The Spooktacular Halloween Energy Savings Guide

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Don’t let your energy bill give you a scare this year!!

It’s okay to have fun and use a little extra energy. But don’t drive yourself into financial difficulty while doing it!

Instead, follow these energy saving tips:

  1. Exorcise All Energy Vampires

Did you know your home is loaded with phantoms and vampires year round? No, not the kind you’re thinking of right now.

But, “Energy Vampires” are appliances and electronic that drain energy even when turned off or not in use. They cost you around $200 each year!

Unplug toasters, coffee makers, chargers, and televisions. Or, you can also get smart power strips that turn them off automatically.

  1. Use Candles Instead…But With Caution

You’re guaranteed your lights won’t cause fires, but candles can. Plus, they’re a little more authentic to the idea of Halloween. Blow them out at night.

Is that much work or does it make you worry? Use LED lights instead.

  1. Close Your Chimney Flue When Not in Use

Who knows? Witches, bats, or gargoyles could get in! Worse yet, they’ll bring with them lots of cold air.

Instead of letting all that come in and running up your energy bills, close your chimney flue when not in use.

And speaking of the chimney, you can also save yourself some energy by using a wood fire to heat your home from time to time.

  1. Use Outdoor Solar Lighting

Dracula hates the light! Keep him at bay with solar lighting. Oh, and if you go the solar route, you only use the sun’s energy to keep this lighting working too.

You can use it to light your pathways, hallways, or for security purposes, or on freestanding lamp posts.

  1. Install Low-Flow Water Fixtures

Some legends say water protects you from ghosts and witches. Don’t you remember how the Wicked Witch of the West met the end of her days when Dorothy splashed her?

Make sure you use your water as efficiently as possible by auditing all your spigots and faucets for efficient flow. The average home gets around 25-60% savings with low-flow fixtures.

  1. Keep Your Kids Safe

Many myths of old believe demons love to steal little children. Empower them – and show them how to stay safe with shakable flashlights.

No need to buy batteries anymore! And if you’re really obsessed with energy savings, get them shakable LED flashlights.

Have Fun this Halloween!

Above all, have an enjoyable (and safe) time with your family this Halloween. And teach them a little about energy savings at the same time!

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2014’s Greatest Furnace Buyer’s Guide: Part 2

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How much will a new furnace cost you, including installation?

That really depends on your unique circumstances. Furnaces are often sold through contractors and prices normally don’t include installation, so it’s hard to easily get accurate quotes.

However, you can try this online service. You can also contact local contractors and ask for bids.

If you can connect your furnace to your existing ductwork, costs run around $3,000 – $4,500 or so. If that won’t work, expect to pay more.

Here’s some of the top furnaces, as rated and reviewed by TopTenReviews.com:

  1. Amana AMVC95/ACVC9

This one has a 95 AFUE rating, make it one of the highest efficiency furnaces you can get. It has a patented dual-heat exchanger that draws the most heat out of the least gas. And the heat exchanger, the most critical part of your furnace, has a lifetime warranty.

Think of it this way: you stay warm without paying incredibly high energy bills!

  1. Bryant 315AAV

The benefit of this furnace is that it’s very small and works well for homes and condos around 1200 square feet. It also has a variable speed motor which uses less electricity (saving you more) and avoids huge temperature swings larger units may cause.

For milder winters and smaller homes, it’s the perfect match. It has an AFUE of 80% and saves you around $250 each year.

  1. Coleman MG9S100C20MP

Few furnaces are as compact and efficient at heating large spaces as the Coleman MG9S100C20MP. With an AFUE of 95.5, it’s hard to find any furnace that saves you more money.

It works well for heating homes 2000 square feet and larger. The Coleman moves air quickly throughout your home, which is what makes it so efficient. This also avoids large temperature swings.

It’s designed for natural gas, but easily converts to propane.

  1. Rheem Super Quiet 80

Shhh!

As its name suggests, the Rheem Super Quiet is designed to run in almost total silence. The case comes equipped with additional soundproofing to make life a little easier for you.

The top plate also has a more solid sound barrier for added silence. You also get a 5-year warranty on all parts and a 12-year warranty on the heat exchanger. It even has a control board that shows the source of system problems, making it easier and less costly for contractors to repair for you.

Enjoy Your More Energy Efficient (And Maybe Quieter) Winter!

