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Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency In Your Home

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Heating and cooling bills account for over half of the monthly expenditure of American homeowners, when talking simply about fees associated with home ownership. This stems from a variety of causes, from the windows to poor insulation. The result is a home with an overactive HVAC system, drafts and other similar issues. Additionally, homeowners increase their carbon footprint due to the abundant use of energy to heat their home. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are expended with your HVAC system, which are attributed to global warming. Insulation can block some of these emissions, while reducing your electrical use can lower the rate of greenhouse gases as well. There are many ways that home owners can combat their energy use, so its important to create a budget to determine what you can afford and what will help your energy use the most in the long term. It can be expensive to make these changes to your home, but improving the energy efficiency in your home will not only reduce monthly expenditures, but increase the resale value of your home.

Windows and Doors

One of the biggest places that energy escapes is from the windows and doors, so its important to verify their status. If you live in an older house, chances are that the materials used during the building process are out of date and may simply require an upgrade. Look around the jamb and windowsill to determine whether the caulking may need a repair or inspect wooden frames for any warping, chips or other, more significant damage. Caulking is easy to repair, but more serious signs like condensation, frost on the inside of the windows and chips in the wood are more serious physical signs that you need new windows. Doors have a clearer cut sign; when you close the door if you can see any light coming from the outside into your home, its time to replace the door. Its either become damaged during its years of use or it was uninstalled properly. Lastly, if these items seem visually alright, you may simply want to feel the temperature near the questionable windows. For example, a window that feels frigid to stand in front of during the winter months is not energy efficient. And when that happens, an abundance of your homes energy is lost through these spaces.

Electronics

Every appliance that you own should be equipped with an energy-efficient tag or it needs to be replaced. Older models may be sturdy and reliable, but without the certification you may be spending too much on your energy bill. Its also important to unplug items like the toaster or your computer, when they are not in use. These items can increase your bills for no reason when they are plugged intot the wall. Its also important to not leave the refrigerator open for long periods of time, which make the air escape and the appliance work harder. Lastly, dont run the dishwasher until it is full, instead of just doing it one load at a time.

Insulation

One of the biggest places to lose energy is inefficient insulation. When properly installed, installation acts like a barrier between your home and the sun, keeping it cool in the summer. And during the winter months, it safely keeps the warmth inside your home. The result is a home with a constant, comfortable temperature. Talk with a professional insulation team to determine whether your home qualifies for an upgrade.

How To Improve Your Bathrooms Ventilation

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Poor bathroom ventilation can make matters of personal care awfully unpleasant. While newer, local building codes have learned to account for this issue, many older homes are equipped with bathrooms that do not offer enough ventilation to make the acts of showering or going about ones daily bathroom-related affairs as comfortable as they ought to be.

If your current bathroom doesnt seem to offer you the right amount of ventilation, you can take certain steps to increase air flow and improve your bathroom environment. Blair Harris is the director of Sales and Marketing at A&R Mechanical Services, a Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning company that has been serving Amarillo, Texas since 1992, and she thinks that anyone with poor bathroom ventilation ought to try the following in order to combat the problem:

Using an Exhaust Fan
When it comes to improving bathroom ventilation, the use of a fan is truly key. If your bathroom comes equipped with a built-in exhaust fan, dont wait until after youve emerged from the shower to turn it on. Instead, make a habit of running your bathroom fan while you shower so that it can combat all of that added moisture in the air and help keep the atmosphere as cool as possible. If you dont have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, bring in a local plumbing and HVAC company to see if installing one is an option.

Installing a Bathroom Window
You may add a window on one of your bathrooms exterior walls. Not only can a window improve your bathrooms appearance, it can also help tremendously on the ventilation front. If youre not keen on the idea of having a permanent draft in your bathroom, keep in mind that just because you choose to install a bathroom window doesnt mean that youll always have to leave it wide open. By cracking the window for even a few minutes, you can introduce a stream of fresh air into your bathroom and make it more comfortable in the process.

Cleaning Your Vents
If your bathroom air doesnt seem to be circulating well, clogged or dirty air vents could be to blame. To remedy this, try giving your vents a thorough cleaning. If youre not sure how to tackle the task yourself, hire a local air duct cleaning company to do the job for you. You might be surprised at what a difference a single vent cleaning makes.

Adding More Vents
If running your exhaust fan doesnt seem to be doing the job and your bathroom is not a good candidate for a window, another option for improving ventilation is to hire an HVAC company to install custom ductwork. By adding more vents, you can turn an otherwise stuffy bathroom environment into an airy and pleasant one.

Leaving the Bathroom Door Open
Its natural to want privacy while you shower, but if you live alone or have a bathroom thats only accessible via your bedroom, you can leave the door open a crack to improve ventilation and prevent the buildup of moisture and steam. If your living situation isnt conducive to this solution, make a habit of opening the bathroom door once you get a chance to throw on some clothes after showering. This process will at least allow some of that hot air to dissipate, making your post-shower bathroom atmosphere just a bit less stifling.

