Archive for November 2015

Home energy saving tips for fall

Year round homeowners could get better at saving energy, but fall seems to bring out the most inefficient energy behavior in all of us.

That brisk fall wind seems to sneak up on us every year. But if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort and attention, you could see significant savings on your energy bill. Here are some energy saving tips to help you can stay warm and stay just a little bit richer during the fall months.

1. Regulate your thermostat use

There are a couple of things to remember when it comes to your thermostat during fall. The first is that you can usually take a couple of degrees cooler and still remain comfortable. The second is that you’re typically not home all day. According to energy.gov, if you set your thermostat to 68 degrees while at home and lower while you’re at work, you’d save 5% to 10% per year on your energy bill. Don’t just crank up the heater without thinking of your bank account.

2. Get thicker drapes and use them to regulate temperature

Ever notice how the rooms with the biggest or most windows tend to fluctuate more with temperature? You can use drapes to regulate that temperature and save on energy costs. First, get thicker and tighter fitting drapes, at least for the fall. Second, open the drapes during the daytime so that the sun can naturally heat the house. After sunset, close those thick drapes and keep heat from escaping through the window.

3. Weatherize your home

Nothing keeps your furnace running like drafty windows and doors. Check to find these drafty openings around your house. Add weather stripping to the bottom of the doors. Fix any leaks that you can find before the real chill hits.

4. Change your furnace filters regularly

If a filter is clogged, the furnace isn’t going to work efficiently to heat your home. That extra work it does to compensate for a dirty filter will cost you when it comes time to pay the electricity bill. Remember, you can often find filters sold online in bulk for cheaper than you’ll get them at a store near you.

5. Keep your ceiling fans on and rotating clockwise

We all know that heat naturally rises. Keep your ceiling fan on at a low setting and run it clockwise. This will push warm air back towards the floor, keeping the temperature throughout your home more stable. Look for a switch on the fan fixture to change the direction of its turning.

If tuning up your furnace is part of your fall energy savings plan, call (405) 796-0320 to get fast and friendly service from Baxter.

Avoid winter water heater problems

Though nothing appears different from the outside, winter months are extremely hard on your water heater. And if you don’t take care of that water heater, there’s a cold shower in your future.

The colder the weather becomes, the colder the water will be that flows into your home. That means that your water heater has to do a lot of extra work in order to heat the water to what you have set as the proper temperature.

When you take a hot shower, it’ll be harder for your water heater to keep up. As a result, you’ll notice that you’re not getting consistently hot water. So winter is hard on your heater, and it’s hard on you. Let’s look at some ways you can avoid the headache.

Drain your water heater

Sediment in the tank is always an issue. But when the water heater is under more stress from colder water, it has to work even harder if there’s a lot of sediment in there. Get that sediment out and your water heater will be more efficient. That means you’ll have warm water and you’ll save a few extra dollars on that energy bill.

Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater

While it might seem counters intuitive since its cold outside, lowering the temperature setting on your water heater can help it be more efficient and last longer. Without having to get the water temperature up so high, the heating element and tank will undergo less stress. This, too, will save you a few dollars from your energy bill.

Wrap the water heater

Keeping the water heater a bit warmer can also help in this process. You can accomplish that by putting a blanket on it. Covering the tank with a water heater blanket or jacket can help reduce stress and wear during the colder months.

These three steps can help to prevent icy showers.

They will also help to put less stress on an appliance that is going to cost a nice chunk of change to replace. So make sure you give your water heater some attention before the dead of winter. It’ll keep your showers warm and your wallet heavier.

Is your home backed up by a generator?

Most of us are just one thunderstorm or ice storm away from losing power. And most of us have been around long enough to know that sometimes it can be a week before power is restored after a really bad storm.

Do you have a generator to power your home for that week?

Many people still see generators as a noisy contraption that isn’t worth having because you won’t need it that often. People say the same thing about car insurance, too. That is, until their car is broken into.

And storms aren’t the only issue that could have an impact on your home’s power. We’ve seen examples across the country of situations in which overloaded power systems lead to brownouts. Without a generator, you’d be in the dark.

Not only are generators convenient to have, they’ve come a long way in terms of fitting in. Generators are far quieter than they used to be. They’re installed discreetly like a central air conditioning unit.

The only downside to owning a generator is that they need to be regularly serviced. Any appliance occasionally requires service, but it’s critical to ensure that the generator is in working order. After all, when bad weather strikes it may not be easy for a technician to make it out to your house.

The generators we’re talking about aren’t the monsters you see connected to commercial buildings. They aren’t going to power your entire house. But it makes sense to spend a little bit of money to make sure that if the power goes out, the groceries in your refrigerator won’t spoil. If the power goes out, you’ll be able to charge your phones to stay in touch with loved ones and emergency services. If the power goes out, your elderly loved ones will still be able to use their home oxygen systems.

If you’re considering a generator but aren’t sure if one is right for your home, we encourage you to call (405) 796-0320 for more information and pricing.

5 energy wasting appliances in your home

Everyone loves the idea of saving money on their electricity bill. But we often look past the objects in our home that are putting a load on its electrical system. Here’s a look at a few appliances and problems that are keeping your energy bill high.

1. Water Heater

The U.S. Department of Energy claims that 12 percent of home energy in the country comes from heating water. Think for a moment about how often it’s used – showers, cleaning dishes, the laundry. Nobody’s asking you to take cold showers, but there are some ways to make your water heater more efficient. Turning down the heater’s thermostat, insulting it and its pipes and regularly pumping out sediment can make the water heater more efficient.

2. Your freezer

You know, that giant old tank you keep your venison or a year’s supply of meat in. Those old freezers also have old compressors that aren’t as efficient as newer models. And older models are typically less insulated, requiring that motor to work even more often. Pick out a newer model with an Energy Star label to help knock a few extra dollars off the electricity bill.

3. Household electronics

Just because you turn off your TV or computer at night before you go to sleep doesn’t mean that it won’t cost you. In fact, many household electronics also use power while they’re in “standby” mode.

4. Your air conditioner

In general, your air conditioner inflicts a lot of pain on your electricity bill. But summers are extremely hot and nobody’s thinking about saving energy. Yet turning down (or up depending on the season) your thermostat by just one degree could save 10% on your energy bill. Other steps, such as using zoning and advanced thermostats can cut down on this huge energy waster.

5. Incandescent light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs use more energy when turned on than any other type of light bulb. Switching to LEDs or fluorescent light bulbs. CFL light bulbs are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and they last ten years longer. Is there any good reason you haven’t switched over yet?

Pay attention to what’s using electricity in your house

If you really want to save money every month, it pays to pay attention to what is costing you. And in the case of your home, these are just a few examples of things that lead to a higher electricity bill.