The Latest Appliances That Can Save You Energy

There are a lot of our home appliances that run on electricity. We use these every day, some more than others and some of these appliances are on all day. Washing machines, dish washers, microwaves, air conditioners, computers, water heaters, ovens, blenders, refrigerators, toasters, coffee makers and the list just goes on. Paying the bill at the end of the month is something that nobody looks forward too. All these appliances are necessary for everyday use and it is unrealistic to stop using them to bring down your bills. This is where energy efficient appliances come in.

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances like washing machines and refrigerators are 20% more energy efficient than standard models. When shopping for home appliances, be sure to look for the blue energy star sticker on any model that you shortlist. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers use less than 6 gallons (1-2) of water per cycle as opposed to other dishwashers that use 10.

energy star

Refrigerators with attached freezers use up more energy because inside the refrigerator, the air needs to circulate while freezers require the air to stay just the way it is. Buying a separate freezer (ENERGY STAR qualified of course) will help you save energy. Bigger freezers require more energy, so unless you really need a big one, buy a size that works for you. Chest freezers are a lot more energy efficient than upright ones because they allow less air to escape when they are opened.

How you use your appliances also plays a big role in how much energy you can save. Only using your washing machine or dishwasher on a full load, and letting your clothes and dishes air dry will save an incredible amount of energy. Making sure that the doors and windows are properly shut with the curtains drawn before you turn on your air conditioner will also prevent energy from being wasted.

Buying energy efficient appliances is not enough. If you are truly concerned about how much energy is wasted, you must be careful when you use each appliance to further save energy. So, don’t stand in front of the open kitchen door for ages trying to decide what you want from it. Don’t go in and out of a room where the AC is on unless you absolutely have to. And most of all, don’t leave the water heater on after the red light goes off because that means your water is hot and leaving it on any longer than necessary just means that energy is being wasted. 

Advertisements
Standard

Different Types of Exterior Doors

I have always stared in awe at these huge mansions with the most amazing doors. They look so antique and fancy at the same time. Of course they would look ridiculous on a home that was not a mansion. But there are some pretty amazing options even for us regular people who want to replace our exterior doors.

Single Doors

Image

If you think that your house would look best with a single door then you can consider this as an option. Once you have decided on single doors you then have to choose whether you want it to be wooden, or a combination of wrought iron and frosted glass, or a combination of wood, iron and glass. No matter what you choose, single doors give the feeling of a warm and cozy home on the inside.

Double Doors

For those who have more space in their door frame, double doors are a good option. They also make things a lot easier when trying to move furniture into the house. You also have the option of using only one door and only opening the other one when necessary. Again for double doors, you can choose all sorts of combinations with different materials like wood, glass and wrought iron.Image

Sliding Doors

Image

Sliding doors are great for the entrance into the garden or the back yard. Glass sliding doors give you an advantage when you are trying to keep an eye on the kids while also working at the same time. They block out most of the noise and disturbance but they allow you complete visibility in case one of the kids hurts themselves or any other situation arises. For children who aren’t tall enough to reach door knobs, sliding doors are a lot easier to open. Glass sliding doors also allow for plenty of daylight to come into the house and they also give the house a futuristic look.

 

Whichever style you choose, all doors can be made energy efficient. And what’s more, if you replace your old doors with new energy efficient ones, it can qualify as a tax deduction on your income tax. You can try Champion Window and Doors for a large variety of energy efficient doors.

Standard

Few benefits of double hung window

One of the traditional styles of windows still used commonly is the double hung window. It looks equally good in a modern style or a traditional home. A double hung window has a two sashes, upper and lower sliding one over the other. You can either open one sash or both sashes at the same time. If you open both the sashes, the maximum open space would be half the size of the window .Double hung window has many benefits. Let us have a look at them.

Imagec

Ventilation:  These windows provide great ventilation. Opening the top sash only helps in good cross ventilation. Keeping both sashes open, ventilation can also be controlled by letting the warm, stale air out from top and letting in cool fresh air from bottom.

Ease of cleaning:  They are easy to clean. They can be cleaned from inside as they can be tilted and rotated inside.

