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Monthly Archives: April 2018

  • Sustainable, Smart, and Cost Efficient? Here’s Your Guide to Smart Home Technology

     

    Beige siding house exterior with covered porch and trimmed bushes in front. View of soft blue staircase with narrow walkway.

     

    Sustainable, Smart, and Cost Efficient? Here’s Your Guide to Smart Home Technology

    Utilities can be taxing on both the environment and your wallet. Sometimes we even waste utilities when we don’t need to, which usually comes as quite a shock when the bill comes in. We scratch our heads and think, “wow, there’s no way I used 897 kilowatt-hours of electricity this month.” (The average U.S. household uses that much each month and 10,766 kWh per year.)

    Fortunately, there are several in-home tech products that will save you money on your utility bills and help the environment at the same time.

    How Much Electricity Do You Use Around the House?

     

    Each month, your utility bill is calculated based on how many kilowatt-hours are consumed.

    So just how far does one kilowatt-hour go?

    A kilowatt-hour, which is a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour, could power ten incandescent 100-watt lightbulbs for an hour. One kwh costs about $0.12 (so leaving the lights on, despite what your mother said about turning them off to save money, isn’t as expensive as it seems). Check out this table, which lists common household appliances and how much energy they use in an average month:

    Appliance average kWh used each month and average cost

     Appliance  Appliance Average kWh used each month Average cost each month
    Smartphone .08 kWh $0.01
    Tablet .9 kWh $0.11
    One LED Lightbulb 1.2 kWh $0.14
    Big-screen TV 2.5 kWh $0.30
    Wireless modem and router 7.5 kWh $0.90
    Gaming System 8.3 kWh $1.00
    One 60-watt Incandescent Lightbulb 18.3 kWh $2.20
    Desktop Computer 25.0 kWh $3.00
    Refrigerator 29.1 kWh $3.50
    Washer and Dryer 69.44 kWh $8.33
    Water Heater 416.7 kWh $50.00
    Heating and cooling 640.5 kWh $76.86

     

    So does that mean you have to put on a sweater or take a cold shower? Not necessarily. If you know what you’re doing, you can save hundreds of kWh each month by utilizing the latest in-home technology.

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    Heating and Cooling

    • Smart Thermostat: One of the most common smart home additions, smart thermostats are arguably the best way to save the most money. As most of your utility bills are heating and cooling, installing and using a smart thermostat can have a huge impact on your bills. Additionally, most are compatible with smart home assistants like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or other automated assistants. Smart thermostats work by keeping temperature settings consistent. Some have sensors to keep tabs on hot and cold spots in your house, and you can program them to adjust temperatures in your home while you’re gone at work, on vacation, or sleeping, so you’re not wasting energy on climate control you don’t need.
    • Motorized Shades: Another great way to money, motorized shades are often overlooked in the heating and cooling department. These shades allow you to set specific times when they should open or close. Almost all the settings can be done from an app and will work whether you’re home or not. Some of the even smarter ones can auto adjust to the temperature outside to maximize your savings. You will end up saving money by keeping the sun out when it’s hot in the day or choosing to let the light warm up your space. You can also opt for honeycomb shades, which are designed especially for insulation, but any shade or drape with the right spacing will help slash your heating costs.

    Average Savings: Between $131 and $145 per year

     

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    Light Use

    • Smart Lights: Smart lights, like Philips Hue and LIFX, can save you cash through programming, motion detection and remote access to your lights when you’re away from home (for security during vacation purposes), but that’s not all there is to it. Smart lights are LEDs, which cost significantly less to operate than traditional incandescent bulbs.

    Average Savings: Between $80 and $120 per year

    Games, TVs and Other Appliances

    • Surge Protectors: Certain small appliances such as video game consoles are known as drain devices. This means that even when someone isn’t using it, the device is still using energy. This is where conservation based surge protectors like the Belkin Conserve Switch Surge Protector come in! These surge protectors allow you switch things off with a remote, which prevents drain devices from wasting energy. Other types, like ThinkEco, cut down consumption when your plugged-in devices are in standby mode.

    Average Savings: Between $60 and $80 per year

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    Laundry

    • Energy-efficient washers:Though there aren’t smart washers per se, energy-efficient washers are a smart way to save. Certified ENERGY STAR products can help you save on both electricity and water, so you get even more bang for your buck when you pay your utility bill water bill. Typically, an ENERGY STAR washing machine uses 25 percent less electricity than its non-eco-friendly counterparts do. Another tip to save money while washing clothes is to waste them with warm (not hot) or cold water.

    Average Savings: Between $75 and $125 per year

     

    How Much Water Does Your Household Use?

