment Tune-Up
Regardless of how you heat your house, a tune-up will ensure that everything is operating at peak efficiency. An oil system tune-up and inspection takes about 90 minutes and includes a thorough furnace or boiler cleaning; replacement of the oil filter and nozzle; testing of the burner and water heater; and inspection of the fuel tank.
(A tune-up is included in any ckSmithSuperior Service Plan.)
Ensure Radiators and Registers are Clear
Do a quick sweep of your home to make sure that boxes, furniture, and other items haven't been placed on or near radiators or heat/return air registers over the summer.
Add a Programmable Thermostat
Temperature "setback" with a programmable thermostat generally pays for the new thermostat in as little as one year. A programmable thermostat automatically lowers your temperature setting at night and then raises it in the morning - at the times and the temperatures you determine.
Watch Out for Sneaky Hot Water Waste
One drop every minute from your hot water faucet can add up to plenty of baths over the season, so check for dripping faucets everywhere in the house. Consider having a ckSmithSuperior licensed plumber install water-saving showerheads. They use up to one-third less hot water and that can add up to big savings.
Make Sure Your House Can Breathe
If your system has outside air intake vents installed with a sidewall-vented heating appliance, be sure that the vents are not blocked. Like all equipment that burns fuel, furnaces and boilers draw in air to ignite the fuel and to keep it burning efficiently. Fresh air vents are essential to a healthy home.
More Cold Weather Conservation Tips
- Correct air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets.
- Repair weather stripping and caulking.
- Replace any cracked glass in your windows.
- Make sure your ceiling has at least six inches of insulation.
- Wrap your pipes to guard against heat loss and freezing.
- Check the threshold for any gaps between it and the door; use a bottom seal that can be attached to the door to stop drafts.
- Have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected regularly.
- Keep ductwork in good repair to avoid continuous loss of conditioned air.
- Remove air conditioning units from windows.
- Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
- Open drapes on windows when they are getting sun to promote passive solar heating.
Warm Weather Conservation Tips
Use Insulation and Shade to Block Heat
Two excellent methods to block heat are insulation and shading. Insulation helps keep your home comfortable and saves money on mechanical cooling systems such as air conditioners and electric fans. Shading devices block the sun's rays and absorb or reflect the solar heat.
Weatherization measures - such as insulating, weather stripping, and caulking - help seal and protect your home or business against the summer heat (in addition to keeping out the winter cold.)
The attic is a good place to start insulating because it is a major source of heat transfer. Adequately insulating the attic protects the upper floors of a building. Wall insulation is not as important for cooling as attic insulation, because outdoor temperatures are not as hot as attic temperatures. Also, floor insulation has little or no effect on cooling. (For space heating, exterior wall and floor insulation is important.)
Outside air also can infiltrate around poorly sealed doors, windows, electrical outlets, and through openings in foundations and exterior walls. Thorough caulking and weather stripping will control most of these air leaks.
Shading your home or business can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 20° F. Trees and other vegetation, exterior awnings, and exterior or interior shades can provide effective shading.
Use Natural Ventilation
Heat accumulates in your building during the day, and the cool night air can flush it out. Natural ventilation relies on the wind and the "chimney effect" to keep a building cool. Depending on the building design and wind direction, a windbreak - like a fence, hedge, or row of trees that blocks the wind - can force air either into or away from nearby windows. Wind moving along a wall creates a low-pressure zone that pulls air out of the windows.
The chimney effect occurs when cool air enters a building on the first floor or basement, absorbs heat in the room, rises, and exits through upstairs windows. This creates lower air pressure, which pulls more air in through lower-level windows.
Use Windows and Doors for Cross-Ventilation
You can create natural cross-ventilation by opening your windows and doors, and adjusting the size and location of the openings to ventilate different parts of the building. Inlets and outlets located directly opposite each other cool only those areas in between, in the direct path of the airflow. You'll cool more of your home or business if you force the air to take a longer path between the inlet and outlet.
Experiment with different patterns of window venting to move fresh outside air through all of the rooms in your home or business. This may involve leaving some windows closed if they interfere with air moving along a longer path.
Solar heat travels in through the roof and radiates into the attic. Attic ventilation reduces attic temperature 10° to 25° F and slows the transfer of heat into the living space. However, the most effective way to reduce attic heat is to block the heat from entering in the first place with a reflective roof and at least a foot of attic insulation.
The best way to ventilate an attic is with natural ventilation. You need about one square foot of opening for every one hundred square feet of ceiling area. The vents should be split equally between the rooftop and the soffits. A fan is another alternative, but requires electricity to operate.
More Warm Weather Conservation Tips
- Keep the coils of your central or window air conditioner free of dust and dirt.
- Make sure the output of your air conditioner is right for the size of your room or house to ensure optimum efficiency and comfort.
- Change or clean your air conditioning filter monthly during the cooling season to improve efficiency and maximize the life of your air conditioner.
- Look for an air conditioning unit that is Energy Star® approved.
- Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
- During the day, block the heat from the sun by closing windows, doors and curtains.
- Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside the home.
- During the hot summer afternoons, avoid using appliances.
- Open windows on cool summer days and nights. A good rule of thumb is not to open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.
- Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
- Use ceiling fans to cool your home. They're much cheaper to operate than air conditioners, and moving air feels cooler, so you can keep your thermostat setting higher.