Opening that Shower Door
If your shower happens to come equipped with a glass door, opening it once youre done bathing can also improve bathroom ventilation. This will help the steam travel through the air more quickly, and in some cases, it might also help reduce the chances of a mold or mildew buildup.

Your bathroom is one of those places that you just cant avoid, so you should do what it takes to make it as comfortable as possible. If the air flow in your bathroom isnt what youd like it to be, contact an experienced plumbing and HVAC company to learn about your options for improving the situation.

Tips On Tenant Improvement Allowances

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Tenant improvement allowances, funds provided by the landlord to improve office space, are becoming increasingly prevalent during landlord-tenant negotiations, and all companies should consider their role in creating an ideal office space. However, companies seeking to lease at least 5,000 square feet of Class A & B office space with a lease term of at least five years can exercise much greater leverage on the landlord and will typically find it easier to achieve many of the suggestions below. If in doubt, you should consult with a real estate broker to determine the feasibility of any specific item.

1. In todays economic environment, many landlords are providing and funding 100 percent of the building standard installations required by tenants.

2. Tenants should try to negotiate above-standard items, such as millwork, extra HVAC, large glass walls, plush carpeting or special lighting, to get them included in the tenant improvement allowance provided by the landlord.

3. When landlords refuse to fund all or a portion of above-standard items, tenants can try to amortize their cost into the rent over the term of the lease instead of paying out of pocket.

4. Funding above-standard work can also be achieved via negotiating tactics, for example, offering to decrease the quantity of free rent and increase the tenant improvement allowance instead.

5. We recommend tenants hire an architect to represent their interests and suggest a layout and design of the space to ensure tenant improvement allowances are put to the best possible use.

6. Tenants can avoid the need for a large tenant improvement allowance by touring many suites and finding one with a suitable existing configuration. However, we advise tenants to avoid compromising the amount of their tenant improvement allowance just to decrease the rental rate.

7. Landlords are providing generous tenant improvement allowances for new tenants, and tenants can use this as leverage even if they are only renewing, especially if they have occupied the space for the past five-to-ten years.

8. If landlords offer a specific dollar amount for a tenant improvement allowance, we advise tenants to negotiate an open-bid format, based on an expert review by their own architect, project manager or construction firm.

9. Many companies are using tenant improvement allowances to create more light in the workplace by adding glass in offices and conference rooms. From narrow, vertical side-windows to full walls of glass, natural light illuminates interior areas and provides sight-lines for workers to improve communications and productivity.

10. We always recommend tenants hire an architect to brainstorm about the best uses for tenant improvement allowances. Many companies are decreasing hard-walled offices in favor of flexible workstations and huddle rooms, small two-to-four person conference areas, to accommodate departments changing needs.

A Guide To Basic HVAC Maintenance

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If you are a homeowner, you know how important your heating and air conditioning system is. Whether it is the coldest part of wintertime or the hottest summer months, you need to be sure that your HVAC system is running at full capacity. To ensure that your system is in the best possible shape, you should educate yourself a bit on general HVAC maintenance. Rather than spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on maintenance, you can take a few simple steps on your own to ensure that your system is running as efficient as possible when you need it most.

The most basic way to stay on top of maintaining your HVAC system is by replacing the filters as frequently as necessary. If you want your heating and air conditioning system to efficiently run at full capacity when you need it most, check your filters. You should inspect them at least once a month, and change them at least once every three months. You may need to replace them more frequently or less frequently, depending on how dirty they are when you inspect them.

You should also inspect the belts and fan a few times every year. It is wise to conduct these inspections before drastic changes in weather occur. That way, if you encounter any problems, you can take action before you will really need your heating or air conditioning system. Clean the blades of your fans, and make sure to see if the motors are properly running. You can also lubricate the bearings, and inspect belts and bearings to see if they must be replaced. You should also ensure that the belts are properly aligned, so that the system will run properly.

Other important components to check on are the condenser and evaporator coils. It is recommended that you would do so several times per year. Coils can degrade over time from moisture and dirt, so you can take action by cleaning these coils. They can be difficult to clean properly, but keeping them free of molds and dirt is essential to maintaining a properly running system.

During your inspection, you should also be looking for leaks, check the air vents, and keep in mind air quality. If you see anything serious, or you are unsure of your findings, you should call in a professional to conduct a thorough inspection. Keeping a properly maintained HVAC system is important in keeping down your energy costs, maintaining healthy air quality, and keeping your space comfortable throughout the year. If you need repairs or a system replacement, you should call a reputable HVAC company in your area today.

Tips To Make Your HVAC System More Efficient

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If you are a homeowner, you understand the importance of maintaining an efficient heating and air conditioning system. Whether it’s the hottest summer months or the coldest part of wintertime, you need to be sure that your home is comfortable all year long, and protected from the elements. If you can never seem to maintain that ideal temperature in your home, you may have an inefficient HVAC system. A heating or air conditioning system that is not running properly can cost you thousands of dollars in energy costs every year, so here are a few tips to help make your HVAC system more efficient.

