Audit Insulation to Lower Utility Bills

Brought to you by American Power & Gas

Every household faces a big headache every month. This is when the mail comes and they get to see the bills from various utility companies. Utility bills are no joke. They tend to sum up to a hefty amount of money and it can consume a big bulk of the monthly budget. This is why considering strategies to know how to lower utility bills is an important matter.

There are many ways to lower your monthly utility bills and save money. First, audit your energy bills to make sure that you are getting a competitive rate on your energy supply. The energy professionals at American Power & Gas can help you with your bills. Second, turn your attention to your home. To get started you need to take time to inspect the whole house and see the options that you have. Audit your household, particularly the insulation. See the various changes that you can do to make energy use more efficient. This will be of big significance to your family in the years to come.

Audit InsulationAudit insulation

Audit insulation requires proper evaluation of the different factors in the household that contribute to energy use. This focuses on areas that don’t need the use of energy. Windows and doors are examples of spots where use of insulation is difficult. Knowing what these elements are will help you effectively determine how to maximize their use with the least amount of energy needed. This means being more efficient in your energy consumption so that money won’t be wasted. Never underestimate the importance of auditing your insulation system.

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Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are areas that you have to double check for leaks. Your heating or cooling system will exhaust more energy if these areas are problematic. Be sure that your doors and windows are energy efficient. You can have these checked by feeling the temperature in the areas outside. You can also get a contractor to conduct tests for other possible leaks. You can also take into account other areas like the basement and crawlspaces.

Attics

Attics are normally seen as another storage room for old things. Still, don’t underestimate their role. Attics should have vents to maintain good circulation. You don’t need to add insulation here if the circulation is good enough. Be sure that there are no holes in the ceiling where air can escape from the attic. Sealing the possible holes can save you a big bulk of your energy consumption.

Warm your feetFireplaces

The fireplace is a typical element for houses that go through colder climates. It is primarily used to get the smoke out of the house. However, they can pose problems, especially when not in use. The fireplace can continue to direct out the heat even if you don’t plan that. If it does, then your heating system will require more energy in order to sustain the requirements of the household. Be sure that your flue is closed when not in use. When this is left open, the heat in your house will leak out.

Once you have called American Power & Gas about your energy supply and audited the insulation in your household you will be ready for the colder weather coming. Make sure you have taken care of your home so it can take care of you this winter. Securing the proper insulation in areas in the house is one effective way to lower your utility bills and save more for the family. Look for more energy saving winterizing tips from the experts at American Power & Gas.

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Fall Home Energy Savings Tips: Preparing for Winter

Brought to you by American Power & Gas

Whether you like it or not and whether you are prepared or not, winter is coming. It is not the time to sit on your couch and wait for it to come like doomsday; it is time to make sure you are prepared!

Winter Forest

Winter means one thing: cold air. But for those who are conscious enough to notice, winter means larger electric bills. Yes, it is true. Winter is the season of the year where your electric bills skyrocket. Why? It’s simple. We need to keep our homes warm. Our home should be the right temperature to make us comfortable. The modern way to do this is by turning on our heating system. This consumes the biggest portion of our electric bill. Fortunately, we have the whole fall season to prepare for it. To prepare means that we must have the right tools and proper information on how to save during the coming season.

Your energy supplier– Check your electric bill and call American Power & Gas to have an explanation of the delivery and supply charges. Also, speak with an American Power & Gas representative about your options with money-saving energy or earth-saving green energy.

Chimney SweepThe fireplace – Getting your fireplace ready will certainly lead to better savings; and fall is the best time to clean and repair our fireplace. Make sure that the dumper is tightly sealed when not in use. A small space would let the cold air rush in and send the warm air out. If you are using an electric heating system, an opening on the fireplace would mean more work to maintain the warmth. Let a professional contractor to do the proper maintenance. They are capable of properly securing your fireplace. When you decide to use the fireplace, you can turn down your heater. Doing this can save you as much as 8% on your heating costs.

