How to Save on Energy Costs When Hosting Guests this Holiday Season

If you’ve ever hosted guests in your home for an extended period of time then you know that this can start to take a toll on your energy bills. With the holiday season in full swing, many homeowners have plans to host guests over a long holiday weekend or even just have friends and family over for dinner or a party. Below, we’ll offer some energy-saving tips that you can use to cut down on energy costs while you’re having fun with your loved ones.

Energy-Saving Tips for Hosting Holiday Guests

Whether you have guests staying in your home for the holidays or you plan on having a dinner party, the holiday season can be a time of high energy usage. Use the tips below to save on energy costs during the holidays.

Adjust the temperature and lighting once your guests arrive.

If you are hosting a party or having loved ones over for dinner, you can adjust the temperature and lighting to save more energy during the festivities. More bodies in the room means more heat. Not to mention, your home starts to heat up if you have been cooking all day. This is the perfect time to adjust your thermostat and save some energy. Once guests start to arrive, turn the thermostat down a bit to take advantage of the energy savings.

You can also adjust the lighting in your home to save energy when entertaining guests. If you have the holiday lights on, consider turning off other lights in your home that are not being used to better enjoy the holiday decorations. You may also opt for candles or other, more energy-efficient lighting that will help you save more energy while hosting guests.

Cook more efficiently.

If you are planning on making dinner for your guests, you can save energy by trying to cook more efficiently. Here are just a few ways that you can save energy while preparing holiday meals:

  • Don’t open the oven door to look at what’s baking inside as this lowers the temperature inside, which can increase cook times and waste energy. If you have to look, turn on the oven light and check through the window.
  • Try to cook several items at the same time. This cuts down on the amount of time that you need to have your oven on throughout the day, helping you save energy.
  • Clean your burners and reflectors before you start cooking. This provides better heating which can save energy and cut down energy costs.
  • Use other, more energy efficient appliances when possible. Don’t forget your microwave. This appliance not only cooks quickly, but it also uses about 50% less energy than the conventional oven, so utilize it when you can.

Need to make sure that your HVAC system is working efficiently before your guests arrive? Call the HVAC experts at Air Conditioning Systems for an annual maintenance visit to make sure you all will stay comfortable this holiday season: (925) 270-1613.

The True Meaning Of Energy Management Systems

Effective energy management employs the use of energy management systems on several levels. One definition of an energy management system is a system of computer-aided tools, that are used to generate, monitor, optimize and deliver energy throughout a utility grid to households and business within a certain area. This definition covers the smallest aspect of what an energy management system really is. In fact, effective energy management is much more than a series of computers and software that regulate and distribute power to our homes and businesses.

 

Energy management on a smaller scale

Energy management systems also include the use of energy efficient systems within a household or business such as smart thermostats and energy efficient heating and cooling systems. These smaller types of computer aided management systems can monitor and adjust temperatures and ventilation within a building to control and lower energy consumption. Also, new cloud-based energy management systems allow for effective monitoring and control over HVAC systems in smaller business to help maintain lower operating costs and provide vital information of energy consumption to business owners.

 

Energy management systems and the home

Besides using smart thermostats and energy efficient HVAC systems, homeowners can use energy management at home to save energy and lower utility bills. Proper home energy management begins with, monitoring and changing energy-wasting habits, performing upgrades on older heating and cooling systems, and making repairs to areas that cause heating and cooling loss.

 

The big meaning of energy management

For an energy management system to be effective, it must involve three processes. The first process is monitoring. This includes metering and collecting data on energy consumption. The second process is control. Control is the process of eliminating areas where there is energy waste. This could mean adding more insulation to a building or replacing older inefficient lighting. The third process is conservation. Conservation not only includes saving energy in a building but as an organization as well. This process not only involves the upgrading of equipment and energy systems; it involves the training and teaching of energy saving techniques and habits to employees and staff. It is an energy-saving attitude of an organization, company or household that truly makes an energy management system effective.

Follow us for more tips and information on how to keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

How Much Solar Energy Can A Solar Panel System Produce In My Home?

