Using Less Energy To Feather Your Nest

Nest Labs was bought recently by Google, which also purchased Texas Wind Farms. Both companies are in the energy business. Nest manufactures Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostats and smoke alarms, while Texas Wind Farms produces clean, sustainable power.

Nest results mixed.

Nest claims it saves consumers about $175 a year in heating and cooling costs. In reality, these savings can be much lower because Nest aims to keep you comfortable, not keep energy use in check. Many people actually spend more using Nest than not using it, and Nest does not work at all with some oil pump heaters. Independent studies have found that programmable thermostats often result in higher energy consumption simply because people do not know how to use them properly. Nest does better than traditional programmable thermostats, but is not the magical device people expect it to be.

EnTouch for small business.

Large commercial office buildings have used energy-smart thermostats by Siemens and Howell for years, but their cost is prohibitive for small businesses. EnTouch aims to bridge the gap by offering a $5000 system that automates energy consumption by smaller facilities, such as restaurants. In most states, the largest non-industrial energy users are grocery chains; commercial freezers are notorious energy hogs. Equipment such as dish machines, commercial laundry machines, and ice machines all use significant amounts of energy. Replacing these systems and upgrading water-heating systems can produce energy savings without altering the way you do business.

Getting an energy audit.

Power companies are state regulated and most are under mandate to invest in energy programs such as solar power. In many states, residential and small business customers can have an energy audit done by the local power utility at a reasonable cost. Often there are rebates for the replacement of outmoded HVAC equipment, along with federal tax credits. Replacing a low energy efficient HVAC system is the first step in lowering energy costs. After that, consider adding insulation, replacing old windows and doors that are not air tight, repairing torn ducts, and painting a dark roof with a light, reflective coating. A thermostat would be toward the bottom of the list! A great thermostat system will save you money, but it can’t offset a low SEER system and its inefficiency.

Using alternative power.

If you install a solar or wind system, you can be eligible for federal and state tax credits. Often the cost to finance a solar system is about the same or less as your utility bill, so it in effect pays for itself if it provides more than 75% of your power needs. The break-even point is usually around 8 years, at which point your energy is basically free. While installing the panels on the south side of your roof will provide the most energy gain, installing on the western side will provide power during peak periods.

 

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The causes of high relative humidity in air-conditioned buildings

It can be very difficult, even for a pro, to track down the cause(s) of high relative humidity inside a home. A frequent cause is an improperly sized HVAC system. Your AC system needs to run long enough to pull moisture out of the air, not just cool it. So if your system is too big for your home, it will not run long enough and high relative humidity will result. Generally you need one ton of AC for every 600 square feet. Sizing a little small is actually better than sizing too big, and it will not be less energy efficient. It will have an easier time cooling and you will feel comfortable at higher temperatures, so you do not save money by increasing the AC tonnage.

Sometimes, after installing new hurricane impact windows, homeowners notice an increase in relative humidity. This occurs because the home is “too tight” and the AC is not running long enough. Your AC unit works by running so that the air passing by the cold coil condenses, thus dehumidifying the house. The AC needs to run at least 10 minutes to control humidity on a cold coil. If the house is very tightly built and insulated, and particularly if it has a lot of non-porous glass windows, it will not “breathe” and it will cool or heat faster than the AC system can pull moisture out of the air. This is compounded by moisture released from cooking and showering, as well as moisture trapped in carpet and wood paneling. In a very tight house, if it is 82 degrees outside, your AC won’t run very long to maintain a temperature of 76 degrees and you may have an issue with high relative humidity.

A leak in your ducts can also throw off your AC system.  In fact, a dirty AC filter can throw off your relative humidity, so that is one more reason to routinely change your AC filter on the first of every month. An improperly working thermostat can also be a culprit. There are also more serious situations, such as humid crawlspaces that release moisture up through a wood floor. This does not occur in the typical crawlspace, but can be an issue if there is a plumbing leak or other problem that causes ponding water.

