Summer Energy Saving Tips

Cheap-ElectricityIt’s important to keep your AC in peak condition and use all methods available to make its use energy efficient. Climate control accounts for about half of your home’s energy use, and carefully managing it can reduce your energy bills. All of the hot summer days and frequent energy use can make your energy bill skyrocket, even if you already have cheap electricity. We’ll share some tips to help you improve your AC’s efficiency.

 

Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat in your home can make climate control much more streamlined and energy efficient. No one wants to come home from work to a hot house, but leaving the AC on all day will jack up the cost of cooling. The solution is to install a programmable thermostat. These devices allow you to set the times of day you want your air conditioning or heat to run. They can tell the system to remain off while you are at work, but start cooling your home just before you get back home. They can also shut the system off at night, allowing you to take advantage of cooler night air outside. For the times you want the system to be off, set it just a few degrees above your preferred temperature. It may kick on while you’re away, but it is actually more cost effective than shutting it down entirely.

 

Tune Ups

Like cars, ACs need a tune up. Tune ups should be conducted by professionally trained technicians in the spring, before things really heat up. Tune ups include cleaning the filters and condenser coils and recharging the refrigerant. Even after the tune up, you should clean the filters every month to ensure smooth operation. Check the condensers outside your home to make sure pollen from trees are not dirtying them up.

 

Sunlight

Closing blinds or curtains in your home to reflect back sunlight will keep the temperature lower in your home. Alternatively, you can have a special film applied to your windows to get all the natural light without the solar gain. Planting trees along the east, north, and west sides of your home will also shade your home from sunlight, reducing solar heat gain drastically.

 

Circulation

Running your fans in conjunction with your AC can allow you to raise the thermostat a few degrees while keeping cool. Fans blowing on you cause the wind chill effect, which makes you feel cooler.

 

            Upgrades and Maintenance

            Upgrading the insulation in your home to R-49 will reduce the amount of heat build up in your attic, while adding better ventilation to your attic will cool it more effectively. Used together, you can really reduce the amount of heat entering your home via the attic. Seal up any air leaks in your AC’s ventilation ducts and around any doors or windows. Even small gaps can cost you big money because your climate controlled air is escaping while uncomfortable air comes in. This causes your equipment to work longer than necessary to cool your home.

Moving into a New Home made Simple

Cheap-ElectricityThe prospect of moving can be both exciting and scary, depending on the reasons for moving. The actual act of moving, however, can be downright frustrating, though. Going through all of the things you’ve collected over the years, deciding whether to pack it or pitch it, and if you decide to pack it, where to put it. As you sort through your items, you may relive memories associated with your former home or a particular item. This can make the actual move more difficult and could very well end up taking up more valuable space than you will have available at your new home.

Technology has come a long way over the years, and we can now store thousands of books in a single tablet reader. Consider this as an alternative to moving boxes of books to your new home. If you find you have books you’ve not read in a while, donate them to a library, school, or book fair to reduce the number of boxes travelling with you. It’s all the better if the books you were going to pack are available on an e-reader. E-readers and tablets are also excellent ways to store personal records as well, and MP3 players can take the place of hundreds of CDs worth of music.

Hosting a sale will not only reduce the amount of items you need to bring with you, it will also net you some extra cash for the move. You can also use websites like eBay, Craigslist, and even Facebook to help sell off larger items like bureaus, beds, and tables. Getting rid of items with a sentimental value is never easy, but if including them in a yard sale is not your preferred solution, see if a friend is in need of whatever the item is. Look at the items you are packing and go through a mental checklist of when it was last used, how often it is used, how valuable it is physically and sentimentally, and if you really think you’ll need it in your new home. If you want to part with it but not fully, see if a family member can take it for you or donate it to a church. Another option is to photograph the item, so you always have a memento of it, without the consumed space.

After you have completed your move and begin unpacking, repeat the process for the items you unpack. Run through the mental checklist of how often you use the item and whether it holds value in your new surroundings. If not, perhaps it is time to let go. Condensing your possessions down can actually reinvigorate you, in an “out with the old, in with the new” kind of way. Maybe with all the money you make from a yard sale, you can treat yourself to a new item that can be the foundation of many new memories in your new home.

Solar Energy Facts

Cheap-ElectricitySolar energy is actually the most abundant form of energy on our planet. Not only can we get energy from absorbing sunlight, but we can also get energy from harnessing the wind, which is powered by the sun. If we could harness all of the solar energy hitting our planet, we would have 10,000 times the amount of energy we would need to supply all of the Earth’s power needs. That’s equal to 173,000 terawatts (that’s 173 BILLION megawatts) hitting the planet every minute.

We as a species have been harnessing solar power indirectly for centuries using windmills. But it wasn’t until 1954 that we were able to directly harness the sun’s rays and use them to generate electricity. Bell Laboratories constructed the first silicon solar cell in 1954 and the New York Times heralded it as “the beginning of a new era . . . the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.” In the 1960s, as the space age was dawning, the space industry began integrating solar technology into its designs seeing that it would be the most effective way to generate electricity while out in space. In fact, the Vanguard 1 is the first and oldest man-made, solar powered satellite still in orbit of Earth.

The United States is on track to become the fourth largest solar market in the world. In the first quarter of 2012, solar energy development increased by 85% over the previous year, and continued developments are likely to put the nation well ahead in the solar energy game. Part of the reason for the increase is the continually falling prices for solar energy. Beyond local grid energy production, solar energy has become more affordable for homes and businesses as well. Unfortunately, in addition to the cost of solarizing a home, there are costs for permits to construct the panels and integrate them with systems. However, the Department of Energy uses the SunShot Initiative to lower these extra costs in an attempt to make solar power more attractive.

