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Posts Tagged: energy efficient home

Get warm and fuzzy with home weatherization

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Windows, Heating, Cooling, Insulation No Comments on Get warm and fuzzy with home weatherization

 

Windows and doors

Reducing leaks around windows, doors and chimneys in your home will result in considerable annual energy savings. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

Insulation

Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort. To get started, here are some basic tips:

  • Older structures may be under-insulated since the amount of insulation in ceilings, walls, and floors is often determined by the building or energy code requirements mandated at the time the structure was built.
  • Check to see if your attic and basement (or crawl space) have a sufficient level of insulation.
  • Consider adding insulation when embarking on a home remodeling project.
  • Install pipe insulation on all exposed hot water pipes.
  • Install pipe insulation on the first three feet of exposed cold water pipe connected to the water heater.

Heating and cooling

Heating and cooling your home is the largest single factor in your energy bill. These heating and cooling tips can help you to increase the efficiency. To get started, here are some basic tips:

    • Identify places that heat escapes from your home. Check for gaps and holes that allow heat to escape, raising your heating bills and making your home drafty and less comfortable.
      Check your furnace filter(s) monthly. During the heating season (also during the cooling season if you use air conditioning). The proper time interval for replacing or cleaning filters will vary depending on the rate of accumulation of pet hair, dust, and carpet lint in your home. Consider joining our automatic Filter Renewal Program. Call 800-398-4663 for details.
    • Lower your thermostat. On average, for each degree you consistently lower your thermostat, your heating energy consumption drops by two percent. Therefore, keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting (68 degrees or lower). Look into a programmable thermostat to help automate your heating and cooling system.
    • Seal your home’s unheated spaces. If ductwork goes through an unheated basement, attic or crawl space, check for leaky joints or disconnected sections. Seal leaky joints with latex duct mastic or foil backed butyl tape. Reconnect any loose sections, seal, and support.
    • Install weather stripping and door sweeps along with caulking any exposed cracks or missing seals. For a no-cost fix, roll up a bath towel and hold it against the bottom of the door with a weight.
    • Replace caulking around your home’s windows to reduce air leaks. Use non-hardening “rope caulk” to temporarily seal gaps on little-used, movable windows and sliding doors.
      If your home’s windows are single-paned, consider installing inexpensive “tape-up” interior storm windows for a low-cost, temporary fix. Caution: Make sure that doors and windows can be opened as emergency exits in case of fire.

Maintenance is a time consuming task, but extremely important to protect your investment in a home-comfort system. Put your maintenance on autopilot with our Guardian Maintenance Program.

If you don’t know where to start, we recommend a comprehensive Home Energy Audit. Our 3-hour home inspection will find opportunities to save you money and you’ll also receive a 20-page report on your home’s performance. Schedule a home energy audit today.

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What is the importance of a home energy audit?

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 2 Comments on What is the importance of a home energy audit?

Additionally, greater home energy usage has an impact on the local and global environment. When more energy is required to maintain your lifestyle, more waste and greenhouse gases are generated in the overall production of the energy you use. A home energy audit is a complete evaluation of your home and the areas where energy is used or lost. The results of this audit are valuable in many ways, helping you to achieve a more comfortable, energy-efficient, and cost-effective household for you and your family in Seattle.

A More Efficient Home

Your home’s energy usage is a direct reflection of its overall efficiency. When your home is drafty and your HVAC or plumbing system is poorly matched to your needs or in poor repair, it will take more energy to heat and cool your air and provide hot water throughout your home. The more energy your home uses, the less efficient it becomes, causing energy and resource waste as well as high costs over time. A home energy audit is designed to evaluate the overall efficiency of your home, as well as the factors that could be improved to increase efficiency and lower or eliminate energy waste. These factors include poor weather sealing that allows conditioned air to leak outside, dirty or damaged HVAC and plumbing appliances, and insufficient or deteriorating insulation that doesn’t help your home resist changes in indoor temperature due to weather and other influences. When these and other issues are identified and eliminated as the result of a home energy audit, your home will become more efficient and waste less energy to achieve the comfort and convenience you want, also lowering the waste associated with your home and your monthly utility bills.