Those are some of the top choices for furnaces. There’s plenty more available too, so don’t feel limited if you think none of these are a good fit.

For more tips to save money on heating and electricity, visit http://paylesspower.com. Offering cheap energy plans to suit both personal and business needs, Payless Power is a company committed to providing people not only with some of the best cheap electricity rates in Texas, but also with helpful customer service. Visit the website to learn more about how to save electricity at home, or connect with the online community on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Pinterest.

Contact Us and Start Saving!

We would love to hear from you! Contact our customer care center at (866) 963-9353 or fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
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2014’s Greatest Furnace Buyer’s Guide: Part 1

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Replacing your furnace isn’t something you want to think about, but you have to do it. It’s costly, although the long-term energy savings cancel out much of the cost in the long run.

Let’s start with a simple question: how do you know when it’s time to replace your furnace?

There’s no specific answer to your question. You should get 20-30 years out of most of today’s models. Once you hit the 15-year mark, that’s at least time to start thinking about replacing your furnace.

The EPA says the average new Energy Star gas furnace saves $94 in energy costs each year, while an oil furnace saves around $66. If you have extra money and love to be efficient, that’s another time to consider replacing your furnace.

Other key signs, according to home improvement expert Bob Vila:

  • Rooms in your home heat unevenly
  • You have humidity problems when you didn’t before
  • Your furnace rattles or makes other obnoxious noises
  • If you notice obvious rust around your furnace
  • If your energy bills increase even though usage stays the same

What Size Do You Need? 

Get a furnace that’s too large, and it wastes energy heating your home. If it’s too small, your home doesn’t heat up on those dreadfully cold days.

It’s really up to a professional to pick the right size for your home. Manufacturers make them in increments of 40,000, 50,000, 60,000, 80,000, and 100,000 – BTU capacities (and more).

Make sure your contractor uses the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual to properly size your furnace.

Electric Furnaces Versus Heat Pumps

Now electric furnaces can be greatly efficient. The thing is electricity is much more expensive than any fossil fuel, so you’ll end up paying more for energy anyway.

If you simply have to use electric, get a heat pump instead.

How is Efficiency Measured? 

For furnaces, the key metric is the AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating. All new furnaces must post this rating, and you usually see it on a big yellow label on the side of the furnace.

AFUE ratings range from 80 – 98.5%. The percentage is the ratio of the fuel available that’s converted to heat.

You should get a furnace with an energy efficiency rating of 90% or more – called a “high-efficiency” furnace. In Texas, where our winter isn’t brutally cold like it is in the Northern states, don’t worry about spending big dollars on the highest efficiency furnaces. If you do live in Northern States, the higher efficiencies of 95-98.2% make more sense.

Well, that’s it for now – stay tuned for part 2, where we cover some other tips and top brands!

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How to Reduce Moisture and Humidity in Your Home

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Yes, higher humidity does decrease your energy efficiency. It makes the air inside your home warmer, and your HVAC is going to have to cool it down.

Now, moisture can be very tricky. If a certain room in your home has a specific spot that’s moist, you’re probably dealing with a leak. Those are tough to find because water can hang to joists and pipes and run a long ways from the true source of the leak.

But if it’s a whole room that’s affected, or even just an entire wall, then you’re most likely looking at a humidity problem.

For leaks, you’re probably best off having a professional take care of the repair.

But you can reduce humidity on your own.

How to Combat Indoor Humidity

When moisture sneaks its way into your home, that causes a rise in humidity levels.

So, the first step is to make sure you take every measure possible to prevent moisture from entering your home.

  1. Prevention Steps

If you have a crawl space with a dirt floor, cover it with a polyethylene ground cover. Make sure you have dry soil and no standing water in the area. Use fans, if you need to, to help you dry out the area.

Make sure your dryer duct vents directly outside. If it doesn’t do that, you actually have a dangerous situation that can cause a fire and also causes high humidity.

  1. Run Exhaust Fans

The kitchen and bathroom fans are there for a reason – to help let out obnoxious odors and excess humidity.

Did you know if left in a room for 24-48 hours, humidity levels above 55% can cause mold and bacteria to grow? That’s just another reason to keep it in check.

Run your exhaust fans whenever you have to cook or take a shower to keep that excess moisture out.

  1. Use a Dehumidifier 

If your indoor humidity levels like to hover at 65% or more, then it’s time to buy a dehumidifier. A portable one will do the job, but you can buy a whole-home dehumidifier if you have the budget available.

