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Energy Efficiency, How To


Saving energy at home: Heating and air conditioning 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If you've added replacement windows and vinyl siding, and you're looking for more ways you can cut down your energy usage around the house, try following these simple tips provided by Adam Dachis of Lifehacker. Depending on where you live, you may be spending more on air conditioning or heat. Here in New England, we need both.

Keep your vents open, and clean. For central air and heat, many people think that closing vents to a seldom-used room will save money, but that's actually not the case. Closing vents will lead to increased energy usage. The vents have filters to keep debris from getting into your air flow, and these should be replaced monthly.

Improving the airflow of the home will benefit your energy bill and your health. When it's hot out, heat will escape your home in the highest spots since heat rises. Using a standing fan, you can position it to keep the air moving where you want it to go, like up high when it's warm out. When it's cold outside and you want to trap the heat, position the fans to push the heat lower, keeping more of it in your home. Fans don't cool the air off like some people think, they just move it around. However, using fans in this way can help promote better airflow throughout your home. Using a fan is also much cheaper than blasting the heat or air conditioning. 

For the home's exterior, contractors, architects and homeowners can count on Mercury Excelum's quality products to help save energy throughout the year. Contact us for a brochure on all of our products. 

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Fix problem areas to slash energy bills 

Monday, February 1, 2016

This winter, U.S. families will see their energy bills rise as they turn the thermostats up to keep warm. A lot of that money is wasted when warm air leaks out of drafty old windows or attics. An energy audit can identify the problem areas for a house, and quality products can cut down on wasted energy.

Heating and cooling
Your heating and cooling systems are often the biggest culprits, according to ABC News 7's Consumer Reports. A programmable thermostat will give you more control over the temperature in your home. Smart thermostats can even learn your activities and automatically turn the heat or air conditioning down when you're not there. 

Light bulbs
LED bulbs use 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and can last 20 years or longer. Replacing old bulbs with LED bulbs will save money every year. 

Appliances
Many appliances like refrigerators, microwaves or washing machines are now available in efficient, Energy Star models that use less energy and save a great deal of money over time. If your appliances are over 10 years old, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient Energy Star models. 

Windows
Window frames can warp over time, creating gaps that let heat out of the house. Even the smallest gaps can cost significant money over time, and lead to uncomfortable drafts. Energy-efficient replacement windows can be installed to maintain a strong seal and keep the warm air inside. 

Mercury Excelum has been making quality home products since 1953. Contact us to learn more about how we can help make your home more energy efficient. 

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Saving energy in the home: appliances 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fixing drafty spots is one way to lower your energy bills, but you can also slash your usage around the house by following these simple tips provided by Adam Dachis of Lifehacker. 

Clothes washers and driers
When you're washing your clothes, 90 percent of the energy comes from heating the water. Washing your clothes on the cold setting will save heat. When filling the drier, don't pack it all the way full. Your clothes won't have room to move, and you'll have to run the drier again to get them fully dry and you'll waste energy. Some utility companies offer lower rates during non-peak hours, usually after 8:00 p.m. Check your utility company to see if they offer these special rates, If so, wash your clothes during off-peak hours to save money. 

Dishwashers
Don't pre-rinse for too long, since it wastes water. Just rinse your plates and dishes long enough to get bits of food off, and don't worry about getting all the food residue off (that's what the dishwasher is for). Use a good detergent, instead of a cheap one. The quality of your detergent can make a big difference. 

Load your dishwasher efficiently so it's not overflowing. Take advantage of the rack sizes: put larger dishes at the bottom, with cups, bowls and glasses up top. Cups and glasses should face down, and bowls should be slanted on their sides. Face plates towards the center of the washer, so the tops of your plates will get the most water. Place utensils in their designated containers, with the sharp ends facing up, but be careful not to prick yourself. 

Other appliances
Although other appliances don't make as much of an energy impact as the above, there are some that do stand out. TVs (particularly plasma screens), modern video game systems, electric kettles and computers can all use a good deal of energy. Some people leave their computers on all the time, which is wasteful. With the exception of the electric kettle, these are all devices that tend to be left on for long periods of time when they're not being used. Turning all of these devices off when they're not being used can be a pain, but a simple solution is to plug them all in to the same power strip, and just turn the strip off when you're not using them. 

Outside of the house, you can rely on Mercury Excelum's quality products to help you save energy throughout the year. Contact us for a brochure on all of our products. 

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