The duct – Small leaks on duct will certainly result in heat loss, so make sure that this is regularly checked. Usually ducts are located on unheated places, which is another reason why heat is lost. Insulate the ducts by wrapping it with R-6 or higher fiberglass. Never use cloth-backed tapes. You can also wrap them with UL-approved metallic or plastic tapes and mastic sealants. Leaking ducts create 30% more work for your heating system, so make sure they are sealed and secured.

The furnace – The furnace will put in extra effort if the filter is full of dirt. This will equate to energy waste since the furnace will consume more power against the service it brings. To avoid this, make sure that your filter is clean. The owner’s manual will tell you how to clean the filter. A clean filter will let you breathe clean air around your house. As a bonus, a clean filter saves you 5% on heating costs.

Living RoomThe solar heat – You do not need to have solar panels on your roof to use the sun as the source of heat. All you have to do is open your drapes during the day to warm your room without using electricity. Make sure that you close them at night to keep the warm air inside. Reduction of the use of heating system during the day will let you cut as much as 10% on your electric consumption.

The openings – Openings on your doors, windows, joints, and sills will let the cold air from outside in and the warm air from the inside out. Make sure that these openings are sealed with either sealant or weather-stripping. It will help reduce the work of the heating system immensely.

The thermostat – A programmable thermostat or a centralized heating system will let you save on heating costs. The programmable thermostat will let you set your desired room Water Heatertemperature for a specific period of the day. This is useful if you are leaving your home or are going to sleep elsewhere.
The centralized heating system, on the other hand, will give you the ultimate control on the temperature of every room. These will let you decide how warm a room could be. One interesting thing to note is that a centigrade lower on your heating system will save you as much as 5% on your heating cost.


The water heater
– Households can set the heating system between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is ideal on both mobile homes and regular homes.

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Call American Power & Gas at (800)201-9011 today to discuss your options for lowering your energy supply cost.

How to Install a Programmable Thermostat for Lower Bills

Brought to you by American Power & Gas

Bill HeadachePaying the utility bills can be such a big headache. They often take a big portion of the budget for any household. Thus, it is a good idea to learn how to lower your utility bills. There are various options that can help you achieve that goal. One of the quickest ways to do this is to install a programmable thermostat in your house.

Deciding to install a programmable thermostat in your household will definitely be good decision. Purchasing a decent programmable thermostat does not need to be expensive. The price can range from $55 to $100. This may seem pricey for some people, especially for those who have more than one heating or cooling unit in their household. However, you will enjoy more savings from your lower utility bills. The purchase price is merely a small outlay to keep you from paying more expenses.

Today, the energy costs of an average household are comprised largely of the heating and cooling system. This can range from 50% to 70%. The thermostat works by lowering the use of electricity by 1% for every eight hours of use of the cooling or heating unit. Considering this significance, you can’t ignore the importance of deciding properly on the type of thermostat that you will install.

Different Types of Thermostats

There are different types of thermostats that you can find on the market. They are generally classified as electromechanical and electronic. Each has its own features for your own use and convenience. They also have certain complexities that you should consider for your own circumstances.

Electromechanical ThermostatsThermostat

These devices are sensitive to the changes in temperature in the environment to properly adjust the energy needed to be supplied by the thermostat. Most of these are made of mercury bulbs. Mercury is used to properly contact the environment and trigger the heating or cooling action. This kind has to be handled with care because mercury is toxic and hazardous to people. There are also electromechanical types that make use of sensing devices, either a strip or a bi-metal coil, rather than the mercury. This equipment will require special skills and tools. Make sure you leave the task of installation to the professionals.

Electronic or Programmable Thermostats

Electronic thermostats operate by using electronic elements that can sense heat. The circuits in the system will then turn on the heating or cooling component of the equipment depending on the temperature changes. These are commonly known as the programmable types. Choosing the programmable thermostat is definitely a better choice. People tend to forget Blue Thermostatthings, and even the most organized person will do so when distractions get in the way. Setting the thermostat could be one of those important things that you might just forget. This won’t help your effort to lower utility bills.

The programmable thermostat can do the task for you at all times. You don’t need to worry about setting the right temperature when you aren’t home if you have this type of thermostat installed in your household. It solves the problem by setting the program to conform to the time or temperature in the environment. You can easily schedule the temperature to change depending on the activities that you will do throughout the week. It saves you energy, as well your time and effort.

