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Cut Energy Costs when cooking

July 3, 2015

There are a few easy steps you can take to make your stove and oven cooking more energy efficient. By making your cooking more energy efficient, you can actually save money every month on your energy bill. Most of these tips won’t even cost you anything extra to reap the benefits of energy efficient cooking, so there’s no need to worry about breaking the bank!

Cut Energy Costs when cooking* Covers – Covering up pots and pans will cook food and boil water more quickly since the heat becomes trapped. Since the interior of the pot or pan will become hotter, you can maintain the original cooking time while lowering the heat on the stove.

* Early Shutoff – This takes a bit of trial and error to get down, but you can actually turn the oven off 10-20 minutes before the food is supposed to be done and it will still fully cook. The same goes for electric frying pans, though they can only be off for a couple minutes. When doing this, make sure no to open the oven door, or you’ll lose all that stored heat!

* Keep it Shut – When cooking in the oven, whether you shut it off early or not, keep the door shut. Every time the door opens, the oven loses a lot of heat that it has to make up.

* Microwave – Microwaves use a lot less energy than an oven or stove, so if you can microwave your food, go for it!

* Raw Veggies – Instead of cooking all of the vegetables for a meal, just wash them and serve them raw. Find out which veggies you like best raw and use those instead of using energy to cook them.

* Timing – Time your prep work so that everything gets done at the same time and nothing runs longer than it needs to. This can save energy and make your family happier!

* Crockpot – Slow cookers and crockpots use very little electricity. Prep everything before leaving for work, dump it in the crockpot, let it cook while you’re at work, and when you get home, you have a ready to eat meal!

* Insulated Pots – Rather than leaving a pot on the stove to keep it warm, take it off and wrap the pot in a towel. This insulation will keep it hot for a longer period of time.

* Quality Cookware – Go for the gusto when purchasing pots and pans. The better quality cookware you have, the more efficiently they cook and the longer they will last.

* Proper Sizing – Make sure you use the right pan for the right cooking element. A pan that’s too big will not heat quickly and a pan that’s too small wastes energy.

* Water Use – When boiling water, only pour in as much as you need. More water means more heating is required, which takes up more energy. Plus it means dinner will take longer to make.

Ways to make your Move Easier

June 26, 2015

Looking to start over in a new area? Moving can be a complex and stressful time, but the tips we have can make things a little smoother for you. The sooner you start planning the move, the easier it will be, so get to planning!

Ways to make your Move Easier* Lists – Make a packing list so nothing gets left behind. This should be done as early as possible to ensure you get everything you need on it. Break up the list by zones, such as Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom, Bathroom, etc. As you start packing, check off items and label boxes to keep things organized.

* Boxes – You’re gonna need lots of them. Some retailers may let you take their excess cardboard boxes for free, and they could come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You might even be able to get free styrofoam for packing material. Otherwise, paces like U-Haul stores sell boxes of different sizes for moving or shipping. If you have luggage cases already, use them for packing as well. This can help save money on boxes.

* Professional Mover – Hiring a pro mover can make a move much easier. However, you need to do research and make sure they’re insured and licensed. Ask for references, speak with past clients, or look for reviews online. Avoid getting scammed by false moving companies by researching and consulting with local real estate offices.

* Careful Packing – Wrap breakable items in paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or secure them with styrofoam blocks. Avoid overloading boxes with too much weight so they don’t rip open.

* Valuable Items – Always pack valuable items yourself and keep them along with any important documents like social security cards, insurance policies, and car titles together and pack them into your personal vehicle to avoid security issues.

* Double Check the List – Once you arrive at your new home, check everything off the list again as you unpack it. This helps you keep track of every item you brought and make sure it all arrived safely.

Ways to keep your home or office cool during the Summer

June 19, 2015

Now that summer is here, chances are that your electricity bill will pay the price. Today we will talk about keeping your home cool, and saving energy so that your electricity bill is not hurting each month from increased summer electricity usage.

Ways to keep your home or office cool during the Summer

  • Have a low electricity rate. There are even plans that will give you a bill credit if you use a certain amount of electricity. These ‘high usage’ plans are best for large homes, not studios or apartments that use very little energy.
  • Turning your thermostat to 78 degrees while at home, or as comfortably possibly.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate cold air in your home.
  • Run only full loads of clothes.
  • Air dry clothes if possible.
  • Research into cleaning your air filter or replacing it, so that your AC lasts longer.
  • Use drapes and curtains to keep rooms cool.
  • Shut off fans in rooms that are unoccupied.
  • Switch light bulbs in your home to LED or CFL bulbs. They do not need to be replaced as often as standard bulbs.
  • Avoid cooking indoors on hot days.
  • Seal up air cracks in the bottom of doors and windows.
  • Look at your air ventilation system for any air leaks.
  • Stay cool and open a window.