A whole house dehumidifier system is a last resort in severe cases where the humidity hovers around 65% or more. However, such a system will be necessary to prevent the growth of mold and wood rot.  The cost to install a single whole house dehumidifier is around $1,700 in 2013, but will vary depending on the size of your home, the difficulty in removing debris, and the existing wiring in your home.

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The Top 10 Things To Know About Your AC

Your AC is an important part of your home’s comfort. There are a few simple things you can do to help your AC keep its cool in summer and its warm appeal in winter.

1. Change Your Filter: Yeah, you’ve heard it before. A dirty filter will reduce your AC system’s efficiency because trapped dirt reduces airflow. A dirty filter can also affect indoor air quality. The job of an AC filter is to rap dirt before it builds up on your evaporator coil and cause it to fail. Be sure your filter is the right size (not too small) and that is MERV 6 value or higher efficiency rating.

2. Service Your System Annually:  Every year, have a service tech clean the coil and drains, and check your system out. Many companies offer low rates for this service in the hopes of gaining you as a customer. Once a year, turn off the unit and spay the outside coils with a hose to remove dirt and leaves.

3. Check Your Ducts: Leaks in your ducts can reduce efficiency by 40% or more, causing your electric bill to soar. Many electric companies, including FPL, have a duct inspection and rebate program to repair or replace ducts. Seal leaky ducts and you can gain an up to extra half-ton of cooling and heating power from your AC.

4. Give Your Condenser Space: The outside part of your AC (the condenser) needs air to circulate around it to operate properly. Make sure it is not overgrown by bushes and that leaves are not clogging the vents.

5. Use Window Coverings: Heat-blocking drapes, curtains and shades reduce the load on your AC. Draw the drapes when you leave for work, and set the thermostat at 78 degrees. Drawing the drapes will keep the heat out, but during the winter leave them open. If your windows are leaky, keep the drapes pulled to keep the heat in when you are there. Weatherproofing windows and doors in one of the best ways to reduce your electric bills.

6. Keep Interior Doors Open: Your AC system is designed to work throughout your home. Closing doors to rooms you don’t use will not save money. It will throw your system off balance and make it more difficult for you to feel comfortable. Leave them open a foot or two.

7. Keep Your Thermostat Realistic: Lights, electrical appliances, etc. should not be near the thermostat because it can throw the gauge off. If your thermostat is in a hallway that is a lot cooler or hotter than the rest of your house, it will affect the accuracy of its readings.

8. Keep Registers And Vents Clear: Keep furniture, drapes and other objects away from registers and vents. Also do not close the vents completely in a room, for the same reason you shouldn’t close interior doors.

9.  Don’t Be In A Hurry: Setting your thermostat really low will not help it cool more quickly, not will setting it high make it heat more quickly. It will use more energy. Just set the temperature you want and be patient. Generally, a 1600 sq. ft. home will reach the right temperature in less than an hour.

10.  Use A Fireplace Screen: A lot of heat (and AC) goes up your chimney. Use a fire screen or insert to block airflow and cut down on electric costs. Keep the damper closed whenever you don’t have a fire.

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Product Highlight: Corrosion Grenade

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There are many perks to living near the coast: ocean winds, access to the beach, and a variety of water sports. What’s not a perk is corrosion that occurs when moisture attacks the aluminum fins on air conditioning units, causing them to become inefficient and costly to repair and replace.   This kind of corrosion is known as electrolysis or Galvanic Corrosion, where the weakest metal is damaged by a combination of electricity and the salt air. Since aluminum is the weakest metal in  most air conditioning systems, it is the first to be attacked by corrosion. It seems like an impossible problem to deal with if you live on the coast, but ADL Supply carries a product that can help you avoid such corrosion and keep your air conditioning system in tip-top shape for years to come: the Corrosion Grenade.