Safety:  They don’t project out and are safe especially for children. Unlike single hung windows, there is no fear of children falling out as you can keep only half the window open. Half screens or full screens can also be installed with these windows either on the inside or outside for additional safety and to keep pests out. A key stop lock also can be put on the window to avoid it being opened after a certain point.  A lock mechanism can help keep thieves and intruders out.

Space saving:  Since these windows slide instead of opening inwards or outwards, they need no extra space for smooth operation.

Versatility: Available in wood, metal or vinyl and in various styles, sizes and colors, they suit any architectural type of home, whether modern or traditional and can be installed either as a single window or in groups. They can be easily installed just like any other replacement window.

Energy efficient:  These windows nowadays come with double pane glass and with proper sealing and installation can be quite energy efficient. You might want to check out reviews of Champion Window and Doors.  Their Comfort365 glass is Energy Star rated and will optimize savings in your utility bills. While letting in maximum light, it blocks out harmful UV rays of the sun. 

Available either with solid glass pane or grid options, double hung windows, let in more light and air. They also provide a good outside view. When it comes to buying new windows or replacement windows, double hung windows have a lot of advantages over single hung windows. Because of their versatility, ease of maintenance and energy efficiency, this type of windows are becoming popular.

But whichever type or style of windows you choose let them be energy efficient. In this age of energy crisis and environment pollution, every step taken by each individual would make a difference. Replacing windows is also a big investment you make. If you install energy efficient windows, you will get returns in terms of savings in energy bills too in the long run. And not to forget- you will have a comfortable, healthy home.

Standard

Types of patio doors

If you want to add style to your home and give it a fresh new look, adding a patio door is a great option. Patio doors bring in lot of light in and make your home look spacious. With glass panes from the floor to almost ceiling height, they give you a great view of the outside. Patios off the dining room or kitchen can be turned into entertaining and eating spots. Patio doors can also be used an extra entrance/exit point.

Image

Patio doors come in three main types -sliding/gliding, folding and hinged. The type you choose will depend on the style of your home, space , your preference and  budget.

Sliding doors are generally chosen to save space which hinged doors need for opening inward or outward. If your room is small and you have to use the space to arrange furniture, sliding doors are the best option. Made mostly of glass, they let in more light then hinged doors.

Hinged doors either open outwards of inwards -hinged on each side jamb with the panels meeting in the centre when they close. Sometimes, they can have a centre hinge with the panels opening out like a butterfly. The most common type of hinged doors are French doors.

Folding Doors also known as accordion doors are also space efficient and generally used in regions with warmer climate.

The material you choose for the door is also important. It should suit the architectural style and feel of your home and also be energy efficient. Patio doors are available in wood, aluminum, vinyl, steel and fiberglass. Wood, no doubt gives the elegant, classy look and is also a good natural insulator. It needs proper maintenance to retain its look. Aluminum is light weight, durable and needs least maintenance but lacks energy efficiency. Fiberglass another option is very strong, durable and environmental friendly. Modern fiberglass doors are available with a look resembling real wood while eliminating all the disadvantages of wood. However both wood and fiberglass are on the costlier side. Vinyl is energy efficient, needs least maintenance and is also inexpensive.

Another important component of patio doors is the glass used.  Clear glass or decorative etched glass in different patterns is available to suit your home. Buy doors with low e glass to let in maximum light and block harmful UV rays. The glass can be double or triple pane and argon enhanced to improve the insulation and make the door energy efficient. Installing the door properly with good weather stripping and sealing to avoid any leakage/ infiltration is paramount. With increasing energy costs and impending energy crisis, it is our responsibility to look for energy efficiency in all products we buy.

Buy Energy star rated patio doors to ensure this and get the doors installed preferably from professionals to get the best performance, like Champion Window and Doors. Check out a few Champion Window reviews and make sure for yourself that they have a good reputation. It’s always a good idea to compare prices, quality of products, and installation warranties with other contractors in your area.

Standard

Get Smart – Improve the Energy Efficiency of your Home.

All of us long for a comfortable home, a home to relax in peace after a day’s hard work. We naturally buy all the electrical appliances to make work easier and less time consuming. What we may not think about however, is the energy consumed by all these appliances resulting in high energy bills. So how do we manage to have a comfortable home and still save money?