  1. Grow Plants that Absorb Air Moisture

Some plants, like Boston ferns, remove moisture from the air. Not only are you reducing your humidity levels and energy consumption, but you’re helping the environment by removing more carbon dioxide and adding more oxygen too!

  1. Don’t Boil Water on Especially Humid Days

Some of that boiled water turns into steam, which then gets absorbed into the rest of your home’s air. If it’s really humid outside, some of that will get into your home no matter how hard you try. Don’t increase your humidity levels even further by boiling water!

Reducing humidity is probably one of the lesser-known energy efficiency tips. But your energy bills, and maybe your health, will thank you for it.

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How to Prep Your Home for Winter Energy Savings

Is it really time to start thinking about winter again? It is!

And the earlier you get prepared, the more you’ll save.

You only have a limited amount of time though, so here are some of the top things you should do:

  1. Get a Tight Air Envelope

Energy Impact Illinois says you can lose up to 35% of your air outside if you do nothing at all. The good news is it’s actually pretty easy to find leaks.

All you do is light a candle. As you move it around areas of your home where seals are made, you’ll notice it flickering. That means you have a breeze in those areas.

Make sure you check places like your window and door frames, dryer vents, baseboards, any areas around window AC units, and seal them off.

  1. Insulate Your Attic

If you have an older home, this could be your most significant cost and energy savings source. What you need is enough insulation to reach up to the top of the joists in your attic. It costs between $500 – $1000 for the typical home.

  1. When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Ductwork?

If your ductwork is old, the seals around it may have deteriorated to the point where they leak. Energy Star says you can lose up to 20% of your heat because of this.

You’ll have to hire a pro to check the ductwork in your walls. But you can look at the ductwork that’s exposed. To guarantee leaking doesn’t happen:

  • Buy HVAC foil tape (not duct tape – it doesn’t seal as well), and wrap it around all joints you can see
  • Patch holes with a fiberglass weave, and seal those with a mastic air duct sealant
  1. Close Off that Attic

If you have pull-down stairs, you can buy an “attic tent.” It does cost at least $200 or so though. You could also go the cheaper route, which involves buying foam installation pads ($7), attaching them to the back of the hatch, and then applying weather stripping tape ($3) along the edges of your attic panel.

  1. Have a Professional HVAC Inspection

You should do this before winter and summer. HVAC pros can not only get you fine-tuned for energy efficiency, but they can perform preventative maintenance that saves you on future repairs too. It’s well worth the minimal investment you pay.

Good Luck This Winter!

Hopefully it’s not too rough for you – but at least you know these tips will help make your energy bills more affordable.

For more tips on saving money and electricity, visit http://paylesspower.com. Offering cheap energy plans to suit both personal and business needs, Payless Power is a company committed to providing people not only with some of the best cheap electricity rates in Texas, but also with helpful customer service. Visit the website to learn more about how to save electricity at home, or connect with the online community on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Pinterest.

Contact Us and Start Saving!

We would love to hear from you! Contact our customer care center at (866) 963-9353 or fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
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Save Energy with These School Supplies

It’s not all about your home when it comes to saving energy. The best way to save energy long-term is to teach the current generation the value of it and how to do it.

So check out this list of cool supplies that make saving energy a blast for the younger people in your life:

  1. Bedol’s Water-Powered Alarm Clock

It doesn’t use one bit of electricity. All that’s used is water – and that’s it. It’s cheap (just $19). All you have to do is fill the tank with water, and then it keeps the time with incredible accuracy for 8-12 weeks.

There’s even a built-in memory chip, so that when you change the water, your time will still be spot-on.

  1. Laptop Lunch Bento Boxes

Do you like to use plastic or paper bags for your lunch? Not only is disposing of them all the time damaging to the environment, but it’s costly for your budget too.

These particular lunch boxes are made from recyclable materials. And if you have a business-oriented mind, they pay for themselves in under 3 weeks.

These lunchboxes don’t let all your food heap together – they have separate compartments to keep everything apart.

  1. The Eco Staple-Free Stapler

Can a stapler really be staple-free? It can now with this stapler. Rather than using metal staples which end up in our nation’s landfills, it cuts a thin paper strip that it uses to stitch paper together. It can handle up to four pages. You and your children also won’t get injured if you accidentally “staple” your fingers.