California is currently constructing what will become the world’s largest solar energy project. Using thermal energy technology, the massive array of 350,000 mirrors will concentrate the sun’s light on to a boiler at the top of a tower in the center of the array. In this boiler, water will quickly turn to steam and that steam will spin turbines,providing 140,000 homes with cheap electricity. The best part about this project is that the energy will be clean and renewable. After the steam has completed its task of spinning the turbine, it will condense back into water and repeat the process.

Don’t Let the Summer Heat Keep you Inside

Most of us like to stay inside during the summer and soak up all the AC that we can. Sometimes that means if we go out, we go to a restaurant or a theater just to stay out of the heat. Other times, we may go out only to soak in a pool. But if you want to get outside and enjoy the summer, follow these simple tips to keep yourself healthy.

 

Liquids

Drink lots and lots of water. This is really a good tip year round, but it’s especially important for the summer. Dehydration is a serious problem and it is the number 1 cause of heat related illnesses. It can have several different symptoms, such as headaches, increased thirst, and confusion, but these can be avoided simply by bringing some water along with you while you’re out in the heat of the day. Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine because they both cause increased frequency of urination. This means that they can actually cause you to become dehydrated. If you’re not a fan of drinking straight water, try adding some fruit to flavor it or try an alternative like decaffeinated tea or a sports drink.

 

Temperatures

Don’t stay outside during the hottest hours of the day, usually around midday to early afternoon, especially if you have children. Being outside at these times will increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated, so stay inside and soak up some AC. Plan outdoor activities for the morning or late afternoon to avoid the sweltering temperatures.

 

Dress Code

Wear light, reflective clothing while outside. The brighter the color, the more sunlight you will reflect, so a white t-shirt and beige shorts will be much cooler than wearing all black, no matter how punk rock you think you look in it. Make sure the clothing is lightweight, too. As you sweat, your clothes will absorb that sweat and become even heavier. Apply sunscreen to any areas of exposed skin, including your face and head (for those of us with very little hair). Wear a hat to help shade your face, if you like.

 

Limitations

If you are feeling like you’re overheating, mist yourself with some water to help cool yourself down. If you’re still overheating, take a break. Mowing the lawn or tending to the garden can wait until you’ve sufficiently cooled down by soaking up some more AC. Remember to keep drinking water and be sure to have extra around while you’re out, but don’t feel like just because you’re misting yourself down and drinking plenty of water that you’re totally safe in the heat. Know your limits and adhere to them. It will keep you healthy in the long run.

 

Spending all that time outside can have an added benefit beyond staying active. While you’re out, you can adjust the temperatures inside your home to be higher than you would normally set it were you inside all day. This way, you can save some electricity while you are outside, and when you come back inside, your home will still feel much cooler than it feels outside. Combine this savings with the savings you could have by switching to a provider that offers cheap electricity, and you have the power to choose a summer that is filled with fun activities, cool homes, and electricity freedom.

Wind Energy Benefits and Disadvantages

Cheap-ElectricityOne of the fastest growing sectors of renewable energy is wind power. Wind energy has been harnessed for many centuries. It has been used to mash grain to make flour, pump water, and more recently, generate electricity. When wind spins the blades of a wind turbine, a large magnet inside the top part of the tower spins inside of a cylinder of copper coils. The magnet passing by these coils generates an electric charge which is transmitted over power lines to the local energy grid. The primary benefit of wind energy is low cost renewable energy, but there is a little more to it than just that.

Wind energy is a true green energy source. Wind is powered by the sun, and generating electricity from wind emits no harmful pollutants into the environment. There is no consumable fuel source like coal or gas to use up, making wind power a renewable source of energy. Renewable energy means that the electricity generation can be sustained for very long period of time. While current estimates say that our oil and gas reserves will last about a hundred years or so, wind energy will be around long after that. Generating electricity from wind is really quite cheap, about four to six cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). They are primarily built in remote areas where winds tend to me the most consistent. You can see wind farms lining ridgelines, dotting the landscapes of plains or farms, or in some other countries, offshore.

That said, planning where to place wind turbines can be a challenge sometimes. Since most wind farm sites are in remote areas, extra infrastructure needs to be added to get the generated electricity to the grid that needs it. This means running long power transmission lines. Sites also need to be fairly consistent with the available wind. An area that gets very little wind will not be cost effective. Similarly, if winds are often too strong, the site will not be viable due to the risk of damaging the machinery. If a potential site for wind turbines has potential for other uses, the landowners will be taking other bids into consideration, thus determining what actual gets implemented.

While wind electricity generation emits no pollutants, it can still have an effect on the environment. There have been reports of increased bird deaths in locations where wind farms exist. However, the number of bird deaths per year is almost inconsequential compared to the number killed from catastrophic pollution disasters, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Noise pollution could be considered a problem for wind sites close to residential areas. The rotation of the rotor blades causes a constant whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sound that some residents may find bothersome. Others may not care for the sight of wind farms, claiming it taints their view.

All in all, wind energy has major benefits when it comes to generating cheap electricity, bolstering the economy, and cleaning up the environment. The challenges facing developers are reduced as technology improves. Newer turbines are quieter, for example. The Department of Energy wants to have 20% of the country’s energy produced by wind by the year 2030. This will expand manufacturing jobs, generate local revenue, conserve water, and even lower natural gas prices. If you want to be part of the wind movement, contact Shop Dallas Electricity today and find a Dallas energy provider that offers renewable energy you have the power to choose your own provider and energy plan, so you can seek out the cheapest electricity rates with the best benefits.