Non-Programmable Digital Thermostats

This type of thermostat is known for utilizing temperature sensing-devices that are solid-state. The device is known as the thermistor. They are easier to install. Any person with basic knowledge on control wiring can hook this up. However, it is best to hire a professional to avoid any mistakes and undesirable consequences.

There are many different kinds of thermostats that you can choose from on the market. All it takes is for you to choose the right kind for your household and have it installed. This is something you have to do to effectively lower your utility bills. This way you can save more. You can also save money by lowering your energy supply cost. Contact the professionals at American Power & Gas today.

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Types of Alternative Home Energy

Brought to you by American Power & Gas

Home energy consumption is one of the main problems for people today. The fact is we all need electricity to power our Eco-Friendlylives. We need the level of civilization that can be provided by electricity. However, most people think that the price they pay is just too much for the amount of electricity they get to consume.

In the true spirit of humanity, people did what they always do whenever there’s something that does not completely satisfy them: they innovated.

Alternative home energy has been on the roll ever since people have made designs efficient enough to make them feasible. People may think that alternative energy is a recent development, but in fact, alternative home energy has been around even before electricity was discovered.

Consider these types of alternative home energy:

1) Wind energy – Nowadays, windmills are used in homes to run small generators. These generators produce and store electricity to be used in running small home appliances. However, windmills have been around for a long time. If you take a look at the word “windmill” you will realize that this type of alternative home energy device was used for a purpose other than producing electricity.

Yes, the windmill was indeed used to mill grain. As you may know, grinding grain my hand is very hard work. So in order to make life more convenient and the production of flour more efficient, windmills were used to turn the large grinders.

Seeing as how this was so effective, it was inevitable that the windmill evolve into the 21st century in order to be used as a power source. American Power & Gas uses wind energy to power thousands of residential and commercial properties in New York and Pennsylvania.

Sunny Days2) Solar energy – Many people think of this type of alternative home energy as something that’s technologically advanced. In a sense, harnessing the power of the sun to produce electricity is, but this alternative home energy has already been in use for a long, long time.

Think about this word for a second: clothesline. Aha, you get it now, don’t you? Yes, we have been using solar energy to dry our clothes for ages. Think about that spin dryer or hair dryer you have and think about how much electricity it uses to do a task that the sun has been able to do for years, albeit at a slower pace.

This alternative home energy is harnessed nowadays for a variety of tasks. Some use it to heat their homes, others use solar power to heat water, and other people use solar cells to power small appliances and save a little on that electricity bill. The efficiency by which we are now able to convert solar power into electricity is of such a degree that it is very possible to power a whole house! Now, isn’t that amazing?

3) Hydropower – This type of alternative home energy makes use of water currents in order to turn turbines to run generators. Once again, this is not really a new technology. Like windmills, waterwheels were often used to harness the power of a nearby river in order to grind grain into flour.

Power Bubbles4) Biogas – This is another alternative home energy source. Bio-gas is produced naturally via the decomposition of different biological material. By using biogas instead of the common LPG, home owners can cut back on their heating bills.

As you can see, there are many different types of alternative home energy. What you should do is explore these options and discover which type is the best for you to use. You have also been informed as to how we have used these energy sources in the past and how they are being used today.

Unfortunately, some of the methods of harnessing these different alternative home energy types may yet seem impractical to the common homeowner. However, as technology continues to evolve, you can be sure that the use of alternative energy will be more efficient.

By using alternative home energy, you accomplish two things: you save on your expenses and you help create a better world. You see, alternative home energy sources do not produce any harmful effects to the environment. By using these sources, you harness relatively free energy. Some people may say that the devices used to harness these sources may be too expensive, but in the long run, you’ll end up saving so much more than you spend. American Power & Gas is committed to bringing you information on alternative energy sources, reducing your consumption and bring awareness to environmental issues.

Solar Energy – It is Popular. So Why is it Not Yet Widely Used?

