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Archive for the energy saving tips category

Cash for Caulkers – Leaky Air Duct Work

By admin on July 26th, 2010

TCash for Caulkershe Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 – also known as “Cash for Caulkers” – is nearly here. The bill passed earlier this summer in the House of Representatives and is now awaiting final approval by the Senate. This is great news for homeowners and contractors. Arguably, the greatest barrier to widespread adoption of energy efficient or “green” construction is the cost. Cash for caulkers will hopefully be the impetus for change. This program lends itself nicely to the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) industry since older heating systems are notorious for air leaks. Sealing leaky duct work often times will have a profound impact on a homeowner’s energy bill.

The Home Star bill provisions $6 billion for energy-efficient or “green” retrofits. It is expected to fund renovations for 3 million families, create 168,000 new jobs and save consumers $9.2 billion on energy bills over the next 10 years. However, in order to cash in on government funds, homeowners and contractors will need to follow specific guidelines. There are 13 types of retrofits described in the bill and each has unique requirements.

Fortunately there are many online resources discussing the latest developments in the Home Star bill. For example, HVAC Software Advice put together a cash for caulkers starter’s guide. They break down all the requirements of the bill into an easy-to-read table. The table includes specifications of retrofit requirements, along with the rebate amounts for each. They have also combined the retrofits into three packages.

To read their guide, visit: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/construction/cash-for-caulkers-the-definitive-guide-to-the-home-star-bill-1061110/

5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bill this Winter

By admin on October 1st, 2009

Consumer Reports Shows How to Reduce Your Heating Costs This Winter

Last year Consumer Reports published an article showing homeowners how to reduce their heating bill while increasing the value of their home. At Duct-911.com we don’t claim to be real estate appraisers, but we do know that all these things play a big role in making your house more sellable. More importantly we feel, is showing consumers how they can make slight changes in their lifestyle and still save substantial amounts on their annual heating bill.

Here is what Consumer Reports Recommends:

  1. Weatherize Your Home. – Weatherizing you home can save you up to 30 percent on heating. Your hardware store or local building center can give you one great tips on this based on the age and style fo your home. weatherizing includes things like putting plastic on the inside or outside of your windows, replacing damaged or missing seals on doors, using insulating foam gaskets on outlet covers, and much more.
  2. Insulate and Seal. – Insulation is relatively inexpensive and in many cases makes for an easy weekend do-it-yourself project. Here are some of the areas in your  home where you may be losing heat:
    • Add More Insulation – Adding attic insulation can lower your heating costs from 5 to 30 percent, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. Check your attic to see if there ae places where the insulation is dirty. This could be a sign that you have a leak (seal it up) and now it’s time to replace the insulation. Ideally you should have R-38 insulation in your attic. If your house is new or your attic has been recently remodeled, you might be all set, but in older homes insulation can be minimal and poor quality at best.
    • Insulate your water pipes using slip-on pipe insulation. You may also want to replace your water heater’s damaged or missing blanket or wrap. A water heater generally comes from the factory with inadequate insulation and correcting the problem is easy and effective. Both of these products can be found at most home improvement stores.
    • Seal up your air ducts. The DOE estimates that 20 to 40 percent of the heating energy that leaves the heating system of a typical forced-air gas furnace heating cooling system is lost in the duct work system.
    • Seal Up Those Holes & Cracks – Cracks and crevices throughout your home allow expensive heated air to escape from your home. Furthermore, strong winds can force Freezing cold air into your home. Oftentimes a little caulking and a few pieces of insulation is all you need.
  3. Lower Your Thermostat. – For every degree you lower the temperature, you can save about 3 percent on your heating costs. This chore can be handled automatically using a programmable thermostat. Discount stores often times sell them for as little as $30-$40.
  4. Replace Your Old Windows. Installing new windows can save you 10 to 25 percent per year on heating if you have single-paned windows. But installing replacement windows can be expensive to install and the payback can take years. High efficiency replacement windows typically cost $7,000 to $20,000 installed, for an average house so it’s important to consider how long you will be keeping your home.
  5. Buy an Infrared Space Heater. If you can get by with not heating your whole house, many people are turning their thermostats way down and using a high efficiency infared space heater. Although space heaters cost about twice as much to run as a high efficiency gas furnace does, you have the ability of heating only the rooms your are using.

