Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Energy Savings’

Water Heater Tip: Reduce Energy From Your Hot Water Heater

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Are you looking to lower the energy use for the hot water heater in your Blue Bell, PA home? While your water heater may not be an obvious source of energy waste, there are small improvements you can make that will add up over time. Feel free to call the energy experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling if you have further questions about how to reduce the energy use of your water heater.

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a short list of things you can do to get started today!

Use Less Hot Water

Conserving water in your home is a green practice that the entire family can help with. Once you get into the habit of conserving water, it will be even easier to think about how much hot water you use. Even if you don’t have Energy Star appliances, you can use cold water instead of hot in many instances. For instance, try using cold water to wash clothes. Not only does this save energy by using less fuel to heat the tank in your water heater, but it will also help your clothes last longer. Take shorter showers, or lower the temperature in the shower while you are bathing.

If you own a tankless water heater, consider installing low flow faucets and plumbing fixtures. Tankless models are highly efficient water heaters, but they are even more efficient when used in tandem with low-flow fixtures. Repair dripping hot water faucets and other small leaks. These add up over time, and if you get them repaired as soon as you notice them, the less hot water will be wasted.

Lower the Water Heater Thermostat

While no one wants an ice cold shower, you also don’t need the shower to be scalding hot. Not only is this dangerous, especially for small children, but it is also a waste of energy. You could save up to 5% in water heating costs if you lower your water heater thermostat just ten degrees. Many manufacturers use the default setting of up to 140°F; however, you don’t need to set your water heater thermostat above 120°F to get an adequate temperature for all the hot water applications in the home. Call one of the Blue Bell plumbers at Carney if you aren’t sure where to locate the thermostat or have questions about the proper temperature settings.

Install a Water Heater “Jacket”

If you own a storage tank water heater, make sure that the tank is insulated for maximum energy savings. You can install a water heater “jacket” that fits your specific water heater tank. Call a plumber if you would like to know whether or not your water heater has enough insulation. One of our plumbers can also provide other tips to help you save water and energy.

Start saving water and lowering your energy costs today! Call the Blue Bell plumbers at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling for more advice and tips.

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HVAC Guide: Saving Energy This Summer

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Everyone wants to make their home more energy efficient, it not only saves you money but it also makes your home more environmentally friendly. Upgrading your Hatboro HVAC equipment is a great place to start, but it can be hard to decide what to do first.

Before you start making changes, ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you spend on energy?

Paying attention to your energy bill from month to month is very important. A sudden spike could indicate a problem with your Hatboro HVAC system or other appliances in your home. If you start trying to embrace an energy efficient lifestyle, your energy bill can help you keep track of how well you are doing.

Are there benefits to this upgrade?

In addition to being energy efficient, you should discover if there are any other ways that a change can benefit your home. For instance, a new air conditioner could make your home more comfortable, or zone control could make it easier to keep every room in your home the desired temperature. You’d be surprised how many energy efficient upgrades can really improve your whole home and not just your energy bill.

What is your budget?

Budgeting is never fun, but it’s important step to figuring out what you should change first. While it would be great to replace your air conditioner and furnace for ENERGY STAR rated models, it’s a big investment. You can try the little things first, like improving you insulation, repairing air ducts, and sealing air leaks. After you have saved up and improved other parts of your home you can work on replacing your HVAC equipment.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home will make it more comfortable and lower your utility bills. If you have any questions about energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

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Water and Energy Saving Tips

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The cost of the heat, air conditioning and water supply to your Solebury home continues to rise – it’s no wonder you want to cut your bills so much. But, how can you do that without cutting into the creature comforts and conveniences you’ve gotten used to over the course of the last few decades? Here are a few simple energy and water saving tips to make your life easier.