The fact is, the 350,000,000 terawatts of power available from the sun is huge. The earth receives enough energy from the sun in an hour to supply the world’s energy requirement for the whole year.  Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of it is harnessed and the world still relies on power plants that burn fossil fuels. The good thing is that there is a constant increase in demand for solar energy; and over the years of continuous development, solar panels are much cheaper today.

Compare the 350,000,000 terawatts of energy from the sun with energy that is generated by nuclear and fossil fuel. Presently, the available data for fossil and nuclear fuel is 10,800,000 terawatts, which we all know to be non-renewable.

To produce electricity, utility companies burn fossil fuels that translate to 1.3 pounds of carbon dioxide to produce 1kw of electrical power. This unwanted CO2 emissions are dumped into the atmosphere. This then translates into each typical home being accountable yearly for 22,000 pounds of CO2 emissions; this can be eliminated with American Power & Gas. The average business can remove over 40,000lbs of CO2 by using going green with American Power & Gas.

The harvesting of the sun’s rays is clean and safe. It produces no emissions, it’s practical, and may in the years ahead prove very economical.

During peak hours, the maximum power density that the sun can give is about 1kW per square meter. In other words, one square meter of solar panel can produce as much as 100 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity in one year. That is enough to power 50,000 houses.

If a solar power plant is built on 1% of the total land area of the Sahara desert, it will satisfy the world’s energy requirement.

The efficiency of solar panels depends on several factors such as pollution, clouds, temperature and atmospheric humidity.

Solar power plants are very similar to other conventional power plants – with one significant difference: The majority of power plants draw their power from fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas.

When power plants burn fossil fuels, they produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Solar power plants or solar thermal power plants (or Concentrating Solar Power plants) utilize the power of the sun’s rays to generate electricity.

The process could not be any simpler. The solar panels receive heat from the sun, which will be reflected to the receiver. The receiver converts into steam the concentrated solar energy. The steam is stored on tanks which will be used to turn the turbines and generate electricity.

The whole process does not involve any burning of any fossil fuels. Thus, solar power plants and wind farms, such as the ones used by American Power & Gas, do not contribute to global warming.

The increase in the use of solar energy will bring down the demand for oil. Yet, In the United States, only 0.1% of power that is generated is solar energy driven. So what are the obstacles?

One obstacle is that the power grid in the United States which was designed more than 100 years ago is now so congested in many regions. To deliver the solar power to consumers, scientists and engineers will have to come out with another cost efficient plan to transfer huge amounts of energy from one location to another.

Residential solar energy systems can turn your electric meter backwards. Given that you are connected on a power-grid, the excess energy that your solar energy system produces will go to the electric lines to be used by other homes. As a result, any excess energy you give will be reflected on your bills. Your electric supplier will even pay for the electricity you supplied.

While the initial cash out for installing solar energy system at home is big, the device will pay for itself in the long run. Not only will you save money on solar energy systems, you also help the environment by not contributing to carbon emissions. In addition, solar energy systems are reliable and can last for a very long time.

PV cells last from 25 to 40 years. Many manufacturers of solar panels give 25 years product warranty. This is the assurance that solar panels are very dependable. In addition, solar panels require little or no maintenance and the can be installed on most places where there is sunlight throughout the year.

Other forms of rewards to avoid fossil fuel use should still be effectively placed. The 30% tax cut to projected cost previously awarded will be more attractive if other federal credits are included to encourage further investments.

The global warming issue that has been brought to the papers is a recurrent subject of talk shows and remains to be a good news item. Also, the too unstable pump prices, should and for most part, already be a good incentive to use this alternative source of energy. 

However, effective solar energy transmission to homes will remain to be very hard unless these obstacles are breached. Assuming that these obstacles are solved today, it will still take some 10 years to convert 20% of American homes into solar energy users. Meanwhile, solar panels on individual homes remain to be the most viable alternative.

The good part to solar energy quest is that technology is advancing very rapidly. Nano technology for solar power is being developed and may be available in five years’ time. Other breakthroughs in cell designs are also being developed that could, in the next few years, be a cost-effective way of generating energy without having to rely anymore on fossil and nuclear power.