Thursday, September 28, 2006

How can YOU save on Energy Costs?



  • Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers, etc.
  • Check the furnace or air conditioner (AC) filter each month, and clean or replace it as needed. Dirty filters block air flow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment’s life.
  • During hot months, keep window coverings closed on the south, east, and west windows. In winter, let the sun in.
  • Glass fireplace doors help stop heat from being lost up the chimney. Also, close the fireplace damper when not in use.
  • Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use to cut energy costs and improve longevity.
  • When cooking, keep the lids on pots. Better yet, use a microwave oven instead.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather, and set your thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable setting. On winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and turn down your thermostat more. { Use the Honeywell Digital Thermostats:   Check Out: }
  • In summer, use fans whenever possible instead of AC, and ventilate at night this way when practical. Using fans to supplement AC allows you to raise the thermostat temperature, using less energy. Fans cost less to use than AC.
  • About 15 percent of an average home energy bill goes to heating water. To save hot water, take five-minute showers instead of baths. Do only full loads when using the clothes washer or dishwasher.
  • Switch to cold water washing of laundry in top loading in top-loading, energy-inefficient washing machines to save energy and up to $63 a year—detergents formulated for cold water get clothes just as clean.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater. It should be set at “warm,” so that a thermometer held under running water reads no more than 120 degrees.
  • Only heat or cool the rooms you need—close vents and doors of unused rooms.


  • Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.
  • Seal and weatherstrip your windows and doors to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat or air conditioning that escapes through leaks to the outdoors.
  • A water tank insulation wrap costs about $20 and helps hold the heat inside. Add pre-cut pipe insulation to exposed pipes going into your water heater—it is cheap and easy to install. If you’re starting with an uninsulated tank, the energy savings should pay for the improvements in just a few months.
  • Duct tape works well on lots of things, but it often fails when used on ductwork! Use mastic (a gooey substance applied with a paintbrush) to seal all exposed ductwork joints in areas such as the attic, crawlspace, or basement. Insulate ducts to improve your heating system’s efficiency and your own comfort.
  • Storm windows can reduce heat lost by single-paned windows by 25–50 percent during the winter. As an alternative, you can improve your windows temporarily with plastic sheeting installed on the inside.
  • When buying new products, look for the ENERGY STAR® label, found on more than 40 different products such as TVs, furnaces, cell phones, refrigerators, air conditioners and more.
  • Incandescent light bulbs are outdated; 95 percent of the energy used goes to heating the bulb, adding unwanted heat to your home in the summer. Replace your five most used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulbs to save $60 each year in energy costs. These light bulbs use two-thirds less energy and last up to 10 times longer. Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Consider safer, more efficient ENERGY STAR torchiere lamps rather than halogen torchieres, which can cause fires. Halogen bulbs are expensive to use.

THE ULTIMATE CHECKLIST: For Saving Money by Reducing Energy Bills

    Save up to 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs.
    • Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter wastes money. A handy homeowner can seal up holes to the outside by weatherstripping doors and sealing windows and other gaps along the home’s foundation. A combination of air sealing and adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawlspaces provides tremendous energy savings and increased comfort.
    • The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. If you have less than 6 or 7 inches, you can probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-38 and R-49 attic insulation. In order to achieve this, many homeowners should add between R-19 to R-30 insulation (about 6 to 10 inches).
    • Other effective places to add insulation include unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces. Insulating walls can be more complex, but it can be worthwhile to do if you have little or no insulation now. Check with a contractor for advice.
    • Consider the ENERGY STAR® Home Sealing Program—the government’s information for sealing your home:
    Appliances account for about 20 percent of household energy use.
    • Appliances and electronics really add up on your energy bill. When it is time to replace, remember these items have two price tags: purchase price and lifetime energy cost. When shopping for new appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.) and electronics (TV, computer, etc.), demand the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is the government’s rating program that shows you which items are more efficient than typical models. ENERGY STAR items will save you money over the product’s useful life.
    Efficient windows can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 30 percent.
    • If your home has only single pane windows, consider replacing them with low-e coated or ENERGY STAR windows. Alternatively, storm windows can reduce your winter heat loss by 25–50 percent.
    Up to half of your energy bill goes just for heating and cooling.
    • Turn your heating or cooling down every night and whenever you leave home. Better yet—install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat and save about $100 each year; it adjusts the temperature automatically for you.
    • When it’s time to replace your hot water tank, buy the most efficient one possible. Consider a tankless, on-demand system (these won’t work for everyone, so talk to your installer).
    • An ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, when properly sized and installed, along with sealed ducts and a programmable thermostat, can save up to 20 percent on heating bills. {Buy them at: }
    • When buying a new AC unit, look for a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 13 or higher on central systems and the ENERGY STAR label on room units. In arid climates, evaporative coolers are much more efficient (and less costly) than AC. They also add needed moisture to the air, while AC units further dry the air.
    • Adding area heaters to warm just the occupied rooms in your home will enable you to keep the rest of your home at cooler, more economical temperatures.
    Save $100-$250 each year.
    • Trees that lose their leaves in the fall give protection from the summer sun and permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your home. Plant trees on the south, east, and/or west sides of your home. Be sure to shade the AC unit. Create a windbreak with evergreen trees and shrubs to stop chilling winds.