A More Comfortable Home

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Many of the factors that affect home efficiency also impact home comfort as well. Whether your home is losing conditioned air to uninsulated spaces or even the outdoors, or your Seattle home’s HVAC system is working much harder than necessary to provide the heating and cooling you want, your comfort levels inside your house will suffer. By identifying the areas that need attention to eliminate energy loss, a home energy audit also paves the way toward a home that is more comfortable in terms of temperature, humidity, and air quality. When holes or cracks in your home’s exterior and ducts are sealed, you won’t feel cold drafts during the winter or a weak flow of air from your registers. A more efficient water heater means you’ll enjoy cleaner, faster hot water from every tap, reducing the amount of time it takes to bathe or perform other tasks. Improved insulation and more efficient HVAC appliances mean feeling comfortable in every single room of your home, rather than experiencing hot and cold spots; furthermore, a clean HVAC system and duct work allows you to breathe in cleaner, healthier air as well, which reduces respiratory discomfort, allergies, and asthma.

Your family can benefit from a professional home energy audit, identifying areas where your home comfort and energy usage can be improved. Contact us today to schedule your own personal home energy audit and for 24/7 HVAC service and repairs, always choose Washington Energy Services.

We also invite you to click through our blog for additional tips, information, and news.

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Energy-saving resolutions for 2016

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit No Comments on Energy-saving resolutions for 2016

 

Get a baseline.

What does your energy usage look like? Where is the most energy being wasted? Is your home performing at its optimum level? How can you improve it? These questions are nearly impossible to answer on your own. That’s where WES comes in. Our detailed Home energy audit will give you a thorough understanding of your home’s performance, including:

  • Customized color report detailing audit results
  • Prioritized list of opportunities to improve home’s performance
  • Tips to improve indoor air quality
  • Utility savings modeling on home
  • Detailed breakdown of available incentives and rebates

Go DIY.

Want to save some dough and stay in shape? Go DIY this year. While professionals should take on the more advanced projects, oftentimes, with a little elbow grease (and perhaps a YouTube how-to video), we can tackle the easier projects ourselves. Plus it’s a great step to staying in shape, allowing you to check two resolutions off your list. Take a look at these calorie-burning projects, courtesy of houselogic.com:

  • Building a fence: 340 calories per hour
  • Cleaning rain gutters: 272 calories per hour
  • Installing ceramic tile: 238 calories per hour
  • Interior painting: 136 calories per hour
  • Mowing the lawn: 306 calories per hour
  • Planting shrubs: 238 calories per hour
  • General gardening: 204 calories per hour

Save for the upgrades.

Are you budgeting for home upgrades? Whether you have an appliance that’s been on the fritz, drafty windows that have condensation, or a water heater that has felt rather cool lately, this could be the year to take the plunge and replace them. Or perhaps you just want to replace an older appliance with a more energy-efficient model. Either way, stash some cash away every month for upgrades.

Start upgrading.

If you’re operating appliances from the 90’s or early 2000’s (or yikes, even before) you’re spending too much on energy—plain and simple. Water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer/dryers can be huge energy wasters. Make 2016 the year you finally say goodbye to the energy hogs and say hello to sleek, energy-efficient models.

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Can we still boast our iconic Seattle weather? Hot summer trends and 2015 forecast.

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on Can we still boast our iconic Seattle weather? Hot summer trends and 2015 forecast.

(source) What’s next in the forecast? We live in a place known for its iconic rainy weather. Should we be changing our definition of Seattle? If you look at the trends expected for this summer, it might seem so.

Number of 80 degree days per year

 

The Weather in our area is getting progressively warmer, from 20 days over 80 degrees in 2010 to 45 days over 80 last year. That’s more than double the number of hot 80 degree days!

In 2014, 61 of the 73 days between the first day of summer and Labor Day were above 75. That means 81% of the summer it was over 75 degrees!

Do you remember where you were when it was 105 degrees in 2009? It was unbearably hot, but did you know that we also hit a high of 96 in 2014 and 93 in both of the two years prior. We’re having more peak heat – up near 100, more often.

The National Weather Service predicts another above average temperature summer for us in the Northwest this year. Here’s their forecast. The darker orange in the chart below means above average heat.

While the rest of the country is blasted by cold, our warmer weather is not expected to stop any time soon. No wonder more people are choosing heat pump or air conditioning systems in our area. Washington Energy Services provides energy efficient air conditioners and heat pumps to help keep Seattle cool. For more information or special offers, click or call 800-398-4663.

 

Source: http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/Seattle-sets-twin-records-for-warmest-February-winter-on-record-294516031.html

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Are there now federal energy tax credits for 2014?

Posted On: Filed Under: Ductless heat pump, Furnace 6 Comments on Are there now federal energy tax credits for 2014?

 

If you did some energy upgrades like high efficiency heating, cooling, insulation, windows, doors, a boiler or a tankless water heater in 2014, this free money could be for you!

Only the most energy efficient products can quality for federal tax credits. Here’s a short list, and the full details can be found at EnergyStar.gov. Contact your tax preparer or the IRS to determine your complete eligibility.