    While estimates vary based on location, the average U.S. household uses about 90 gallons of water every day. Unfortunately, most of that water is wasted through toilet flushing and showers. Dishwashers, washing machines and outdoor watering also waste a large amount of water. We’ve created a chart that shows how much water common household items use and how much it costs.

     Appliance Average Gallons Used Each Time Average Cost Per Use
    Bath 36 gallons $0.14
    Shower (10 Minutes) with ordinary shower head 50 gallons $0.20
    Shower (10 Minutes) with water-saving showerhead 20 gallons $0.08
    Dishwasher (non-ENERGY STAR) 16 gallons $0.06
    Dishwasher (ENERGY STAR) 6 gallons $0.02
    Toilet Flush (Regular) 3 gallons $0.01
    Toilet Flush (low-flow) 1.6 gallons Less than $.01
    Outdoor watering (30 minutes) 60 gallons $0.24

     

    Other than cutting down on water consumption by investing in ENERGY STAR appliances, doing fewer loads of laundry and taking shorter showers, there are a few devices you can add to your home to drastically reduce your water consumption.

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    Showers and Faucets

    • High-efficiency faucet aerator: Aerators are a great way to save money on water. They work by adding air to your water. This means you can keep your water pressure while cutting your water usage in half!
    • Smart home water meter: While they don’t give you direct savings, smart home water meters can be a great investment. By showing you how much water you use and where it goes, you can adjust your water usage in certain areas and save money.

    Average Savings: About $100 per year

     

    Toilets

    • Smart toilets:Smart toilets are beneficial in two ways: they save water and they can help eliminate toilet paper waste. The EPA states that toilets labeled with WaterSense labels can reduce water usage by 20-60% and save around 13,000 gallons of water per year.

    Average Savings: About $100 per year

    Smart Home Security

    • Smart Home Security System: A smart home security system is another way to save money, albeit indirectly. While the products themselves don’t save you money, having them can help decrease your insurance bill. Think of it like having airbags in the car – your insurer knows that you’re taking measures to mitigate risk, which means your rates are likely to go down. The latest-and-greatest security systems monitor your home’s electricity and wiring, and record activity that goes on inside and outside your house. Sometimes you can even get a claims-free credit, which offers you a discount if you haven’t made a claim in the past.

    Average Savings: Up to 20% of your normal bill

     

    Original article from Redfin

     

  • Choosing the Right Programmable Thermostat for Your Business

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    In last week’s post, we talked about some of the functional and cost-related benefits that programmable thermostats offer for businesses. Once you’ve made the decision that a programmable thermostat is right for your business, you’re faced with a wide array of choices. Here are a few of the options you have to consider when deciding which programmable thermostat best meets your business’s needs.

     

    • Single-Stage vs. Multi-Stage Programmable Thermostat

     

    Whether you need a single-stage programmable thermostat or a multi-stage option depends on the heating system in your building. A single-stage programmable thermostat will be sufficient if your building relies on a single source of heat (such as a furnace or a heat pump) and a single source of cool air (such as an air conditioning system), and if both of these sources provide hot or cold air at just one level. However, if your business’s system has inputs from two heat sources--such as a heat pump and a boiler, or a heat pump and a solar panel--you should look for a programmable thermostat that offers up to two-stage heat alongside one-stage cool.

     

    • Heat Pumps vs. Conventional Systems

     

    Some programmable thermostats are designed to work specifically with heat pump systems, while others are intended for use with conventional systems. You can also find products on the market that work well with both system types. When choosing a programmable thermostat, make sure that the type you choose aligns with the heating system in your building.

     

    • System Programming Options

     

    Some products on the market allow you to program your thermostat to correspond with a weekday/weekend schedule, which is ideal for businesses that close on weekends or have different weekend hours. Instead of having to run the same program every 24 hours, you can create a 5-2 day program or a 5-1-1 day program. That way, if your business shuts down on the weekend, you don’t have to worry about remembering to reprogram on Friday night so you don’t accidentally drain your budget by pumping in warm or cold air when there is no one in the office or the store.

     

    • Programmable/Non-Programmable Thermostats

     

    While it is clear that programmable thermostats offer a wide range of benefits for businesses, there may still be times when you may find yourself wanting manual control over your thermostat. For instance, in the face of an unexpected heat wave or cold spell, you probably want to take full control over your thermostat to make sure your employees and customers stay comfortable. If you want to prepare for such circumstances, you should look for a programmable/non-programmable thermostat, which can be changed over when needed.
    National Air Warehouse offers programmable and non-programmable thermostats that can meet the needs of any business or homeowner. Contact us today for more help choosing the right option for you!

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