Changing your filters regularly is one of the simplest, cost effective ways to make sure your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible. General ongoing maintenance is essential to keeping your system efficient, and changing filters is an important component of that maintenance. You should also call a licensed contractor to perform seasonal tune-ups, but much of the work can be done yourself. Other than changing filters, you should regularly clean condenser coils, repair steam traps and valves, and inspect ducts for any damage or leaks.

If you have any outdated equipment, you may want to consider investing in replacements. Older equipment or HVAC components that are not properly installed can be the most obvious cause of your inefficiency. You should have a professional come out to your home to inspect the condition of your equipment. If you decide to get a new system installed, be sure to hire someone capable of performing the job as efficiently as possible. You may only require a few simple repairs to get your HVAC running efficiently again.

You can also install a few relatively inexpensive components to make your indoor space much more comfortable. For instance, ceiling fans can significantly reduce cooling costs. Fans can help to better circulate the air in your home while drastically cutting down on your monthly energy costs. They can also add a bit of style to any room. You can also have programmable thermostats installed in your home to give you more control over how your system works. While most standard thermostats allow users to manually control the temperature of the space, programmable thermostats give you more control. You can program the air to turn on or off at certain times of the day, so your system won’t be running when you don’t need it, and you won’t be needlessly overspending on your energy bills.

How To Lower Your Air Conditioning Costs

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Whether you live in the deep south or the northeast, you probably have to blast your air conditioning system all summer long to keep cool in your indoor space. Having a properly running AC is essential to staying cool and comfortable throughout the hottest months of summertime. Even if you have a top of the line, brand new efficient system, you energy costs can still be high. However, there are several simple steps that you can take right now to lower the cost of cooling your house.

In order to keep your energy costs down, efficiency is a key component of the process. The more inefficient your HVAC system is, the more money you are going to spend on your monthly bills. One of best ways to maintain an efficient air conditioning system is to regularly replace the filters. Dirty filters will decrease the airflow necessary to cool your home, causing your system to be far less efficient than necessary. Filters are inexpensive, and they should be checked monthly and changed at least once every few months.

Replacing your thermostats with programmable options is a great way to cut down your energy costs while keeping your home perfectly comfortable. While manual thermostats allow you to control the exact temperature in your space, automatic ones give you total control over your system. You can save by programming the thermostat to turn off the air conditioning when you won’t be home, and you can set it to turn back on an hour before you arrive.

If you have the opportunity to get a new system installed, look into energy efficient air conditioning systems. There are a variety of models on the market systems that are designed to use much less energy than other options. If you are outfitting your home with a new system, or you already have an inefficient system installed in your home, consider using a window unit. If your system seems to cool some rooms efficiently while leaving other parts of your house stuffy and hot, a window air conditioning unit can help to cool single rooms at a time. This way, you can conserve energy by not needlessly cooling rooms you are not occupying.

How to Lower Air Conditioning Costs

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Many people mistakenly think expensive air conditioning bills are simply a part of life. Summers can be quite long and uncomfortable, and there’s nothing like the feeling of a cool home. For those who live in warmer climates, it can require a good deal of energy to keep a property comfortable. However, there are many simple home improvement projects property owners can complete to get the most out of their HVAC equipment.

It all starts with proper maintenance. Your air conditioning equipment is a big investment, and you’ll need to make sure any routine maintenance needs are addressed. Instead of waiting until your AC malfunctions, have a dependable HVAC inspector look at your appliances to make sure everything is in good shape. Wear and tear is normal on air conditioning systems, but most small issues can be fixed with relative ease. If you haven’t had your AC inspected in some time, schedule an appointment. A contractor can see to it that your appliance is running at an optimal level.

Your air conditioning equipment will only perform at a high level if your property is well insulated. Heat tends to travel to cooler areas, and it’s important to insulate your house to keep stuffy outdoor temperatures from leaking inside. If you have an older property, you could probably benefit from new insulation. Today’s insulation products offer superior performance and can be the difference between a reasonable or expensive cooling bill. You’ll want to insulate walls, crawl spaces, and the attic, and a contractor can help you determine the type of insulation best suited for your property.

Windows and doors often have poor insulating properties, and they can allow a great deal of heat to pass into your home. To prevent this, you’ll want to seal any gaps and consider investing in energy efficient materials. Double-paned glass is vastly superior to single-paned glass, and it also has superior noise dampening qualities. If you don’t want to perform such an extensive renovation, consider improving the caulking and sealing around doors and windows. Window coverings are also quite helpful and can prevent direct sunlight from entering and warming your property.

As you can see, your air conditioning equipment isn’t the only thing that affects your property’s energy efficiency. By completing some of these simple improvements, you’ll reduce energy costs and make your property more environmentally friendly. These types of upgrades can add dramatic value to your home or business, and you may even recoup what you spend today on lower energy bills from this point forward. If you’re still unhappy with your property’s efficiency, it may be time to upgrade your AC. By investing in your HVAC equipment, you’ll be able to stay cool regardless of the temperature outside.

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