The solution is to be responsible and make your homes energy efficient by following some smart simple steps.

176

Energy Audit: Get a home energy audit done from a professional Home energy auditor to assess carefully how much energy is used and how much is wasted. By analyzing your energy bills and thoroughly inspecting your home, he will guide you in all the things you need to do, to make your home energy efficient. You can save about 5 to 30 % of your energy bill by taking the necessary measures suggested by him.

Unplug devices: The most common cause of energy wastage is keeping appliances in a standby mode or not unplugging them when not in use. This negligence costs a U.S household approximately $ 100 a year. So make sure you unplug the devices.

 Programmable thermostat: Installing a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature as and when needed will save almost 10 percent a year on the cost of heating and cooling.

Home’s appliances and electronics: Almost 20 % of the home utility bill is due to home’s appliances and electronics. Using energy efficient appliances like those rated ENERGY STAR® can substantially reduce your energy bills. They consume 10 to 15 % less energy than standard models. For example an Energy Star rated clothes washer uses 40 % less energy. It also uses less water and less detergent and helps save money. Replace old used appliances with the latest energy efficient models.

Water heating: The 2nd largest expense in any home- almost 14 to 18% of the utility bills is due to water heating. Each year, an average household spends around 400 to 600 $ in water heating. You can reduce this by using less hot water, turning down the thermostat, buying energy efficient water heaters or installing solar heaters. Insulate the water heater tank and connecting pipes to prevent heat loss. Use cold water whenever possible, especially for washing clothes and dishwashing.

Energy saving lighting: Lighting consumes 10 % of the energy in a home. Using compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs can give 75 % energy savings and also a saving in money as they last for a longer time. Switching off the lights when you don’t need them is a good habit to be cultivated. Use natural lighting through the day.

Air leakage: It is important that you close the doors and windows properly when the heat or air conditioner is on. However air sealing all the leakages in your home will ensure extra energy saving. A home energy audit will help you assess all the leakages in places like chimney bypasses, HVAC ducts, windows, doors, recessed lighting etc. Sealing up all these and proper insulation will make your home safe, comfortable and help save energy. Use energy efficient windows, which ensure proper sealing and insulation. You might want to consider Champion windows come with high performance, energy efficient glass, which helps to keep the heat out in summer and heat in during winter, reducing your heating and cooling costs.

While all this upgrading may cost money initially, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. You will also find your home more comfortable and of course you can truly relax without having to worry about the energy bills.

Standard

This holiday season give your home a makeover

Makeovers are exciting. They make life interesting. Remember the time when you bought a new home or moved in to a new rented place? How enthusiastically you set up the place with furniture, carpets, curtains etc.? And then a few years later, all that seems boring. You need a refreshing change. There are a lot of things you can do- simple do it yourself things costing almost nothing or some things which can cost you a lot but would be worth considering.

Once you have decided to get that makeover, what better time than the holiday season can you think of? Of course you have to plan it, preferably 2 to 3 months earlier and decide based on your budget. so here are some things you can do.

home-makeover-furniture

  1. Focus on the front door: Paint your front door with bold, vibrant colors like red, yellow or orange or cool colors like a blue or green. Let your home stand out to welcome your family and friends.
  2. Clean up the front yard: Clean up, mow the lawn and trim the plants and bushes, put up some new potted plants. Make the entrance attractive. It wouldn’t cost you much.
  3. Declutter your home space :  Go through each room and give away or throw all the things you have hoarded and don’t need .This will create more space in the room
  4. Experiment with the furniture: Just rearrange the furniture and give a new look and feel to the room like putting the sofa at an angle. Paint some old chair with a different color or decorate the corners. Every little thing makes a big difference. Be creative.

If you can afford, buy new curtains, change the upholstery or change the carpet.  If not thoroughly clean them. You can also buy some antique show piece and add style to the room.