The Corrosion Grenade is made of 100% zinc and acts as a sacrificial anode to protect the other metals in the air conditioning system. What this means is that because zinc is the weakest metal in the air conditioning unit (which are mostly composed of aluminum, copper, and steel), it will bear the corrosion that the air conditioning unit would accumulate in its aluminum parts. With its simple screw-on application, the Corrosion Grenade will provide consumers and contractors alike with an easy solution to their corrosion problems.

 

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Tax Credits for HVAC and Water Heating

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The end of the “fiscal cliff” also retroactively reinstated the 25C tax credits for high-efficiency HVAC and water heating equipment, which expired at the end of 2011. The legislation extends the tax credits from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013, for qualified equipment listed in Section 25C of the Internal Revenue Code.

Qualified equipment includes:

“• Air conditioners and heat pumps ($300 tax credit)
— Split system central air conditioner that achieves the highest efficiency CEE tier as of Jan. 1, 2009 (16 SEER; 13 EER)
— Packaged central air conditioner that achieves the highest efficiency CEE tier as of Jan. 1, 2009 (14 SEER; 12 EER)
— Split system electric heat pump that achieves the highest efficiency CEE tier as of Jan. 1, 2009 (8.5 HSPF; 12.5 EER; 15 SEER)
— Packaged electric heat pump that achieves the highest efficiency CEE tier as of Jan. 1, 2009 (8.0 HSPF; 12.0 EER; 14 SEER)

• Advanced main air circulating fan ($50 tax credit)
— A fan used in a natural gas, propane, or oil furnace with an annual electricity use of no more than 2 percent of the total energy use of the furnace

• Boilers ($150 tax credit)
— Natural gas, propane, or oil boiler with an AFUE of not less than 95

• Furnaces ($150 tax credit)
— Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace with an AFUE of not less than 95

• Water heaters ($300 tax credit)
— Electric heat pump water heaters with an energy factor of at least 2.0
— Natural gas, propane, or oil water heater with an energy factor of at least 0.82 or a thermal efficiency of at least 90 percent” – ACHR News
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El fin del “avismo fiscal” reactivo retroactivamente los créditos fiscales del 25C para equipos de aire y calefacción de agua de alta eficiencia, que expiró a finales del 2011. La legislación extiende los créditos fiscales desde el 1 de enero de 2012 hasta el 31 de diciembre 2013, para el equipo calificado listado en la sección 25C del Código de Rentas Internas.

El equipo calificado incluye:

“• Los acondicionadores de aire y bombas de calor ($300 crédito fiscal)
- Sistema split de aire acondicionado central que alcanza el más alto nivel de eficiencia CEE como el 1 de enero de 2009 (16 SEER; 13 EER)

- Acondicionador de aire central de Unidades que alcanzan el más alto nivel de eficiencia CEE como el 1 de enero de 2009 (14 SEER, 12 EER)

- Sistema de split con bomba de calor eléctrica que alcanza el más alto nivel de eficiencia CEE como el 1 de enero de 2009 (8,5 HSPF, un 12,5 EER, 15 SEER)

- Bomba de calor de Unidades eléctricas que alcanza el más alto nivel de eficiencia CEE como el 1 de enero de 2009 (8,0 HSPF; 12,0 EER, 14 SEER)

• Ventilador avanzado de aire circulante ($50 crédito fiscal)
- Un ventilador a gas natural, propano, o un horno de aceite con un consumo eléctrico anual de no más de un 2 por ciento del consumo total de energía del horno

• Calderas ($ 150 crédito fiscal)
- Gas natural, propano, o una caldera de aceite con un AFUE de no menos de 95

• Hornos ($ 150 crédito fiscal)
- Gas natural, propano o aceite con un horno AFUE de no menos de 95

• Calentadores de agua ($ 300 crédito fiscal)
- calentadores eléctricos de agua de la bomba con un factor de energía de al menos 2,0
- Gas natural, propano, o un calentador de agua y aceite con un factor de energía de al menos 0,82 o un rendimiento térmico de al menos 90 por ciento “-

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Ventas del día de Accion de Gracia

