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"Green" living

Check Out These Energy Efficient Tools to Use Inside Your Home

There are many ways to help the environment but one extremely important way is to ensure energy efficiency inside your home. Starting with things as simple as unplugging your devices or charging cords when not in use can help tremendously and even save you some cash. 

Many devices, when left plugged in, cause what is called a phantom load. A phantom load happens when a device uses electricity while turned off. If unplugging these devices seems like too much of a hassle, investing in advanced power strips could be beneficial for you. Advanced power strips can tell when a device or charger is not being used and will automatically shut off power to those devices. Another option is smart outlets. A lot of smart outlets will just plug in to your current outlet and work similarly to the advanced power strips. Some can even be controlled by an app on your mobile device. 

Easy come easy glow, another easy fix is switching to LED light bulbs. According to, lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill so switching to the energy efficient LED light bulb would save you tremendously. Energy star logo

Read this to lighten your day!

I bought a book about lamps and bulbs, just in case I wanted to do a little light reading.

The more expensive fixes involve energy efficient appliances. If you don't know where to start, look for appliances that are certified by Energy Star (logo shown to the right). These products are guaranteed to help save the environment and save you money. According to the igs energy website, using your washer and dryer, TV, refrigerator, and AC over a years time could cost upwards of $700 in just electric bills. Switching to Energy Star certified appliances could cut these costs down significantly. 

Your HVAC costs you the most of any appliance annually. If yours seems to be costing you an outrageous amount, you'll want to make sure you don't have an inadequate unit or inadequate insulation/windows. Making sure that your home has the proper amount of insulation is a key component in having an efficient HVAC unit. Even if your home is well insulated, windows that aren't properly insulated can render that almost useless. In areas with more extreme climates, it's best to have double or even triple pane windows. You also have to make sure any access to the outdoors is sealed properly (i.e. doorways, windows, attic access). Hint: Look for windows and doors that have the Energy Star certification.

Read this to lighten your day!

What do you call an appliance that brainwashes the atmosphere? ...An air conditioner.

Screen Shot 2021-07-15 at 10.37.44 AMUse your ceiling fans! Ceiling fans are the most efficient way to cool and heat your home without using your HVAC. If you're thinking "Why did she say heat?", did you know that you can reverse your ceiling fan? Pushing the switch on the base of your fan (like the one on the left) will switch the way the blades rotate. Instead of pushing down cold air, this pushes down the hot air that rises during the colder months. 

Adding a fireplace to your home is the hot new trend. When you think of a fireplace you probably assume it's already energy efficient, as a simple wood burning fireplace doesn't use electricity at all. But if you're thinking of installing the most cost effective and environmentally friendly fireplace, a wood burning fireplace is not the way to go. An EPA certified wood stove is the best option if you still want that cabin in the woods feel. The best option for environmental health, depending on where your homes power is sourced, is an electric fireplace. The overall best option for both the environment and energy efficiency is a gas or propane fireplace. 

Read this to lighten your day!

A house without a fireplace will never be a home, a home is where the hearth is...

If you live in a household where you use a lot of hot water, it would be beneficial to find an energy efficient water heater. Energy Star also certifies water heaters, so keep your eyes peeled for that logo. The most energy efficient water heater is a solar water heater. The only downside is the initial cost to install solar. Condensing water heaters seem to be the next best contender but they are made for heavy duty use, so they are bulky units. The seemingly overall best option is a tankless water heater. According to, these water heaters supply unlimited hot water so you can shower, run the dishwasher, and do a load of laundry all at once. 

There's too much energy conversation and not enough energy conservation, let's walk the talk. Some of these items can be easily switched out without the need for a contractor, but others not so much. If you're looking for someone to install those more difficult items, give us a call at 209-772-9200 or toll free at 800-498-1833.