  1. Vampire Proof Chargers

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Remember how vampire energy loss is when you have a fully charged device, or it’s disconnected from the charger – but the charger keeps using energy? This charger completely eliminates that. Now you don’t have to remember to plug into a power strip and turn the whole thing off.

  1. Array Solar Backpacks

What could you possibly need with a solar backpack? Set it in the sun for a few hours and you can use the energy to charge your smartphone, tablet PC, or laptop.

Who’d Have Thought Saving Energy Could be So Fun?

All of these tips are a blast to implement in your (or your child’s) life. Consider how you can teach your children to save energy with them, and make sure you browse the internet for more fun and novel ideas.

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If Everyone Saved Energy This Way…

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You know all those little things you do to save energy, like turning the lights off when you’re not going to be in the room for the rest of the day?

Not all people do that. But if they did, our nation as a whole would save billions of dollars and reduce its carbon footprint. And we’d all still be able to live comfortable lives, without having to make ourselves miserable just to save energy.

In fact, a report by McKinsey & Company says we could reduce our energy consumption by 23% and eliminate $130 billion in wasted funds by 2020 just by taking some simple, practical steps.

To put it in perspective, $130 billion would rank as the 37th largest corporation in America, just a couple spots ahead of AT&T. So that’s a pretty significant amount of waste we’re talking about here.

What are some of the easy ways to save energy that everyone, maybe even you, should be doing to make a difference?

Here are a few:

  • Residential landlords could install newer air conditioners for their tenants
  • New homeowners don’t ask about the R-value of the home’s insulation
  • Many people won’t pay new money for a washer or dryer because the savings are long-term, not immediate
  • Consumers should check their tires every 3 months to ensure they are properly inflated
  • HVAC air filters should be replaced regularly
  • Clothes should be washed in cold water whenever possible
  • Use public transportation whenever possible, or carpool and find other ways of limiting your drive time
  • Recycle all your plastic and aluminum waste
  • Avoid driving your vehicle roughly – braking fast, accelerating hard, making quick lane changes, not using cruise control
  • Your clothes dryer most likely wastes energy because energy efficiency standards for it have not been updated for more than 30 years

Why Don’t More People Make These Changes?

The McKinsey report adds that efficiency is fragmented millions and billions of different, small ways. To realize energy savings, people in most cases would have to make a financial investment that pays itself back slowly over time. And the savings any one individual realizes for themselves generally aren’t that significant.

So, to make the change happen, you really have to think beyond yourself and of the world at large.

Regardless of how you choose to save energy, it will come back to you in some way, shape, or form. But more importantly, you’ll be doing your part to reduce our nation’s problem with wasting energy.

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7 Fun Ways to Save Energy

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We humans are creatures of habit – and that’s a good thing most of the time. But then sometimes, you get stuck in a rut doing the same old stuff.

So let’s shake things up a little and use these fun ways to save energy:

  1. Go for a walk instead of watching TV. What do you do most of the time just after you have supper? Usually you turn on the television.

Give it a break and connect with your family, friends, and neighbors instead.

  1. Schedule your own power outage. What would you do if the power suddenly went out for 4-6 hours? Pretend that actually is happening to you.

Play board games with your family, hide’n’seek with the children, or whatever fun activities come to mind.

  1. Work from home. It costs less energy to just use electricity to work from home than it does to commute back-and-forth for most workers. Talk to your boss about doing a 4-week trial to see how it goes – and make sure you do your very best, most productive work.
  1. Have a raw food competition. Now this is very interesting. Organize the event with your friends and neighbors. The idea is that everyone makes their own meals without using any appliances. Give the winner a prize – or just the satisfaction that they know they’ve made the best dish.
  1. Get together with others to watch your favorite TV shows. Do your neighbors watch the exact same thing you do at the same time? Save energy weekly by watching the show together. You’ll have more fun too because everyone catches different things from the same show.
  1. Frost your own windows. Follow this handy-dandy DIY guide to frosting your windows. It blocks out the sunlight so your home isn’t heated and uses less air conditioning. Your room will also stay warmer in the winter.
  1. Make your own AC unit. Now here’s the thing – you don’t have to be MacGyver (points to you if you get the reference there) to make it happen. All you need is an investment of $30, a fan, a bucket, and a few hours to make your own AC system. Check out this YouTube video to see how it’s done.

