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Shopping for an Energy Efficient House

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

If you’re in the market and looking for a new house, you’ll want to take stock of the features that affect the home’s energy efficiency. Purchasing wisely can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a lifetime. Here are some things to look for: Overall The best indicator of a home’s energy efficiency is lower than expected year-round energy bills – ask the seller to provide 12 months of usage and billing history. Utilities will release this information with a signature from the seller. Heating & Cooling System: Visually inspect the home’s furnace and air conditioner. Is the air filter clean? Is there mastic sealant at the joints where the ductwork exits the unit? Is there a service sticker indicating that the equipment has been well-maintained? Does the air conditioner look reasonably clean? How old is it? Units more than 15 years old will need replacement within 10 years or...

Keeping the Heat Out of Your Home

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

The Heat is here!  What are you going to do about it? One of the basic principles of thermodynamics is that “heat goes to cold”.  In other words, warm air is always seeking cooler air.  In the summer, this means that when the temperature is hotter outside, it’s trying to get into your house, (assuming it’s cooler inside).   Heat can be transferred through conduction, convection, or radiation An example of radiant heat is the solar gain that comes through your windows.  To reduce solar gain, concentrate your efforts on east- and west-facing windows because the sun angles are lower and the rays have a more direct path into your home. When replacing these windows, look for low “E” windows with a rating of .35 or less and  a solar heat gain coefficient less than .40 Less costly options are solar shades, which are custom fitted and removable casings that...

Ceiling Fans

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

Fans have been making hot weather more bearable for centuries.  They create a wind chill effect that makes you feel more comfortable.  And they work just as effectively in your home—even if it’s also cooled by natural ventilation or air conditioning. Since some rooms in your house can be 15 degrees warmer at the ceiling than at the floor, ceiling fans are considered the most effective fans.  They circulate the air in a room to create a draft and can reduce the difference between the floor and the ceiling to only 3 degrees. The biggest bonus?  If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting 4°F with no reduction in comfort.  For each degree the thermostat is lowered (and held there for eight hours), you can save about 1percent on your cooling costs. So if you were able to reduce the temperature by 4 degrees around the...

Energy Efficiency and Showerheads

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

Overview Did you know that low-flow showerheads not only save water but energy, too? Less hot water, translates to less energy needed to heat that water. Nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water are used for showering in the United States annually. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Showerheads purchased before 1992, could use even more. But showerheads with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense label, use 2.0 gpm or less—that’s a 20 percent savings or more! Like Energy Star, Water Sense is a government backed program. Products earning the Water Sense label must use at least 20% less water than standard models and must meet strict quality standards. The average household could save more than 2,300 gallons per year by installing WaterSense labeled showerheads. Since these water savings will reduce demands on water heaters, households will also...

Pool Efficiency

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

With summer finally here, now’s a good time to think about your outdoor living. Swimming pools and their equipment use a significant amount of electricity, but there are a number of things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your pool. A good place to start is to reduce the amount of time the filter runs, using as little time as possible while still keeping the pool clean. Usually 4 to 6 hours per day during the summer is sufficient. This action alone may reduce annual electrical consumption by 40 to 50 percent. Consider running your pool pump during off-peak hours which can help reduce demand for electricity during a time when the cost of power is at a premium. Automatic pool cleaners should be used 3 to 4 hours daily during the summer. Start the pool sweep 15 minutes or more after the filter pump is running and stop the sweep 15 or more minutes before the filter pump. Use...

Kill a Watt, Save Energy

in Articles, Idaho Power Tips

Have you ever wondered how much energy it takes to run your TV, computer or kitchen appliance? Now you can find out. Idaho Power has teamed up with libraries throughout Idaho to bring you an easy-to-use tool that can help. Now, you can check out an Energy Efficiency Kit from your local library. The kit features a Kill A Watt™ meter, a device that can measure the energy consumption of appliances in your home, instructions for using the Kill A Watt™ meter and tips for saving energy. Simply plug the Kill A Watt™ meter into a standard, three-prong electrical outlet, then plug your appliance into the meter. The meter will measure the amount of power being used, helping you identify potential savings by either unplugging items when not in use or replacing the item with a more energy efficient model. For instance, if you frequently leave your TV on all day for “background noise,” but no one...

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