I have been reading your blog at utility bill busters for a long time now, and I wanted to ask you a question. I live in a small ranch style house in illinois in the south and as you may know the weather has been absolutely scorching! We have a window air conditioner in the bedroom and one in the living room, since those rooms are the most occupied. Recently I have noticed they seem to be running all the time but not making a difference! Should I replace …
For the most part, energy leaks or loss around windows (leaks that don’t have to do with the windows themselves: the panes, the construction, the actual unit itself) comes down to two main areas – the frame itself and the insulation around the frame.
Energy can be lost whether the window is brand new and just installed (and thus installed incorrectly) or if the window is older.
If the frame is compromised, the energy is lost through the frame itself, through the gaps in the wood or plastic. In most cases, though, …
Do It Yourself Projects, Featured, Heating »
Summer is winding down, and the seasons aren’t the only thing in transition. Your energy bills are about to change too. For those of us with cold winters, the nights will get chilly and soon the leaves will be falling. For those in warmer climates, well, you’ll be experiencing a more pleasant transformation, where you’ll see your air conditioner usage decline and your energy bills go down somewhat dramatically.
No matter where you live, a change in season means a change in your energy usage. Since the biggest change right now …
When you size your room for an air conditioner, or when a professional uses energy calculators to size a room for cooling system installation, there is a hidden variable that everyone misses – even the pros.
Do you know what it is?
The answer is people. People and to a lesser extent, pets.
In other words, the occupants of the house.
I’m not talking about your energy habits, like keeping the thermostat in check and weatherproofing your windows – though that is important.
There is actually a more obvious but “hidden” component we all forget …
So the last experiment was disappointing, because it appeared that plastic did very little to prevent heat loss for your leaky hallway window. Things aren’t looking so good for the thin plastic as insulation.
Luckily, we have another scenario. Plastic over part of a window has come “undone” giving us the perfect side by side comparison of surface temperatures over a window with and without plastic – without interfering sunshine and the heat from solar convection.
This question is important to many homeowners and renters because we believe that placing plastic over our windows will halep us save energy on cold winter days and nights. Some plastic makers claim that plastic adds at least 1R value to the window.
I doubt this to be true. But using the information presented in the home energy audit kit, we can easily see heat loss with and without the plastic to see how much of a difference it makes.
Home Energy Tips »
By Noah Buhayar
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2008 11:17am PST
Noah Buhayar is a fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute.
The Rocky Mountain Institute recently compiled energy usage information for the typical American household. We found more than 30 ways that most people can reduce the amount of energy they use at home — without freezing in the dark.
Last week, my colleague shared with you nine no-cost ways to cut your home’s energy consumption, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money.
That’s good news this time of year as home heating …
Q: I was walking around my neighborhood today and saw that my roof barely had any snow on it, but my neighbor’s houses did. I think we have the same roofs. Is this a problem?
Probably. If you don’t have snow on your roof, this points to an energy leak through your attic to the roof. What’s probably happening is the warmed or heated air in your home rises, and the last place it gathers is the attic. Typically, there are attic vents or ventilation fans to disperse the additional heat. …
Home Energy Tips »
With harsh economic times upon us, smart homeowners and even renters are turning to their energy bills as a source of potential savings. Let’s look at 3 dirt simple tips (or steps) that are proven to save money on energy.
Turn down the thermostat in the winter. Chances are you’ve heard this tip before. Turning down your thermostat to 68 degrees F (or about 20 degrees C) in the cold winter months (or anytime that the furnace is on) will save you money on your energy bills. How much will it …
Home Energy Tips »
Ventilation fans are different than normal ceiling fans.
Ventilation fans’ job is to remove offending air from the house to the outdoors. It is non discriminatory. In other words, it doesn’t care if the air on the inside is warmer than outside.
Usually, you’ll find ventilation fans in kitchens on hoods, in bathrooms, utility rooms, or in attics.
If you have a good reason to use these fans, then by all means use them. They are there for a reason. But don’t forget to turn them off when they’ve …