It’s Time to Switch it Up (And Off)!

Have more fun in life – you’ll save more energy when it’s fun, and hey, you’ll take some stress off your shoulders too!

 

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7 Surprising Energy Savings Tips

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Okay – so you think you’re the most energy-efficient homeowner there is? Before you go stroking your ego about your environmental friendliness, make sure you’ve used these tips:

  1. Use a Rain Barrel to Collect Water

An inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof gives you 600, yes 600, gallons of water! You can water your entire yard and garden for free by collecting this water in a rain barrel. In fact, you could fill several rain barrels if you really wanted to.

Just make sure you install your rain barrel correctly.

  1. Stay Married

Who’d have thought marriage is more environmentally friendly? Think of it this way: if you two split up, you’d each need your own place to live. Michigan State researchers have found that divorced families add about 6,000 pounds more of carbon dioxide per year.

Keep your spouse happy!

  1. Pack Your Fridge & Freezer Tightly

Think of it this way: the more available space they have inside, the more cool air sits in until you open the door. Then all that warm air from the kitchen rushes in to take its place. Do this for both your fridge and freezer.

  1. Eat All-Local Meals

Now you personally won’t experience direct energy savings from this. But, think of all the energy it takes to process the food you eat, ship it, and then keep some of it cool at the store.

Buy from your local farmer’s market, and not only do you save energy, but you support the local economy too!

  1. Stop Doing Your Dishes by Hand…

Okay, so almost everyone has a dishwasher. But here’s the thing most are missing: pre-rinsing costs you up to 20 gallons of heated water per day. And make sure you only wash with full loads.

Those energy savings add up quite nicely at the end of the year.

  1. Buy a Halogen Oven

You can roast a chicken in 30 minutes! These ovens not only heat things up faster, but they use 75% less energy than conventional electric ovens.

  1. Seal Your Home from Drafts

Leaks underneath your doors and around windows and attic doors actually add up to a significant amount of energy wasted each year. Make sure you have a tightly sealed home “envelope,” as the professionals say.

Did You Know All Those Tips?

A couple you might have, but most of these are fairly obscure. Which can you implement today to reduce the energy you consume?

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8 Creative Energy Savings Tips

Whoever said artists get to have all the creativity was wrong. You can have it too when you save energy each day.

With that in mind, check out these creative ways you and your family can save energy:

  1. Put Frozen Food in Your Refrigerator the Night Before

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If you can think ahead a little, take that steak out of the freezer and place it in your fridge. That way, you won’t need to use energy defrosting it.

  1. Exercise When You Feel Cold

Instead of turning up the thermostat, save energy and improve your health by exercising instead. Long-term, exercise also helps improve your circulation, so you’ll stay warmer.

  1. Use Your Microwave

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t quite as creative as you’d expect. But, using your microwave cuts down on the amount of time and energy conventional stoves use to cook. So when you can, use that microwave.

  1. Have a Raw Food Competition

Do it with your family, friends, or neighbors. The idea is simple: see who can make the best meal without using a single electric appliance.

  1. Have a Family Dinner in the Dark

Turn off every single light, and use a candle to illuminate the dining room. Just be careful with it so you don’t start a fire. The kids’ll think it’s a blast, and you’ll save energy by not having any lights on. Oh, and make sure you use the microwave to do your cooking too!

  1. Take Boiling Water on Your Stove to a Whole New Level

The fastest and most energy-efficient way to boil water is to use a kettle. Also, make sure you only boil the amount of water you actually need to use. Note that you can lose a ton of heat when using kettles and pots that do not cover the entire burner. If you do have to boil something, use pots and kettles that cover the burner fully.

  1. Examine Your Cookware

Always buy copper-bottomed pots and pans, and make sure you use ceramic cookware in your oven. Make sure the bottom of your cookware is flat and stays in contact with each burner/heating element. If that’s not the case, you lose about 50% of the heat.

  1. Fridges – The Silent Energy Suckers

Adjust the thermostat to the season. To determine your energy-efficient setting, put a thermometer inside of a jar of water in the fridge overnight. In the morning, it should read between 34 and 41 Fahrenheit. If your fridge isn’t full, fill the empty areas with jugs or bottles filled with water. This helps keep the temperature down.

So Really…

We actually gave you more than 8 tips…lucky you! Which are you going to add to your routine today?

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