  • Patching Leaks – Two of the biggest wasters of water are dripping faucets and leaky pipes. The amount of water wasted by a single drip every second could provide for multiple baths per year – it adds up fast. Not only are leaky faucets and pipes easy to fix; they tend to develop into bigger problems as time passes.
  • Drains and Flushing – If you put a piece of toilet paper in the toilet used to clean an eye or wipe the counter, don’t flush. It’s a waste of water. If you notice some extra toothpaste in the sink, don’t rinse yet. You can always use the water from brushing your teeth or washing your face to clean it out. Multi-task and minimize how much water goes down the drain to save water.
  • Fully Loaded – A partially filled washing machine or dish washer is a huge waster of water. Fill it up and wait to run the device until it’s at the brim – the same amount of water is used no matter how much is in the device.
  • Compost vs. Disposal – A garbage disposal wastes a tremendous amount of water (if you want it to run properly). So, instead of churning the disposal up, create a compost pile and save a great deal of water/energy. If you have a septic tank, a garbage disposal is especially bad for your home as it can fill the tank up quickly with solids.
  • Lower Water Flow – Don’t crank your faucets up to the max just to get a glass of water or to check for hot water. It’s a waste of energy and it’s often unnecessary, especially when waiting for water to hit the right temperature.

If you’re interested in getting the most out of your home’s water supply, there are hundreds of little ways to save water that will add up over time. These are just some of the easiest ways to get started. If you need more tips, contact your plumber.

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The Energy Efficiency Rating of Central Air Conditioners: What Is it and Why Is it Important? A Tip From Green Lane

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

When you are shopping for a central air conditioning system in Green Lane, you will have to evaluate your options based on a number of different factors. For instance, you will need to decide which type of system is the best match for your home and for your particular cooling needs. It is also important to make sure that the central air conditioner you choose is the right size for the cooling load it will have to take on.

However, it is also very important to evaluate your central air conditioning options based on how energy efficient they are. This will have a great deal to do with how much you pay in terms of cooling costs each month, which makes it easy to see why you should take it into account before you make a purchase.

The energy efficiency of a central air conditioner is generally expressed as a seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER. The SEER numbers you will typically find on the latest air conditioning systems range from eight to 19.5 with the higher numbers signifying a more energy efficient model.

So it is pretty easy to figure out that a central air conditioner with a higher SEER will save you some money monthly because it will use less energy to get the same job done. But central air conditioners with high SEERs also typically have high price tags. So to determine how high of a SEER you need, you will need to know more exactly how much more money you will save as you move up in the rankings.

You can do this by comparing the SEER of the system you currently use with the new system you are considering and compare how much your current energy usage would cost you with each model. Basically, you want to pick a central air conditioner that will save you enough to offset the purchase price of the unit.

Often, this means that you will be best off with a SEER 14 or SEER 16 because these units save you a considerable amount over older models without carrying too high a purchase price. However, the amount you save will be directly related to how much you use your central air conditioning system, so if you live someplace that is extremely hot for a large chunk of the year, it may be worth it for you to buy a very high efficiency air conditioning system.

If you want more information about which type of air conditioner is right for you, contact your local HVAC professional.

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Space Heating vs. an Upgrade to Your Heating System

Monday, March 7th, 2011

If your heating system isn’t really cutting it anymore, it may be time to take a step back and consider what your options are. After all, upgrading to an entirely new heating system is a big investment and a large project that will likely disrupt your life at least for a short period of time. However, under certain circumstances it’s the best alternative out there.

One option to consider when you’re unhappy with your home heating situation is supplementing your central heating system with space heaters. These are generally inexpensive and can be placed virtually anywhere in your house or taken with you from one room to another.

Especially if there is a small part of your home that your heating system just doesn’t seem to reach or that you want to keep a bit warmer than the rest of the house, space heaters can be an excellent option. They’re small, safe and portable and can easily keep a smaller portion of your home or room cozy and warm.

However, you’ll have to take into account the operating costs of a space heater as well as the initial investment when you’re trying to evaluate the overall cost effectiveness of this option. Most space heaters run on electricity, which often costs considerably more than oil or natural gas. If your home heating system runs on electricity anyway, this might not be so much of a factor. But if you have an oil or gas furnace, you could wind up paying significantly more to run space heaters as supplemental heat over time.

Also, it’s worth considering that new home heating systems are likely much more energy efficient than the system you currently have in place. Although the initial installation cost can be pretty substantial, you’ll wind up saving a very large amount on your monthly heating bills by upgrading to a newer model.

