Inexpensive Solutions

Summer is here and we have begun to run air conditioning. The kids are home from school using computers, TVs, opening up the refrigerator and leaving lights on after leaving a room. So, we thought these tips might come in handy.

Tip 1: Lights left on in rooms can use up a lot of electricity. You can change to compact fluorescent bulbs, or if you are determined to stick with regular light bulbs, switch to motion lighting, even if you only pick a few rooms, such as the kitchen or hallway where you will be moving only when you need lights on. Bedrooms or other places that a person might sit still (reading) are not always the best choice for motion lighting, as you’ll be waving your arms about to keep the lights on.

Tip 2: Nighttime shut-down. This is not just good for electrical savings, but also
a good idea given the number of storms this time of year. Be sure your computers are plugged into a power surge suppressor & turn it off at night – complete shutdown of computers, printers, etc. You can also do this with your TV and components.

Tip 3: Pull the blinds and curtains when away. If you are not going to be home or
using a room, pull the blinds or shades to darken the room. This will keep the room from heating up and require less air conditioning. Also, control your thermostat if you have multiple air conditioning/heating systems in the house. If you are not going to use the upstairs during the day, you don’t need to cool it. Same goes for nighttime usage of the downstairs. Most thermostats allow you to automatically adjust the temperature at different times of the day. If you don’t have one, consider getting one…they are not expensive.

Tip 4: Group laundry & dishwashing. Even if your teenagers are at an age that they should do their own laundry, having them wash 1/2 loads of their own clothes is going to crank up that electric. Same goes for dishwashing – be sure you have a full load before running it and do it late so you can set it to the energy saver & let the dishes self dry overnight.

Even if only one of these tips works for you, you will see a savings in your utilities bill.

Solutions that cost more now, but pay off later

These solutions will cost you some money up front, but research has shown that in the long run, you will have huge savings and of course, contribute to saving our natural resources.

Lighting: Switch to a lighting system. Lighting systems allow you to control the
lighting in your house in a variety of ways. You can have lights turn off and on
at a set time, control lights via your smart phone or pad, synchronize lights to
do what you want. For example; instead of going around to check that all lights
are turned off before you leave or before you go to bed, you can press one button and all lights that you have designated to turn off will simultaneously turn off.

The nice thing about lighting controls is that you can start small and build your
system over time, adding devices and rooms. A central unit is needed to create the system and then individual units are needed for each light or group (i.e. recessed ceiling), throughout the home. HNS prefers Lutron lighting and is fully trained & licensed to sell their lighting control systems.

Shades: If you have a home with a lot of windows, then shade control can be a huge savings to your electrical costs. Shades operate similar to the light controls, in that they can be set to all shut, partial shut, i.e. up halfway, down halfway,shut in different rooms, etc. You do need special shades/blinds to have this capability,but if you haven’t already purchased shades/blinds or are ready for some new ones,then this is the time to consider going electric.

Whole house control: There are a variety of systems out there that control everything in your home. These come in stand alone, built in wall units and iPad application. They can control your lighting, HVAC, electronics, appliances, and more. What you want to control is dependent on you and you can add devices & control over time.

Power protection/Plugs: There are specially designed “green” plugs and power protection devices that will regulate your electronics. In other words, they know when to shut down devices based on usage of electricity. These are too complex to explain in a paragraph, but feel free to ask us about them if interested.