  1. Dress up your walls: Reinvent the whole space by painting one wall or a part of the wall with a different color and texture or using wallpaper. Put up some wall hangings or paintings with special lighting arrangement highlighting them.
  2. Upgrade appliances: If you are planning to do this, buy energy efficient appliances which will cut down your energy bills and save energy. Since there will be a lot of cooking and baking done in the holiday season, think of replacing your old oven with a newer energy efficient model..
  3. Change the lights: Changing the lights and the fixtures will transform the look of your room. However ensure that you use energy efficient LED lights or compact fluorescent bulbs. You can also change the lamp shades or paint the existing ones to create a different mood for the room.
  4. Replace windows: One of the very important features of any home are the windows. They give us daylight, ventilation and an outside view. The right type of window also adds style to your home. So if you are planning a makeover, consider replacing your windows.

However, since windows also let out heat, 10 to 25 % of the heating bill can be due to this heat loss. Buying energy efficient Champion windows will cut down this cost significantly. They come with the best weather stripping and insulation to provide loss of heat. The glass used for the windows is also energy efficient, while letting in good light and providing noise reduction.

Remember that you cannot replace the windows yourself. It is best to get professional help from the manufacturers, right from removing the old windows to replacing them with the new ones.

So go ahead and get the makeover done as early as possible. Don’t keep it for the last minute and end up hassled and stressed out during Christmas. Enjoy the holiday spending time with all your loved ones in your new looking home and gladly accept all the compliments you get for the makeover.

Standard

5 Ideas for Dressing Up Your Windows

Home décor is incomplete without window treatments. Windows are an essential and vital part of any room. There are several different ways for dressing up windows which can transform, and enhance the overall look and feel of the room. Homeowners can get security, save on energy consumption, control lighting, temperatures, and add to the beauty of the room by designing the material, color and decoration of their windows.

Changing the appearance and aesthetics of windows in any room of the home can include using materials such as vinyl, wood, or fabric. In addition to these materials you can also give your windows a make over by changing the glass, adding curtains or drapes among many choices that are available. It is a good idea to research and consider various options and choices, before you start your work on refreshing your windows.

Curtains

window dressing

These are without a doubt the most common method of window decorating, however the advantage is that it is a lasting solution if they complement the color palette of the room and are chosen with care. Curtains can make a room look larger; add pizzazz, elegance, color, balance, energy, style, and beauty. As an example, ivory colored curtains will set off the darker colors used in furniture, décor items and rugs with attractive results. Curtains can cascade or tie back in style among other designs, and can have a formal or informal appearance depending on the use of the room.

Roller Shades

This type of window decoration is popular among homeowners as it is functional and does not take up much of space. Shades are designed to lie flat against the window and can be opened or closed easily by pulling a string. Shades can be right for your window if you want a modern, no fuss look and are on a budget.  Roller shades are simple and practical and is available in many fabrics, designs and materials. Solar shades help in keeping the heat out during summer and can help in keeping out ultraviolet rays.

Sheers

If your aim is to brighten the room and add more light, minus the use of heavy curtains, then sheers are the perfect choice. Sheers are made from lightweight fabric and have the benefit of filtering views and light and can be combined with other window treatments. It can beautify your windows, can be cost effective and are available in a variety of fabrics including lace, linen, and in patterned or colored styles. If you use many folds and pleats, it will look elegant and showcase your windows to advantage.

Blinds

100405_vertical-blinds

Another popularly used window treatment is blinds and these are available in horizontal or vertical styles. The slats of the blinds can be closed and opened to let in or shut out light and are made from materials such as vinyl, wood, aluminum, and PVC. These window accessories can be used on a wide variety of window styles including bow, casement, French  window style among others. They can add sophistication to a room and match the décor and color schemes used in the room and offer privacy and are easy to maintain.

Combination Design

A unique way to dress up the window of a room that is special to you and family, can be by combining different styles in a layered design. Add a valence or drape along the top of a large window, tied back curtains on the sides and shades for controlling light.  Another combination style is to add a window seat along a bow window which has rollup shades. Contrast colors can be used for added effect.

Windows made of energy efficient glass and materials will help in preserving the window additions by not causing them to fade. The ultimate aim is to cut energy consumption costs and using top quality replacement windows can help in making your windows valuable part of your property. Window treatment trends change and the style you choose should be budget friendly and match your interior décor.

Standard