Plus, you’ll be getting a system that should be able to satisfactorily heat your home without the need for space heaters or other supplemental heat sources. This translates into a pretty hefty savings over time and that’s something you’ll certainly have to take into consideration when you’re evaluating your options.

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New Thermostats – Are they Worth the Investment?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

When you are trying to save money around the house, a new thermostat is definitely worth looking into. Sure, your old thermostat works fine. But there are a lot of features available on newer models that can help you save money on your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

And you do not need to wait until it is time to replace your home comfort system to upgrade your thermostat. Most thermostats can work with many different types of heating and cooling systems. So no matter what type of HVAC system you have or how old it is, you should be able to integrate some type of new thermostat into it.

But how can a new thermostat save you money? Well, they simply offer a lot of features that you can use to your advantage. For instance, even the most basic programmable thermostat can let you set different temperatures for different times of day. You can program the thermostat to turn the heat down during the day when no one is home and then you can have the heat switch back on just before you get home.

That way, you can come home to a nice, warm house without having to pay to heat it all day long when it is empty. Many newer thermostats also are more accurate and can provide more pinpoint control of your heating and cooling system. That means that you will not be wasting money because your heating system gets the actual temperature in your house up to 75°F when you only really need it to hit 72°F.

Newer thermostats help you to save money in a variety of ways, and that savings will more than pay for the cost of having a new thermostat installed. That is because thermostats are actually quite cheap and easy to install. A relatively basic programmable thermostat should not run you more than $100, and even if you opt for one of the more advanced systems out there, you will not pay more than a few hundred dollars.

That is a small price to pay considering the increased comfort possible with a state of the art thermostat and the potential for savings every month on your heating or cooling bills. Plus, you likely paid a considerable amount to have that state of the art HVAC system put in. It is worth paying just a bit more so that you can get the most possible out of it.

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around the house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system. Maybe it is even a good idea to switch to solar or geothermal power.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 10 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Water Heater Temperature – Most hot water heaters are set to about 140°F. However, you really only need your water to be at 120°F. So turn down the hot water heater and you will save a lot.
  5. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  6. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  7. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  8. Insulation – Proper insulation will go a long way towards keeping in the temperature controlled air that you want and keeping out the outdoor air that you do not.
  9. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  10. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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WaterSense Labels

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Many people know about the EPA’s EnergyStar certification, which is a third-party certification system that verifies manufacturers’ claims about the energy efficiency of home appliances. The EnergyStar label has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers choose high-efficiency, cost-effective appliances for their homes.

The EPA has also developed a certification for plumbing fixtures, called WaterSense. WaterSense labels can be found on a variety of products, including:

  • Bathroom sink faucets and accessories
  • Showerheads
  • Toilets

While there are specific guidelines for each category of plumbing fixture, in general, the WaterSense label indicates that the product is at least 20% more efficient than conventional products in its category, without sacrificing performance or comfort.

The goal of the WaterSense guidelines is to make a real difference in the amount of water consumed in the U.S. – and the numbers bear this out. Let’s take a look at what would happen if every household in the US installed WaterSense products in their bathrooms.

If every household in the U.S. installed WaterSense bathroom sink faucets, it would save 60 billion gallons of water and $600 million in water heating costs. If every U.S. household put in WaterSense showerheads, the US would use 250 fewer billion gallons of water annually and save $2.5 billion in water heating costs. And if every household in the US upgraded to a new, efficient WaterSense toilet, it would save 640 billion gallons of water a year.

More realistically, even if only 1 in 10 U.S. households upgraded to WaterSense products, we would save about 74 billion gallons of water a year and $1.5 billion on our water heating bills.

Like EPA EnergyStar products, WaterSense products can be found at most plumbing retailers.

The WaterSense label can also be applied to entire homes. Homes that have the WaterSense label have:

  • Efficient hot water systems that deliver hot water quickly to minimize waste and waiting
  • WaterSense plumbing fixtures
  • EnergyStar dishwashers and clothes washers
  • Regionally appropriate outdoor landscaping that requires minimal maintenance and watering

In addition, landscaping professionals can apply for WaterSense certification to show that they have training in water-efficient irrigation system design, installation, maintenance, and auditing.