Washing away Energy Costs

June 12, 2015

Washers and dryers are an important part of the lives of every household. When we buy a washer and dryer, we tend to look at the front end cost but forget how much it will cost us in our energy bill over the long run. Washers and dryers not only affect your electricity bill but also your natural gas bill. Depending on the size, type, loads per week, the type of the water heater you have, settings, the model and the efficiency of the washer and dryer you will find out how much you are spending on the washer and dryer use in your utility bills.

Washing away Energy Costs

Some simple steps such as washing your laundry in cold water instead of hot water can help you save a lot of your utility. A colossal 90 percent used in washing clothes goes in heating water. Just by changing the settings from hot to cold in your washer will not only prolong the life of your clothes but will also save you approximately $150 per year. Although front loaded washers cost nearly $100 more than top loaded washers, they can save you more than $100 per year. According to Environmental Protective Agency (EPA), front-loading washers tend to use 40-75% less water and 30-85% less energy than typical top-loading washer. Front load dryers also squeeze out more water so less drying is required.

2 Important Ways to Lower Electric Costs

June 10, 2015

Changing these sectors of energy even slightly can have an impact on your monthly energy bill. Even changing the way you drive your car affects your monthly energy expenses.

Here are the two best ways to lower your energy costs: 

2 Important Ways to Lower Electric Costs

Lights

* Setting your thermostat higher than you typically would can save you some energy too. Set the temperature to the highest level you are comfortable with while you are home, and set it to between 80° and 85°F while you are away.

* When turning on the AC to cool your home, don’t set it lower than normal in an attempt to cool it faster, as that won’t work. The rooms will cool at the same rate, regardless of temperature setting. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you regulate your energy usage better by allowing you to set temperatures throughout the day. It can shut your AC off while you are asleep or at work, and begin cooling your home just before you wake up or return home.

      Thermostats are key

  • Setting your thermostat higher than you typically would can save you some energy too. Set the temperature to the highest level you are comfortable with while you are home, and set it to between 80° and 85°F while you are away.
  • When turning on the AC to cool your home, don’t set it lower than normal in an attempt to cool it faster, as that won’t work. The rooms will cool at the same rate, regardless of temperature setting. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you regulate your energy usage better by allowing you to set temperatures throughout the day. It can shut your AC off while you are asleep or at work, and begin cooling your home just before you wake up or return home.

Making sure your homes AC is Cooling Properly

May 28, 2015

Air conditioners are a part of our everyday lives in Texas, especially come summertime. Once the summer starts heating up, you may be tempted to crank the thermostat as low as it goes to cool down quick.

Making sure your homes AC is Cooling ProperlyFor starters, bigger is not always better. Oversized air conditioning systems are incredibly inefficient, and they may not make your home as comfortable as it could potentially be. An oversized unit will cool your home just as fast as a smaller, appropriately sized unit, but the oversized unit will accomplish this before proper dehumidification happens. This will make your home feel “clammy.” In addition, the oversized unit will draw a lot more electricity than is needed. When selecting a new air conditioning system, have professionals measure the size of your home and individual rooms so they can recommend a model that is well suited for the job.

Setting your thermostat as low as it can go will not cool your house any faster than setting it to your preferred temperature. If left unattended, the lower temperature setting will result in over-cooling, which can lead to increased energy use, more frequent maintenance of your AC, and even freezing of your air conditioner’s condenser unit. Instead, set your thermostat as high as you are comfortable with. Every degree above your normal set temp results in 1-3% of energy savings. Remember, the closer your inside temperature is to the outside temperature, the less your AC needs to work to keep you comfortable. If you are using a window AC unit, use standalone fans to help circulate the cold air around your home. Close the doors to any rooms you do not need cooled. Finally, avoid placing appliances and electronics near thermostats, as the heat they give off can fool the thermostat into thinking the house is not cool, and will continue to run the air conditioner.

Energy Saving Tips for Children

May 14, 2015

Most children are scared of the dark and like to sleep with a night light. As parents you want to make sure your child feels safe, while keeping energy efficiency in mind. Here are several night lights that are eco-friendly, and will not hurt your electric bill.

Energy Saving Tips for Children

Glow in the Dark Stick-on: These thick plastic stickers stick on walls and are glow in the dark, come in cool designs, and won’t hurt your wallet.

Multi-colored LED Lights: LED lights look like Christmas lights except they significantly safer and more energy efficient than incandescent lights.  They also come in large quantities, and some are battery operated.

Night light/flash light combo: These lights designed by American Red Cross as blackout buddies multifunction as an emergency light during power failures. They can also be removed from the outlet incase if your child wants to walk around with it. The night light uses one LED light while plugged in and three lights while it is in flashlight mode.

LED Projectable Night Light: Mini-projectors display your child’s favorite character on the wall or the ceiling. The light sensor automatically turns on at dawn and turns off at dusk; it is very energy efficient and your child will feel safe.

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