What is a federal energy tax credit? This is a credit you can take against taxes owed on your 2014 federal income tax form. The IRS previously had a restriction about how many of these credits you can take. We did not see anything published about that this year, so be sure to ask your tax preparer.

What is the amount of the 2014 tax credit? (source: energystar.gov)  

  • Windows/Doors: 10% of material cost up to $500, windows have a max of $200. Excludes installation portion of cost. Must be EnergyStar rated. (All of ours are).
  • Insulation/Sealing: 10% of material cost up to $500, excludes installation cost.

 

HVAC & Water heater system requirements to qualify:
Air Source or Ductless heat pumps $300: HSPF >= 8.5, EER >= 12.5, SEER >= 15
Central Air Conditioning $300: SEER>= 16; EER >= 13
Gas, Propane, or Oil Water Boiler $150: 95% AFUE or higher
Gas, Propane or Oil Furnace: $150: 95% AFUE or higher
Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan* $50: uses 2% or less of furnace’s total energy
Gas, Oil, Propane Water Heater $300: EF >= 0.82 OR a thermal eff. 90%.+
Electric Heat Pump Water Heater $300: EF>=2.0

 

This can be an added bonus on top of the great energy savings and comfort you can expect when you upgrade your heating, cooling, and water heating plus exterior products. If you are a Washington Energy customer, we can provide you with any product information your accountant requires for this tax credit.

*An Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan is an efficient fan, or blower motor which blows the air that your furnace heats up through the duct system. Requirements : Must use no more than 2% of the furnace’s total energy.

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Serving our community: Washington Energy supports disabled veterans and RallyPoint/6

Posted On: Filed Under: News 2 Comments on Serving our community: Washington Energy supports disabled veterans and RallyPoint/6

 

Naturally, this includes creating more comfortable, energy efficient homes through our primary services, but also giving back to our community through our WESCare program.

Rally Point Six

RallyPoint6 Opening in Lakewood Washington

About a year ago, we got a phone call from RallyPoint/6. They were an organization starting up in Lakewood with a mission to be the largest one-stop resource center for transitioning service members, National Guard and reservists, veterans and military families in Washington State.

Plumbing Services

Volunteer plumbing installs

At that time, RallyPoint/6 had a problem that we could solve, so we stepped in. They needed bathrooms plumbed for their new facility and with our commitment to donate our plumbing services to help disabled veterans, this was right up our alley. Our journeyman plumbers volunteered and got the sinks and toilets there piped in, installed and running. See the project. Ever since then, we have enjoyed a great relationship with RallyPoint/6, and appreciate them bringing us opportunities where we can provide our plumbing services to deserving veterans.

 

 

Veteran Harold Roberts

Veteran Harold Roberts

One recipient was Harold Roberts. The 92-year-old Purple Heart veteran of WWII and his wife were living in a house that had no hot water for six months.  That’s way too long to be boiling water on the stove. We were glad that RallyPoint/6 found out and gave us a call. We gave him a new water heater and fixed his plumbing. We were proud to put a smile on his face.

 

 

 

 

 

We are passionate about supporting our troops and thanking those who have served.  As an extension to our community volunteer work to support veterans, Washington Energy is also actively seeking to hire veterans for various positions including installers and service technicians.  More information on employment opportunities can be found on the Washington Energy website.

At Washington Energy, we look forward to our continued support of RallyPoint/6 and our country’s veterans.

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How green is a Seattleite?

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 1 Comment on How green is a Seattleite?

 

How green is a seattleite infographic?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How green is a Seattleite? – An infographic by the Green Team at How green is A Seattleite?

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Green resolutions your house can keep in 2014

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 2 Comments on Green resolutions your house can keep in 2014

 

As we have mentioned in previous articles, our homes are an important part of the eco-system in the Pacific Northwest. They produce carbon dioxide, use fuel and create waste. When it comes to easy ways to improve your carbon footprint, there is no place like home.

So our top ways to achieve your Green Resolutions in 2014 are home related:

1. Get a comprehensive home energy audit and consider energy saving upgrades.

home-audit-collage

2. Switch heating fuel from expensive oil and propane to cleaner natural gas or renewable electricity.

3. Replace your CFL bulbs with LED bulbs that don’t contain mercury and won’t adversely affect your health with excess UV rays when their coatings crack.

4. Conserve water. The world supply of fresh water is declining. There are many things you can do from using rainwater barrels for plant watering systems to planting hardier, native grass that needs less water in summer, to installing a low flow toilet. Plumbing can be very green.

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The question that our Home Energy Specialists often get is, where do I start?