 

The amount of electricity a solar panel can produce is dependent on three main things. These are panel size, the amount of sunlight it’s exposed to and the efficiency of the internal solar cells. Here, we’ll illustrate solar energy production from a typical panel, as well as the comparison between power output versus power required to power an average home.

 

 

Maximum Power Rating Meaning

Solar panels come with a number (usually at the back) that indicates the amount of power they’ll yield in ideal conditions. This is known as the maximum power rating. The panels are usually lab-tested using ‘peak sun’, which is about one kilowatt of sunlight for each square meter of the surface. This equates to the sun’s power at midday, at the equator during a sunny day.

Working out Solar Panel Output for Particular Locations

Since you most likely don’t reside around the equator, your roof’s  sunlight exposure will be different.  This varies with the time of day, weather and season. The maximum power rating is therefore not applicable when trying to predict how much power can be obtained from a solar panel.

Nevertheless, one can do some calculations to get an idea of how a panel will work in their area. There are sites where one can input their address to get specific details about the amount of sunlight that hits their house on average. This also provides the option of entering a particular model of solar panel and its square footage of the panel coverage on their roof.

Power Rating of an Average Panel

Most solar panels will produce about 200W. This could vary, depending on the size and efficiency of the panel. Highly efficient models are usually expensive, and are only necessary for those whose roofs offer limited space. We can work with you to determine how much power you’ll need and the size of the panel to meet the requirements.

Power Consumption

The average house consumes about 958 KWh a month. This varies according to location and season. Most of the power is consumed at night, with the exception of households where people continuously inhabit/work in the house during the day.

Solar panels only generate power during the day. Though batteries can be used for storage, an easier and cheaper option is to remain connected to the grid. If the panels produce more energy than is used, the power flows back to the grid. In most places, utility companies offer net metering, a program that compensates for the extra power that one produces. With such a system, one doesn’t have to worry about energy needs.

Follow our blog for more information on heating, cooling, and keeping your home energy efficient.

How To Cut Cooling Costs This Summer

Prepare to cut cooling costs before summer even arrives with simple checks and tips. Households are using more and more energy every year, most of which is from air conditioning systems. When cooling systems are not maintained, they consume more power. By remembering to clean filters, program thermostat, inspect air vents and doing other minor checks, you can save money, protect the environment and keep your home cool.

Seal All Holes

Every ounce of cool air that comes out of your vents is precious. When it escapes, your cooling system is not as effective and you end up keeping it on longer than you should. To stop air from escaping, make sure all the holes in your home are sealed. From the kitchen to the basement, sweep your property for any holes and plug them up with plastic film, caulking or foam for better insulation.

If you own a window-unit conditioner, you can fit it with its own electrical circuit to keep the system from overloading. Closing vents and doors of rooms that are not used can also help prevent overloading. According to the Energy of Department, taking these simple measures can trim your energy costs by 20%.

Program Thermostat

You can take advantage of programmable thermostats to save energy. All you have to do is program thermostat to let temperature rise a bit when you are not at home. This means conditioners do not have to work that hard, which leads to big savings in the long run. If you want to learn how to program your thermostat properly, you can visit www.energystar.gov for a step-by-step guide.

Clean Filters

Dirty filters not only clog up air, but can also cause conditioners to malfunction. Standard conditioner filters can usually be found in ceilings, walls or even in the unit itself. Filters in central air conditioning systems are normally located along the return duct. If you are not sure where your filters are located, it is safer to let a professional do it for you. The Department of Energy states that clean filters can save you up to 15% in costs.

Service Your Unit Once Per Year

Asking for a maintenance check from professionals should not be an option but a necessity. Not every problem can be fixed at home and trying to might be dangerous. Specialists conduct thorough inspections, repair, and restore or renew any damaged parts. From cleaning filters to recharging Freon, professional services can have your conditioner working like a dream for many years to come.

The easiest way to reduce your energy bill is to make sure that your air conditioner is at its best. It is also important to ensure your home is sealed to keep as much cool air in as possible. Although some tasks like cleaning filters can be safely done at home, having a pro fine tune your unit can help it run smoother for longer.