Posts Tagged ‘Energy Efficiency’

Energy Savings: Tips for Your Home

Reducing your household energy use can entail anything from small changes in your day-to-day behavior to making wise investments in your home for a more sustainable future. Conserving energy will save your household money on utility bills and protect the environment from the harsh effects of excess energy usage, making these changes smart choices for any homeowner. Read on to learn ways to generate energy savings for your home. 

How to Produce More Energy Savings For Your Home

Kick Your Energy-Draining Habits to the Curb

Going green without putting your budgets in the red may sound like a challenge, but you can start making energy-saving choices today that will not only cost you anything but will actually save you money. 

Changing your daily behavior is one of the simplest ways to control your energy consumption. From turning lights off when you leave a room to turning up your thermostat while you’re away from home, small changes in your daily routine can make big improvements in your energy usage. For example, the energy required to keep the lights on in the average household makes up 12% of utility bills. So, the next time you go to walk out the door, make the simple, conscious choice to turn off the light behind you. 

There are various other steps you can take to make smarter choices throughout your home to leave any old energy-wasting habits in the past, including:

  • Regularly cleaning or replacing air filters
  • Using blinds, shades, and drapes in the warmer months to block out excess heat
  • Using cold water to wash your clothes
  • Opting to air-dry your clothes rather than relying on a dryer
  • Turning off your bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans whenever they’re no longer necessary
  • Allowing your dishes to air dry after a dishwasher cycle rather than using the heated dryer
  • Using ceiling fans to help keep your home comfortable. Doing so can allow you to raise your thermostat up to 4 degrees without sacrificing comfort

Enjoy a Greener View with Energy-Efficient Windows

Windows tend to be a significant source of energy waste for most homes, with losses stacking up to about 10-25% of your total heating bill. Installing double-pane windows in place of any remaining single-pane windows is a great way to reduce the loss of heated and conditioned air throughout your home. 

Regardless of whether you’re looking to keep your home warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer, low-emittance, or Low-E, windows can help. These gas-filled windows help block infrared light from passing through the glass to minimize sunlight’s effects and reduce excess heat from building up indoors. So, the next time a baseball comes flying through one of your windows, make it a home run by taking the opportunity for an energy-efficient upgrade. 

Weatherize Your Home

Weatherizing your home refers to successfully sealing off any places where air can leak out around the house. The most significant sources of air leaks that could contribute to your high energy consumption include your vents, windows, and doors. To seal these areas, ensure that there are no cracks between the walls and the vents, window frames, and doorframes. Caulking and weather strips are inexpensive ways to adequately seal off areas in your home that will return your investment year after year.

Your duct system can also be a significant source of unwanted air leaks. According to Energy Star, many homes have improperly installed or sealed ductwork, which can lead to up to 30 percent of heated or cooled air to be lost through cracks, leaks, and poorly connected ducts. If your ducts aren’t properly sealed, your household can experience higher utility costs and be at risk of poor indoor air quality. Schedule a duct sealing service to protect your home and start saving energy.

Insulate Your Home, Insulate Your Wallet

Insulation plays an important role in retaining heat in the colder seasons and cool air in the warmer ones. By properly insulating your home, you can decrease the flow of heat into and out of your home by providing adequate resistance. Consider adding insulation to your attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawl space to help reduce any wasted energy expenditures. 

Get Smart About Your Energy Usage with a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats significantly reduce the use of heating and cooling systems without sacrificing your family’s comfort by adjusting to your household’s patterns and precisely regulating the temperatures throughout your home. With simple controls, savings on your utility bills, and a lighter environmental impact, smart thermostats are among the wisest changes you can make to invest your home.

When setting the thermostat, trying to balance reasonable utility costs with minimal family squabbles can be tricky. However, smart thermostats allow you to keep your indoor temperatures cool without raising your bills. Plus, by starting to use these energy-saving tips that can help keep your home cool without relying on your air conditioner, you can increase your thermostat without anyone noticing. Keep in mind that for every degree you raise your thermostat’s set temperature, you can save up to almost 3% on your utility bill.

Upgrade Your HVAC Unit

If your central air conditioning unit is on its last leg or has been working to keep your family comfortable for over a decade, it’s most likely time for an upgrade. Older HVAC units use more energy than is required to keep your home comfortable while also struggling to keep your home as cool as you’d like. A new air conditioner and heating system will save you money in the long run while avoiding costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns, and you will cut back your energy usage with updated technology and optimized performance. 

Count On Gator Air & Energy for More Energy Savings

Gator Air & Energy is committed to providing energy-efficient HVAC services to the families we serve in Gainesville, FL and the surrounding area. We know that with each sustainable choice comes a generational impact of improved environmental conditions. That’s why we combine the most effective and affordable heating and cooling solutions with energy savings to give your family comfort and peace of mind.

