Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category
March 5th, 2012 by admin
Reliability – CFLs suffer from early-life failures up to 13% of the time and often have significant reduction in lumen output before the halfway point in their life. While EnergyStar has only recently begun to do off the shelf testing for CFLs, LEDs have been subject to random EnergyStar testing since their inception to eliminate the reliability problems that have plagued CFLs.
Versatility – LEDs perform in all environments, including those that were particularly problematic for CFLs – cold climates and frequent power cycling.
Recyclability – Since LEDs do not contain hazardous materials they are significantly easier to recycle than CFLs.
February 28th, 2012 by admin
Efficiency – The current generation of LEDs typically produce 60% more lumens per watt than compact fluorescents (CFLs) on the market today and are improving quickly. Expect LEDs to achieve double the efficiency of CFLs in the next couple of years.
Longevity – LEDs last about 50,000 hours, more than 8 times as long as CFLs.
Safety – LEDs are far more break resistant than CFLs and when they do break you don’t have to worry about human or environmental contamination because LEDs do not contain hazardous materials.
February 16th, 2012 by admin
Lemnis just brought us one step closer to ending the days of the compact fluorescent by introducing the $4.95, 25 watt equivalent, Pharox 200. The bulb is for non-dimming applications, runs on 5 watts, and comes with a one year warranty. Lemnis is also offering higher wattage models, including bulbs designed for dimming, ranging in price from $6.95 – $11.95.
All bulbs are sold exclusively through Pharox-Led.com
February 9th, 2012 by admin
If you haven’t already programmed your thermostat, halfway through a mild winter isn’t a bad time to start. Here are a few things to keep in mind when your thinking about or actually programming your thermostat:
A properly programmed thermostat you can save more than hundreds of dollars (up to 10% of your heating bill) every year in energy costs.
2. For the Unprogrammed
Turning your thermostat up to 90 degrees doesn’t heat your house any faster.
3. Intro to Thermodynamics
The lower the temperature in your house, the slower your house gets colder. So the longer your house remains at a colder temperature, the less energy your house uses, and the more money you save.
And for those of you who want your thermostat to program itself – check out the Nest.
January 24th, 2011 by Clay
50%-70% of energy consumed in the average American home is used for heating and cooling. Insulating your home can reduce your heating and cooling load by 20% and increase the comfort of your in both hot and cold weather.
Insulation comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all of it will be rated on its thermal resistance (R-value). The higher the R-value the greater the insulation effectiveness. You can install some forms of insulation yourself while others requires a professional contractor.
Types of Insulation
Blankets (batts or rolls) – Made of mineral fiber this form of insulation can be installed by the homeowner or a professional. Cut the batts down to size to fit them into areas.
Blown-in loose fill – Typically installed by a professional, this form of insulation is ideal for wall cavities and unfinished attic floors.
Spray Foam – In the cavities of a new home a professional can apply cellulose and fiberglass fibers in the form of a foam.
Foam Insulation – Applied by a professional using special equipment to meter, mix, and spray the foam into place. Polyisocyanurate and polyurethane foam insulation is produced in two forms: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-celled foam allows water vapor to move through the material more easily than closed-cell foam, but usually has a lower R-value for a given thickness compared to closed-cell foams. So, some closed-cell foams are able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited.
Rigid Insulation – Made from fibrous materials or plastic foams and produced in board-like forms and molded pipe coverings. These provide full coverage with few heat loss paths and are often able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited. Rigid insulation is often used for foundations and as an insulative wall sheathing.
Penn Power, Penelec, and Met-Ed are all currently offering rebates for insulation.
December 10th, 2010 by Clay
Appliances and Electronics will account for about 20% of your home’s energy consumption. The key to reducing energy costs in this area is a balance between behavior and purchasing efficient appliances. If you’re not using an appliance make sure it’s turned off. For appliances and electronics that you only use on occasion than avoid any potential standby energy consumption and unplug it between uses. When it comes to replacing appliances and electronics make a point of buying Energy Star rated products.
Calculating How Much it Costs to Run Electronics
If you’ve ever wondered how much it costs to run your tv, dvd player, air conditioner, or other electronics then rest easy, its a simple calculation.
- Figure out the wattage of the item in question, it should be labeled on the product somewhere.
- Divide that figure by 1,000.
- Multiply that by the KwH rate you pay for electricity which can be found on your most recent electricity bill.
If I have a 1,500 Watt space heater and pay 15 cents per kilowatt hour then I pay about 22.5 cents for every hour I use my space heater.
-PA Energy Org-
December 8th, 2010 by Clay
The energy it takes to heat water accounts for about 14-25% of your average utility bill. The easiest and most effective saving method is by simply turning down your water heater. Most households only need water heated to 120 degrees, however, many water heaters come pre-set to 140 degrees. For every 10 degrees you turn down your water heater you can save between 3-5% on your water heating costs. Every household is a little different with its hot water needs so do some experimenting with different temperatures and see what works for you.
-PA Energy Org-
December 8th, 2010 by Clay
Once you’ve changed your filter and have your thermostat programmed, it’s time to take out the caulk gun and weatherstripping and start air sealing your home. There are probably a few air leaks in your home that you know of off the top of your head (under doors and particularly leaky windows) so knock those out first and then start looking for the less obvious leaks. Start by checking areas where different materials meet, such as, between brick and wood siding or the foundation and walls. Also inspect around the following areas for any potential air leaks:
- Door and window frames
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Outdoor water faucets
- Where dryer vents pass through walls
- Air conditioners
- Vents and fans
Air sealing will not just reduce energy costs; it will also improve your home’s comfort and durability.
-PA Energy Org-
December 7th, 2010 by Clay
Heating and cooling accounts for 46% of home energy costs, enough to necessitate two of the five days of saving energy tips. So when it comes to saving energy with heating the first steps are to make sure your heating system is running efficiently and to use as little heat as possible. For every degree you turn down the heat, you’ll save about 1% on your heating costs. A good way to limit your heat use is by programming your thermostat based on your daily or weekly schedule. Also make sure that you check the filter in your heating systems monthly (plan on changing roughly every three months). A dirty air filter can cost you several hundred dollars a season in heating costs.
December 6th, 2010 by Clay
This week we’re going to discuss five easy way you can save energy at home. Each day I’ll review one area of major energy consumption in your house and outline a handful of ways you can save a little energy in this department. The five biggest energy draws in the average american home are:
- Lighting (15%)
- Appliances & Electronics (20%)
- Hot Water (14-25%)
- Heating (29%
- Cooling (17%)
Today we’re going to tackle lighting which typically comprises 10-15% of a households electricity cost in Pennsylvania. If you haven’t already switched from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) then lets take a few minutes to formulate a lighting plan for your home.
- Write down the location and wattage of all the lightbulbs in your house
- Rank the fixtures from most frequently used to least frequently used
- Swap out the most used frequently bulbs with CFLs first and replace the lower use ones as you get around to it
When you’ve switched all your bulbs to CFLs you can start addressing task lighting. Identify areas in your home where you only need a small area lit and add specific lighting for those areas. Task lighting will provide enough light for an activity without unnecessarily lighting an entire room.