Se aproxima el día de Acción de Gracia y junto a él, el Black Friday. Muchas personas prefieren evitar las multitudes y líneas, por lo tanto deciden hacer sus compras en la comodidad de sus casas por medio de internet. Los minoristas se han dado cuenta de este comportamiento y el 97% ofrecerán ofertas en internet este fin de semana. Se estima que 72 millones de personas participarán en el proceso de compras. Lunes Cibernético, como se refiere a la venta de internet, comenzará temprano y se convertirá en la venta de la Semana Cibernética. ADL Supply se ha unido a este espíritu y ofrecerá descuentos en artículos selectos. Felices compras!

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Thanksgiving Sales

As Thanksgiving approaches so does Black Friday. However, many want to avoid the crowds and the lines and opt for online shopping instead. Retailers have caught on to this and 97% of those online will be offering deals for the weekend. It is expected that 72 million people will take part in the online process. Cyber Monday, as the online sale is referred to, is starting early and turning into a Cyber Week sale. ADL Supply has joined that spirit and will be offering discounts on select items. Happy shopping!

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Ahorre energía en este invierno!

Si usted tiene la suerte de tener un invierno verdadero, también tiene la carga de la factura de la calefacción a fin de mes. Pero, no se preocupe, usted puede hacer un par de simples cambios en la casa para  ahorrar dinero.

Los ventiladores de techo durante el verano giran a la izquierda para empujar el aire frío hacia abajo. Durante el invierno se debe cambiar para que gire hacia la derecha a una velocidad baja. Ese cambio  empujará el aire caliente hacia abajo y evitará puntos fríos en su casa.

 

 

Cortinas insoladas ayudan a reducir la pérdida de calor. Los modelos más eficientes incluyen insolación de espuma acrílica o de alta densidad y una cinta reflectiva que ayuda a dirigir el calor hacia la habitación. Asegúrese de tomar ventaja de la luz del día y mantener las cortinas abiertas para que entre el calor. Por la noche, cierre las cortinas para mantener el calor dentro de la habitación.

 

 

Baje el termostato! No queremos que se congele, pero mientras usted no esté en casa configure su termostato 10-15°F bajo lo normal y verá un ahorro de 10% en sus facturas de calefacción. También debe ajustar el termostato de agua a 120°F, no notará la diferencia. Si usted también está iluminando su casa para las navidades, haga uso de las luces LED para ahorrar dinero en su factura.

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Lower your energy costs!

If you are blessed with having an actual winter, you are also cursed the heating bill at the end of the month. However, don’t worry, you can do a couple of simple things around the house to keep the costs low.

Ceiling fans are normally set during the summer to spin counterclockwise to push the cool air down. During the winter you want to switch them to spin clockwise at a low speed in order to push the hot air down and prevent cold spots in your home.

 

 

Insulated curtains help reduce draft and heat loss. The most effective types include acrylic or high-density foam insulation and reflective film that helps direct heat into the room. Make sure to take advantage of the daylight and keep the curtains open to bring in the heat. At night, close the curtains to keep the heat inside the room.

 

 

Turn your thermostat down! We’re not telling you to freeze in your house but while you are away set your thermostat 10-15 degrees lower and you will see a 10% savings on your heating bills. You should also set the water thermostat to 120 degrees; you won’t notice the difference. If you are also lighting up your home for the holidays then look into using LED lights to save money on your bill.

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New OSHA Document Addresses IAQ in Commercial and Institutional Buildings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released “Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings”. The document provides practical guidance for IAQ issues meant to assist building owners and operators. In addition, it offers direction for HVAC engineers, industrial hygienists and IAQ professionals to improve the indoor environment.

The OSHA document states, “Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern to businesses, schools, building managers, tenants, and workers because it can impact the health, comfort, well-being, and productivity of the building occupants. OSHA recognizes that poor IAQ can be hazardous to workers’ health and that it is in the best interest of everyone that building owners, managers, and employers take a proactive approach to address IAQ concerns.”

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