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Water-Saving Tips and Tricks

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Here are some of our favorite water-saving tips. They are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle – and can save you hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water a year.

Whole House

  • Check for leaks – you may save thousands of gallons a month! You can find leaks by looking, listening, and monitoring your water bill for unusually high usage. To check for toilet leaks, put food coloring in your tank. If it gets into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Don’t forget to look for leaks in your outdoor plumbing too.
  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. In the event of a major problem, you’ll save thousands of gallons of water – and maybe your possessions as well.

Outdoors

  • Adjust your sprinklers so that you water only your lawn – not your sidewalk or driveway.
  • Consider adding a patio or “outdoor room” to your home. You’ll have less lawn to water and will add thousands of dollars to your home’s value.
  • Do two chores at once – water the grass by washing your car or your pet on the lawn. Be sure to use natural, biodegradable soaps.
  • Have your plumber re-route your laundry waste water to your lawn (check with local authorities first to be sure this is legal in your town).

In the Bathroom

  • Turn off faucets when you’re not actively using water – such as when you’re lathering your hands, shaving, or brushing your teeth. You’ll save hundreds of gallons each month. New touchless water faucets (or very affordable converters for your existing faucet) make this easy and fun to do, especially for kids.
  • Shorten your shower by only a minute or two, and save 150 gallons of water a month. (You can do this by turning off the shower while you lather your hair.)
  • Replace your old showerhead with a new WaterSense water-saving showerhead. They’re inexpensive and easy to install. You’ll save up to 750 gallons a month (and it’s a great opportunity to get a nice style upgrade too!).
  • Install WaterSense-certified aerators on all your faucets – another inexpensive upgrade that can save hundreds of gallons a month.
  • Insulate hot water pipes so don’t have to run the water as long while you wait for it to heat up.
  • Plug the tub before turning the water on for your bath, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it heats up. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.

In the Kitchen and Laundry Room

  • Install a tankless water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it warms up.
  • If your dishwasher is new, scrape off excess food, but don’t pre-rinse. Modern dishwashers are built to handle un-rinsed items.
  • Upgrade your old water-cooled refrigerator, air conditioner, or ice-maker to a new air-cooled model for a significant reduction in water use
  • When buying new appliances, look for the EnergyStar label, which guarantees high efficiency. Also, look for models that offer cycle and load size adjustments.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when they are full – you can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

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The Beauty of Zone Heating

Friday, January 21st, 2011

While it might not technically be a necessity, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to look into having a zone heating system installed in your home. Whether you’ve been using the same home heating system for a long time or are looking to have a new one installed, there’s never a bad time to have a zone heating system put in.

Most people think that the only thing that affects their home heating and cooling bills is the energy efficiency of their furnace or heat pump. However, that’s simply not always the case. Certainly, the more efficient your furnace or heat pump is, the lower your energy bills will be. But that doesn’t mean they’re as low as they could possibly be.

After all, if you don’t have a zone control system installed, you’re paying to heat your entire house every time you turn on the heat. Depending on the size of your house, that could mean you’re heating anywhere from two to 10 rooms or more that are unoccupied at the time. In fact, you could be paying to heat an entire empty wing of your home. And while you’ll pay less than you would if your heating system was less efficient, you’re still paying more than you need to.

With a zone control system, you can heat your home much more efficiently because you can control which areas of the house get the heat and which ones don’t. You can set multiple different temperatures for the different zones of your home, which allows you to keep the occupied areas warm while not forcing you to waste energy to heat unoccupied spaces.

Aside from the economic benefits of only heating the areas of your home that you need, zone control systems also can put an end to some of those contentious thermostat wars that go on in so many households. If the members of your household can never agree on what a comfortable temperature is, they can simply each set their own temperature for their own area of the house.

That way, everyone is happy and no one has to suffer uncomfortably. After all, you paid a lot for your state of the art home heating system. It’s only fitting that you should be able to get the most possible out of it.

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