In cold winter climates like Minneapolis, MN many homeowners turn their heat way down at night and use a space heater to heat only 1 or two rooms while they get ready for work. If no one is home during the day they don’t need to turn the heat up again until they return from work. Programmable thermostats work perfectly in this situation. The house will be warm when you come home from work and until you go to bed at night.

For even more energy saving ideas, read the article we published last year: “Home Energy Saving Tips“.

To read the Consumer Reports article in full, here is the link: http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2008/10/winter-heating.html

Secure Your Home Improvement Tax Rebate!

By Dave Trosdahl on July 16th, 2009

By now, most homeowners have heard of all the tax rebates for various home improvement products and services, but not all are aware of how substantial they are. If you install a qualifying high efficiency furnace, you can save 30% of the bill! While there are some stipulations, a qualified heating and cooling contractor will easily be able to help you out. Here is a link to the federal website to help you get started: Federal Tax Credits For Energy Efficiency

Here are the federal guidelines:

  • must be “placed in service” from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010
  • must be for taxpayer’s principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes qualify)
  • $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009 & 2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016
  • must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify
  • for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement
  • improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010
  • If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters.

A/C Spring Cleaning Air Conditioner Tune-up

By Dave Trosdahl on April 10th, 2008

At Duct-911.com, we would love nothing more than to be able to help you save energy and save money by lower your heating and cooling costs while still helping you maintain a cool climate inside your home this summer.

A/C Spring Cleaning

When thinking about your furnace or air conditioner it is important to under stand that most central air conditioners have three basic parts:

  1. Compressor/Condenser – This is the outdoor unit that sits next to your home
  2. Evaporator/A-coil – an indoor unit which is located in the plenum (the duct work above your furnace).
  3. Duct work and air vents More

A Clean Dryer Vent Saves Money and Prevents Fires

By Dave Trosdahl on March 15th, 2008

A Clean Dryer Vent Provides Safety, Shortens Drying Time & Saves You Money!

You put your clothes in the dryer 2 hours ago and they’re still not dry! Sound familiar?If so, it might be time for you to have your dryer vent cleaned. If you can tell that your dryer is working properly (heating up and tumbling) most likely you have a plugged clothes dryer vent.

Benefits of a Clean Dryer Vent:

  • Faster drying times – the damp air is vented outdoors instead of recirculating within the tumbler.
  • A clean dryer vent saves you money – The longer it takes to dry your clothes, the more energy you consume. Most homeowners realize enough energy savings the first 3 months to pay for the service call.
  • Fire hazard is prevented – the lint which has built-up over time in the heating chamber and dryer vent is removed, eliminating spontaneous combustion due to excessive heat.

Cost of Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer vent cleaning prices vary from one company to the next. Another factor is who is doing it. An appliance repairman is much more expensive than a professional dryer vent cleaning company. Prices seem to vary from $65 when included with another service already being performed at your home (duct cleaning for example), to $199 if a special trip is made. Some companies charge more for dryer vents which are seriously plugged or are vented two stories up through the roof.

Look for a company that will give you a guaranteed price. If they need to come out to do an inspection and give a quote, expect to pay much more. At Duct-911.com the price is always guaranteed; $65 when included with air duct cleaning, or $99 for dryer vent cleaning only.Remember, the same equipment which is uysed for duct cleaning is also used to clean dryer vents.

Call 877-DUCT-911 (877-382-8911) for dryer vent cleaning, duct cleaning and more.

Home Energy Saving Tips From Washington

By Dave Trosdahl on September 19th, 2007

Here are 5 energy saving tips from Energy Ideas Clearing House based in Washington. They have many tips from using the right light bulbs to refrigeration savings. We have published the ones directly related to Heating and cooling.

Home Energy Saving Tips.

  • Lower your thermostat at night and whenever the house is not occupied.
  • Tune up the furnace annually.
  • Replace furnace filters. The dirtier they are, the harder the fan furnace works. Clean filters are essential for heat pumps – airflow is critical and can add years to the life of your heat pump.
  • Insulate and seal ducts in attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas-potential big energy savings.
  • Furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning and water eaters all have high efficiency models available and should be considered when replacing these appliances. – Replace conventional oil burner (oil furnace) with a more efficient flame-retention burner.
  • To read all of the home energy savings tips (even those unrelated to your heating and cooling system) visit energyideas.org. Additionally, you might want to search the entire Duct-911.com website for many heating and cooling, dryer vent cleaning tips and air duct cleaning tips.