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.

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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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7 Ways to Save Energy When Driving on Your Next Vacation

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There’s still half of summer time left, and that means taking the whole family for a ride and going on vacation for many. Fortunately, gas prices are holding relatively in check at this point.

However, when you do go on vacation, you still want to be as energy-efficient as possible. Here’s how to do that when driving:

  1. Drive as Slow as Possible

We’re not saying you should be dangerous here. But, do drive right around the speed limit. Driving slower reduces your gas consumption, and it also decreases the likelihood and severity of an accident.

When you think about it, if you go 75 mph in a 65 mph speed limit, you only gain .16 miles for every minute on the road (versus someone going 65). For every hour, you get 10 more miles if you go 75 instead of 65. So is it really worth it to you to get there about 10 minutes earlier?

  1. Use Cruise Control As Often as Possible

The most fuel gets consumed when your vehicle accelerates. So, set your cruise control when you can. You also make your driving more predictable for other motorists.

  1. Avoid Traveling During Peak Times

You’ll get stuck on the road longer, have to start, stop, and accelerate more, and your chances of getting into an accident are much higher. Avoid traveling during the heaviest traffic flows if you can.

  1. Avoid Using the AC If Possible

This might send everyone in your family into a tizzy, so you’ll have to use it judiciously. Energy savings is important, but you do have to weigh that against how your family will react. Using your air conditioner increases fuel costs from 13-21%, so that’s a nice savings if you can shut it off.

  1. Take Only What You Need and Nothing More

A roof rack loaded down with stuff makes your vehicle use more fuel. If you can carry everything inside of your vehicle, do so. The best solution is to take as little as possible on your vacation.

  1. Perform the Necessary Maintenance

Either have a relationship with a mechanic you trust, or perform the maintenance outlined by the owner’s manual yourself. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Change the air filter. When you need new tires, have the same make and model placed on your vehicle that were there when it was new.

  1. Be Careful for Fuel Economy-Improving Devices

Both the EPA and the FTC have publicly stated none of these devices offer the fuel economy improvements promised. If you see them, don’t bother buying them.

So if you follow those seven tips, you’ll get pretty good fuel economy. Enjoy the savings!

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How to Stay Cool in the Texas Heat…Affordably

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Summer’s in full swing…we’ve hit those high-90 temperatures once again, with some days going over 100+. That can raise your energy costs quite a bit, so how do you keep those under control and yourself comfortable at the same time?

Here’s our tips:

  1. Pull the Blinds

The sun helps our plants grow, but when it comes to your personal comfort, it’s not your friend. By closing the blinds all day long, you keep your home cool naturally.

  1. If You Let the Kids Play With the Hose…

Ideally you don’t do this because it wastes a ton of water. But if you simply have to, make sure there’s some sort of device on the end (versus just letting them spray the hose however they want). At least this gets most of the water going where you want it to go, so you’re apt to use less than you would if there were no flow control device at all.

  1. Go Sightseeing

Yeah, this costs gas. But at least you don’t have to use any water or AC. And if you’re driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, you won’t use that much gas anyway.

  1. Turn Your AC Off If You have to Leave Your Home for More than 8 Hours

This is the rule of thumb. Ignore the myth that turning your AC system on and off repeatedly wastes more energy than leave it on all the time. If you’re not comfortable turning it off, at least set the programmable thermostat to 3-5 degrees higher than your normal temperature to save some energy.

  1. Only Turn Ceiling Fans on When You are in the Room with Them

You may have heard some talk about keeping ceiling fans on all the time to circulate air throughout your home and reduce the need for your AC. The truth is ceiling fans only help you feel cooler when you are actually in the room with them. Keeping them on when you are not in the room only costs you more energy and money.

  1. Shut Your Fireplace Damper During the Cooler Months

This is an easy one to forget. How would you actually be able to tell you had accidentally left this open? Unless you scrutinize your energy bill carefully, you’ll never notice. Make sure you check it if you haven’t already.

If you follow those tips, you’ll notice a nice dip in your monthly energy bills during these intensely hot summer months. What could your family do with the extra cash you save?

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6 Huge Energy Savings Misnomers for 2014

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When any mainstream movement quickly catches on in society, some misnomers come into play as well. There’s no doubt the green, energy-saving movement is a good one, but it has its own share of myths too.