Sources: Dept. of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and Alliance to Save Energy

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Green Energy

Want to help our planet?

Help our children's children?

How about Purchasing Green Energy?

(Explanation courtesy of Wikipedia)

Check out their website at:

Purchase of green energy through the electrical grid

In the USA, residential and commercial customers can purchase Green Power from either their utility or a green power provider. Green energy is available through one of the many third-party energy suppliers that sell electricity made from renewable sources. The energy is delivered via the local electric utility. The customer simply pays a slight premium on their monthly utility bill for the Green Energy or directly purchases from a green power supplier.

When energy is purchased from the electricity network, there is no way of knowing that the power that reaches the home is from green energy sources. The local utility company, electric company or state power pool buys their electricity from electricity producers, ranging from coal and nuclear to large scale hydropower and green energy sources such as wind power and solar power. Most electricity has its source in non-renewable and polluting energy sources such as coal and nuclear. Green energy currently provides a very small amount of electricity, generally contributing less than 2 to 5 % to the overall pool from which utilities buy their electricity.

In order to make an impact, individuals who sign up for green energy either obligate the utility companies to increase the amount of green energy that they purchase from the pool and subsequently decrease the amount of non-green energy they purchase, or directly fund the green energy through a green power provider. If insufficient green energy sources are available, the utility must develop new ones or contract with a third party energy supplier to provide green energy, causing more to be built. Although there is no guarantee that turning on a light will mean that, say, a wind turbine is providing the electricity, by participating in green energy programs a consumer is having an effect on the energy sources used and ultimately is helping to promote and expand the use of green energy. They are also making a statement to policy makers that they are willing to pay a price premium to support renewable energy.

In some countries such as the Netherlands, electricity companies guarantee to buy an equal amount of 'green power' as is being used by their green power customers. The Dutch government exempts green power from pollution taxes, which means green power is hardly any more expensive than other power.

Purchase of green energy through the gas grid

The market for heating is mostly serviced by gas and oil rather than electric power, due to the high cost per kilowatt of electricity. Distribution of cheap renewable electric power via the electrical grid has made it possible in many countries for the average consumer to choose renewable electric power, and in the same manner Renewable natural gas may in future be made available to the average consumer via the existing gas grid.

Purchase of green energy through localized renewable systems

Those not satisfied with the third-party grid approach to green energy, that utilizes the power grid to deliver green energy, can still install their own locally-based renewable energy system. Renewable energy electrical systems from solar to wind to even local hydropower in some cases, are some of the many types of renewable energy systems available locally. Additionally, for those interested in heating and cooling their dwelling via renewable energy, geothermal heat pump systems that tap the constant temperature of the earth, which is around 7 to 15 degrees Celsius a few feet underground, are an option and save money over conventional natural gas and petroleum-fueled heat approaches.

The advantage of this approach is that many US states offer incentives to offset the cost of installation of a renewable energy system. Individuals are usually assured that the electricity they are using is actually produced from a green energy source that they control. Once the system is paid for, the owner of a renewable energy system will be producing their own renewable electricity for essentially no cost and can sell the excess to the local utility at a profit.

Do you know that IDTENERGY offers GREEN ENERGY? Check us out at:

And while you are at it, don't forget your thermostat!

Save money and energy! for the BEST prices on the NET!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Winter Heating Costs?

Don't let the winter heating costs FREEEEEEZE YOU! 
I don't know about you but winter is close by and I am already feeling the cold.  It's frightening.

