Archive for August, 2011

Energy Saving Tips For Renters

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

At Ocean State, we are always trying to find ways to help homeowners save money and energy, but what about renters? Renters have to be very careful about any modifications they make. Many changes to the house could break the terms of the lease. Fear not, you do have some options available!

There are small changes that will impact your energy bill that you can make without permission from your landlord.

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or halogen light bulbs and unplugging appliances when not in use are basic ways to cut energy costs.

Even if you landlord provides the big appliances such as refrigerator, stove, and oven, you can still look for Energy-Star rated small appliances. Nowadays, TVs, DVD players, and even cable boxes come with Energy Star ratings.

You can also buy an LCD TV instead of a plasma one to save energy. In winter months, putting heavy, dark curtains over your windows will add a layer of insulation to help cut heating costs.

It may take a little convincing to get your landlord to agree to some of these changes, but remind him that most of these energy saving upgrades are eligible for rebates. Offering to share the costs and then let him take the rebate credit could go a long way toward getting you a more energy efficient home.

 

First Steps to Turning on Your Heat

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

With October right around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for colder days, and even colder nights.  Better to be safe than sorry when preparing for the cold weather. Waiting till the night of it hitting 40 degrees to test your central heating system may not be the best idea. We suggest before turning on the heat, to make sure your house is sealed up correctly. Remove any window air conditioning units for the winter season as these do not seal tightly and can let in a lot of cold air. After this is done make sure all windows are closed tightly and locked. Also, be sure to check all attic doors and attic crawl spaces, as well as your basement door to assure that they are properly shut and sealed. Once you make sure your home is properly sealed for the colder nights, it’s time to turn on and test your furnace.  After turning it on, smell for anything unusual or a burning smell. If you see fire or smoke, call 911. Also listen for any unusual sounds, as if your furnace is struggling. If it is making odd sounds, turn it off and call your heating company. Testing your heating unit early not only avoids the stress of having to call a heating company when they are in high demand but keeps your family warm the entire winter.

Energy Efficiency Starts in Your Backyard

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient landscape can reduce your heating and cooling bills to give you substantial energy savings. In fact, the study shows the shading under tress close to ground level can reduce surrounding air temperatures by 25 degrees compared to air temperatures above nearby blacktop paving. Whether it’s radiated heat from nearby blacktop or absorbed solar heat from roof and windows, your home’s air conditioning system will have to work overtime to keep you cool during the hot Florida seasons.

The choice of trees in your landscape design can increase your home’s energy efficiency. Try deciduous trees to shade your home in the summer. This type of tree loses their leaves in the winter to allow heat from the sun’s rays on your home in the winter. Maximizing shading benefits to keep your home cooler in summer can be as simple as planting trees that have a high and spreading canopy on the southern exposure of your yard.  Even if you plant slower-growing trees, they will begin shading the outside walls and windows immediately. (more…)

Why Install a New Air Conditioning System

Monday, August 1st, 2011

As temperatures heat up all over the Nation, air conditioners have undoubtedly become an essential part of living. We all love the fact that with the touch of a button, you can create an optimal climate in your home. While this is an advantage with any type of residential cooling system, there are certain advantages to central air conditioning systems that aren’t available with portable systems. What benefits are those? Browse the list below to find the best features of an air conditioning system that will improve your home and your family’s comfort.

Keeping it clean. Air conditioning units have the ability to filter the air in your home. Instead of having a home filled with pollen, allergens, dust, dirt, and possible toxins, your air will be filtered and contain less of these potentially dangerous molecules. This is particularly advantageous to those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory/allergic issues. We spend the majority of our time indoors, and we’ve found that our indoor environment is actually more polluted than if we spend more time outdoors! It’s important to filter the air that we breathe to prevent health issues. (more…)