If you are trying to do your part and save energy while also reducing your carbon footprint, you want to make sure that’s actually happening. Here are some energy savings myths to watch out for:

  1. Energy Star Appliances are Always the Best Choice

This is true in many cases, but you have to be very careful. You see, Energy Star is mostly based on the honor system. Companies monitor their products energy usage. In some cases, tests have shown the products actually use much more energy than stated on the labeling.

More often than not, you’ll be okay buying Energy Star products. But you do have to be careful.

  1. New Homes are Energy Efficient

The truth is new homes, on average, are more energy efficient than older ones. However, that doesn’t mean they are as energy efficient as they could be.

There’s often room for significant improvement. Some do get ENERGY STAR certified, but that’s just a small minority of new homes. Make sure the appliances, windows, siding, HVAC, and insulation are all as energy efficient as they can possibly be.

  1. Keeping Your Thermostat at a Constant Temperature Minimizes Energy Use

The truth is actually the reverse: it takes less energy to cool a warm room during the morning that it does to keep the temperature constant throughout the night. To maximize energy efficiency, remember setting the thermostat a few degrees higher during summer saves a significant amount of energy and money. Also, keep your blinds closed during the day to keep the heat out.

  1. Turning Lights/Appliances on Draws Extra Energy

The reverse is true. Your appliances do not use additional energy when powered on or off. If you don’t need your appliances or lights, turn them off. That way, you’ll experience true energy savings.

  1. A High-Efficiency AC System Instantly Saves Energy

It might, and it might not. The truth is the greatest impact on efficiency is having the right-sized AC system for your home. If it’s too large or small, it might kick in way too often, resulting in tons of lost energy.

  1. Installing Gaskets in Electrical Outlets Saves Energy

This one is actually partially true. However, studies have shown only about 1% of all air that leaks out of a home goes through your electrical outlets.

You can save energy this way, but it’s not a huge energy-saver..

Those are the biggest energy savings myths of 2014. There are many more. But if you start there, you can avoid the trap of believing you’re saving energy when in fact you’re not. As always, make sure you do your research first before implementing new energy savings measures.

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How to Save Water When Watering Your Lawn

With summer in full swing, you’ve probably already been watering the lawn for some time now. Have you thought about how to water it efficiently?
Take a look at a few ways you can do this:
1. Install a programmable sprinkler system.

These do cost a few thousand dollars to install. But once you have them set up and going, they keep your lawn green and healthy year round. Besides that, most contractors install them to be as water efficient as possible. Best of all, because they’re programmable, you don’t even have to think about how you’re using the water.

A green, healthy lawn? Water efficiency? Almost no work? Sounds like a good deal.
2. Water from 4-6 am.

This is the best time to water your lawn in Texas because the sun’s not so high that it evaporates 30-50% of your water. On the other hand, it’s not so low that the ground is cool and does not absorb moisture as well. This can lead to water pooling, which can cause the growth of fungus.

Yes, it’s early in the morning, but it is the best time to water your lawn.

3. Water only when your grass is too dry.

How do you know if your grass really needs water? Look at it closely.

It begins to take on a blue-gray tint, and the blades will start to curl and wilt. Step on your grass. If your footprint stays on longer than usual, it’s time to water.

4. Make sure your sprinklers cover the lawn.

Sounds simple, but think of how many homeowners you’ve seen who water the sidewalk and street. Make sure your sprinkler only hits the grass.

5. Stop watering if you see runoff.

If you notice water flowing off your grass and onto the sidewalk or street, it’s time to stop watering. If you routinely overwater, you can also cause obnoxious thatch to build up.

6. Install a rain sensor.

You don’t need to water your lawn if rain is expected to come that day or the next day. If you use a timer, this can be easy to forget.

Have a rain sensor installed instead. It’ll detect when there’s rain outside, and your sprinkler system will automatically stop watering your lawn.

7. Use a rain barrel.

It’s such a simple solution, but it works. What you do is make sure your gutters empty into your rain barrel. Then, you use the captured rain water to care for your lawn and garden.
So those are some pretty simple tips you can use to conserve water when caring for your lawn. Some cost more than others, while still others cost nothing at all.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be reducing your water usage, helping the environment, and saving some money.

For more ways to save 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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