Here are some tips to stay warm and financially afloat for the winter:
Stay warm this winter without the sky-high bills. Lou Manfredini, aka Mr. Fix-It, offers tips for saving energy — and money
Today show
Oil prices are up 37 percent, and propane and natural gas bills are going to be sky high.  So no matter how you heat your home, you're going to want to find ways to keep costs down this winter. Home contributor Lou Manfredini, aka Mr. Fix-It, was invited on “Today” to offer tips to get you through those cold winter nights.

Service your heating system every year
It's the best money you'll spend. The cost for a typical service call to clean the unit and change filters in both the furnace and humidifier, on average, is between $85 to $100, depending on where you live.

Install a programmable thermostat
This is a must. There are many different brands on the market that range in price from $50 to $125. You can program it to lower the temperature while you're at work or sleeping and save up to 30 percent in a well insulated home. What's more, outdated thermostats are the weakest link in conserving energy. According to the government's Energy Information Administration, only about 11 percent of U.S. homes are equipped with modern programmable thermostats. Honeywell®, a leader in control technology, estimates that homeowners can receive one to three months of free heating and cooling by installing a programmable thermostat. What are you waiting for?   {Editor's Note:  Check out this!  -- awesome thermos} 

Add weather stripping around windows and doors
This is a project that any homeowner can do. This also has a real impact on drafts and conserving energy. Door thresholds, window caulking and plastic window film can go a long way in saving your money this winter. If you live in a drafty home, you could save up to 20 percent on heating costs with an investment of as little as $25. There is even a removable window caulking called Wind-Jammer that can be pulled away clean in the spring. If you're replacing your front door, consider a fiberglass unit. These not only look great but have a higher insulating performance than traditional wood or steel doors. For more information check out

Install ceiling fans
Remember learning in physics class that heat rises? Well, running ceiling fans slowly and in reverse will keep that warm air circulating and keep you more comfortable. What’s the bonus? The time your furnace runs will reduce, which will cut your monthly energy bill.

Rearrange the furniture
Really. A couch or chair over a vent or in front of baseboard radiators decreases the efficiency of the units and causes your heating system to run longer.

Install a tankless water heater
This technology has been around for almost 70 years. Now units are less expensive and can save you hundreds of dollars each year. How? They create hot water on demand, so there's no stored water needing to be continuously heated. (Think about when you’re away or asleep.) What’s the cost? A small unit that will produce about 3.3 gallons of hot water continuously is around $500 to $700, while a standard 50-gallon tank heater costs around $300. But you'll recoup the cost increase in just three years, and then the savings keep coming. What's more, standard water heaters tend to decrease in efficiency as time goes on. A seven-year-old tank heater runs at about 60 percent efficiency, while a tankless heater of the same age runs at about 70 percent to 75 percent efficiency. The limitations? Multiple fixtures can't run at the same time, making it difficult to run your washing machine and take a shower simultaneously. But the savings are really worth it — trust me. For more information check out

Use compact florescent lightbulbs, or CFLs
These bulbs give off the same amount of light but use a third of the energy and many will last up to 5 years.  Electric companies across the country say that replacing the five most used lightbulbs in your home with CFLs can save you up to $60 a year on your electric bill. 

Install thermo-pane windows in your home
You'll increase your home's energy efficiency up to 70 percent. Multi-pane windows can have R-values of as high as 9.1. (The higher the R-value, the more resistant the glass is to losing heat.) A typical single-pane glass has an R-value of 1.

Insulate your ceilings and attic
Heat rises, and if there isn't enough insulation in the space above, your money is going out the roof — literally. Most ceilings and attic spaces should have at least an R-30 rating, although a rating of R-40 to R-50 is recommended for some areas of the country.

Let the sun be your guide
Why not? It's free energy. During the day, open up those drapes and blinds and let that sun heat your home. At night, draw the curtains to keep the heat inside.

Bonus tip
A small label can save you big money. Look for the “energy star” label on your appliances, easily found on washing machines, computers and stereo equipment. This label means the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have deemed these products to be energy efficient.

Use these tips and products to help you keep more heat in your home and, ultimately, more money in the bank.  For more help, visit my Web site:

© 2006 MSNBC Interactive


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Winter is coming.....

Did you know that the FASTEST way to SAVE money on your heating bill could be as SIMPLE as changing your thermostat?

Check this out for all your thermostat needs!


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