Reach out to our team for energy-efficient HVAC services and home solutions today for a better tomorrow.


5 Reasons to Clean Your Dryer Vent

With the holidays approaching, you’re probably busy getting your home ready to entertain friends and family. In addition to cooking, cleaning, and shopping, there’s one more important task to add to your holiday to-do list: Dryer Vent Cleaning.

While there are a lot of great reasons to complete this often-overlooked maintenance item, we’re going to list the top 5 for you, starting with the most important:

1) Safety

While many of us look forward to the cooler fall and winter temperatures here in Gainesville, it’s important to remember that this time of year is also peak season for home fires caused by dirty dryer vents.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause (34%) of home clothes dryer fires.
  • More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January. 

Why is there an increased risk of dryer fires in the fall and winter? The answer is lint.

Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments. Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton and wool generate more lint than fabrics made of rayon or other synthetic materials. As outside temperatures drop, more of us turn to thicker clothing and bedding to keep us warm. The thicker the fabric, the more lint it produces when it is washed. 

When we put our clothes into the wash, the friction of the wash lifts more lint from the cloth where it is deposited on top of the wet garment. When we put that item in the dryer, the water is removed and more lint is created from the friction of the tumbling. Then hot air blows onto the garment, blowing the lint off the garment and trapping it in the lint screen. 

Not all of the lint is trapped, however. In some estimates, the lint trap only captures about 25% of the lint produced in a drying cycle. The majority of the lint produced in a load of laundry ends up in your dryer’s vent as well as underneath and around your dryer. The heat from your dryer is more than sufficient to ignite this material. In fact, dryer lint is so flammable, it is often recommended as a fire-starter by camping enthusiasts!

Once a fire has started in your dryer, it can quickly spread to the rest of your home as this video demonstrates. 

Even if the fire is contained, however, it could short out your electrical system causing expensive electrical repairs and smoke damage. And you’d need a new dryer!

How do you know if it’s time for you to call a licensed professional to clean your dryer vent so you can reduce this risk?

  • It’s been more than a year since your last dryer vent cleaning. (If you use your dryer daily, you should aim to have it cleaned 2-3 times per year.)
  • Your clothes are taking longer to dry.
  • The air temperature in your laundry area is hotter than usual.
  • Your utility bill is rising. (If your laundry room is hotter, this will make your air conditioner work harder.)
  • Your clothes have a musty or burnt odor.
  • You see buildup accumulating in the dryer vent.

Safety is obviously the biggest reason for having your dryer duct cleaned but dryer vent cleaning also provides the following benefits:

2) Increased Efficiency 

If your dryer vent is clogged with lint, your dryer will have to run longer and work longer to dry your clothes. If a load of clothes now takes 2 or 3 cycles to dry, it’s not only using more energy to do the job but it’s also putting a lot of additional heat into your laundry area which is making your air conditioner have to work harder too. Rising utility bills are one sign that it’s time to have your dryer duct cleaned.

3) Longer Life Span of Clothes Dryer

Once a dryer stops working properly because of a buildup of lint in the dryer vent, many owners mistakenly think the dryer needs to be replaced. In reality, a thorough cleaning may be all that’s needed to bring your dryer back to life. If left unchecked, lint buildup can make your dryer work harder and run more cycles than it would normally need in order to dry a load of clothes. That causes unnecessary wear and tear on your dryer’s components and makes it wear out faster. 

4) Elimination of Irritating Allergens and Mold

The role of your dryer is to eliminate all traces of moisture from your clothing. When your dryer vent is clogged, the lingering damp lint trapped inside the vent creates the perfect home for irritating allergens and mold to grow. To make matters worse, the excess humidity lingering in the laundry room as the wet clothes sit can make walls damp and moldy.

5) Reduced Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you have a gas dryer, your dryer vent is responsible for removing dangerous exhaust dryer fumes like carbon monoxide. When the dryer vent is clogged, these colorless, odorless fumes can leach into your home and make your family very sick. 

Cleaning My Dryer Vent Makes a Lot of Sense, But Can’t I Just Do it Myself? 

According to Angie’s List, homeowners who attempt to clean their own dryer vents using a kit or attachment often think that they’ve eliminated any fire risk. Unfortunately, most of these tools do not remove all of the lint in the duct. Even worse, they can compact the link, creating a dangerous blockage. If you have old dryer duct tubing, the bristle brushes on many of these tools can also be damaging. 
At Gator Air & Energy, our service technicians are trained to gently and thoroughly inspect and clean your dryer vents to improve your dryer’s efficiency and ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind. Give us a call today to schedule that overdue inspection and cleaning!