Over the past two years we have implemented a home energy audit division at Washington Energy Services, and it has transformed how we think about your home. Having a home energy audit is a great place to start, because it is starting with science.

Taking ‘the home as a system’ approach, our BPI certified home auditors conduct a thorough (3 hour) inspection including comfort issues, air quality, equipment performance and safety. Unlike a do it yourself audit, this involves specialized equipment that can pinpoint the source of your discomfort and energy loss. After the audit, you will receive a detailed report, highlighting all findings but establishing priorities for comfort and energy saving. This process and report alone can begin your journey toward greener living.

We hope these 4 ideas for greener living inspire you. To learn more about home energy audits, contact us online or at 800-398-4663.

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5 easy green holiday ideas

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Heating No Comments on 5 easy green holiday ideas

 

1. Buy locally made presents.

Not only do you get to support your neighbor’s business but things that are made locally don’t have to be transported from the other side of the world. Less transportation equals less carbon emissions.

2. There are several Christmas tree options that are greener than cutting one down.

Getting a tree with a root ball that you can replant is more common now than in past years, and many garden centers will have them. Just replant it when you are done, and it will clean carbon dioxide from the air for many years to come. And if you can’t fit it into your yard, some stores, such as Swanson’s Nursery in Shoreline, work with organizations who have sites for replanting.

Or for a little more radical approach, combine having a lit tree with lighting your home exterior to save energy. Just decorate a tree that is already outside of your house but visible from your living room or family room window. At night, it will shine right in. Then create fun decorations and recycle them after the holidays.

In addition, choose LED light strings as they use 75% less electricity than conventional ones and emit less heat. That way you can out-shine the neighbors AND save energy.

3. Stock your party with eco-friendly liquors and foods.

You may already shop organic but did you know there are “green” spirits. For those who imbibe, they can create an organic holiday cocktail with certified organic vodka, rum or gin and some organic juices. An online search of “organic vodka Seattle” will point you to several local distilleries (so you can get credit for idea #1 too!).  Even national brands now have organic options, for example, American Harvest, an organic vodka from the makers of Grey Goose.  (And of course, drink responsibly).

4. If you are giving toys or electronics that are battery powered, also give a rechargeable battery and charger kit.

This saves money on batteries and hazardous waste in landfills.  And give the gift of a power strip with new computers, TVs, games or audio systems. It’s easy to save electricity by turning the strip off when not in use.

5. EnergyStar.gov (the Department of Energy) says this is a big time of year for home appliance purchases.

Are you getting a washer/dryer set for someone special? (Yourself!). Choose appliances that are EnergyStar qualified, as they are engineered for energy savings. Some EnergyStar appliances may cost more upfront, but will save enough energy to be worth it over their lifespan.

Washington Energy Services wishes you the happiest and green-est of holidays. We carry the best EnergyStar qualified heating and window products and will be here 24/7 if you need assistance, at 800-398-4663.

 

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Energy action starts at home – with the air you breathe

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit No Comments on Energy action starts at home – with the air you breathe

 

During house construction, small holes are drilled to run plumbing, wiring, skylights, TV and other cables as well as heating and air conditioning ductwork. These small holes collectively equal a hole the size of a basketball. Imagine that in your living room wall!

These holes create a direct air exchange between the attic and living space, allowing unwanted pollutants to circulate into the home and at the same time wasting valuable energy. You would never consider breathing the air from your attic or crawl space as your primary air source but that is exactly what is happening.
Using a child’s drawing to illustrate the point, this creates a direct air exchange between the attic (the triangle) and living pace (the square,) allowing unwanted pollutants to circulate through your home and wasting energy.

How do contaminants get into your home
When your house was built many small holes were drilled to run all of the pipes, wiring, etc.

The solution is simple, separate the square from the triangle by sealing your holes and ductwork. The result will be a healthier and more energy efficient home.

How to breathe easier?  

Getting started is easy. Choose an audit company, such as Washington Energy, who is committed to providing only the highest quality audits. The first step would be a 26 point home comfort and energy assessment. Also known as a home energy audit, this is not just a walk through with a clip board. Expect the auditor to be there for 3 hours conducting detailed tests and inspections. (It’s fun too.). The assessment they perform gives you the current health and energy use of your home, and provides a clear plan for making improvements, with energy smart suggestions not selling. And depending on the needs of the home, there may be utility rebates and federal tax credits that can apply.

Washington Energy has already made improvements to hundreds of homes and has an A rating on Angies list for Home Energy Auditing. To get your $199 home energy assessment, call Washington Energy Services at 800-398-4663 or click today.

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