Take Advantage of Programmable Thermostats to Maximize Energy Savings

From smart phones to programmable thermostats, today’s electronics come equipped with advanced operating systems that make life easier and more efficient. The challenge is knowing how to take full advantage of the capabilities of these devices.

Consider indoor environment devices like programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are capable of controlling the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system – from heating to indoor air quality and energy management.

“Adjusting the temperature up and down doesn’t equate to savings or even comfort in the home,” said Jonathan Payne, product manager of programmable controls at Carrier. “The key to total comfort is the homeowner’s ability to control the temperature, humidity, air circulation and energy use.”

Social Change: A New Year’s Resolution for 2012

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – From smart phones to programmable thermostats, today’s electronics come equipped with advanced operating systems that make life easier and more efficient. The challenge is knowing how to take full advantage of the capabilities of these devices.
Consider indoor environment devices like programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are capable of controlling the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system — from heating to indoor air quality and energy management.
“Adjusting the temperature up and down doesn’t equate to savings or even comfort in the home,” said Jonathan Payne, product manager of programmable controls at Carrier. “The key to total comfort is the homeowner’s ability to control the temperature, humidity, air circulation and energy use.”
Although many homes have programmable thermostats, they may not be programmed or used properly. To truly realize the advantages of a programmable thermostat, consider these tips:
1. Choose a thermostat that manages your system properly and efficiently. Select a thermostat that is not only easy for you to understand and program, but one that controls all of the equipment in your HVAC system, including an air purifier, humidifier, air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump.
2. Have the HVAC control or thermostat installed by a Carrier authorized dealer or other HVAC expert to ensure the wiring and settings are configured to match the needs of your specific system.
3. Choose a program that fits well with your lifestyle, and stick with it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy can be saved if you keep energy-saving set points activated for longer timeframes. So, you could leave home energy-saving set points on during the work/school day, or at night when family members are asleep, for instance.
4. Avoid overuse of the temporary “hold” feature. If you consistently “hold” or over-ride the pre-programmed settings, you could be wasting energy. The EPA suggests that the “hold” and “vacation” settings should be set several degrees warmer and cooler in the summer and winter months, respectively, and only used when you’re away from home for an extended stay.
5. Try not to achieve a quick fix. The EPA’s Proper Use Guidelines for Programmable Controls indicates that you will not heat or cool your house faster by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat to the extremes — up to 80 degrees or down to 30 degrees.
To learn more about Carrier programmable thermostats, call 1-800-CARRIER or visit www.residential.carrier.com.

2011 New Year’s Resolution: Start Taking Better Care of Your Vehicle

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – While we might slip up on our New Year’s resolutions at times, this year you can resolve to take better care of your car all year. Firestone Complete Auto Care offers the following tips for winter vehicle maintenance to get you started!
* Be proactive. Winter only magnifies existing problems like pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound before the temperature dips and the streets get icy. Make certain the engine is in peak condition. Also check the cooling system. Coolant should be replaced per the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
* Be on schedule. Have your motor oil changed regularly. Use the specified weight and grade of oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Also make sure to check that the heating/defrosting system is working properly.
* Be prepared. Prepare for potential winter emergencies by using your trunk as a storage place for emergency items. Important items to have on hand include: a properly inflated spare tire; ice scraper; windshield de-icer; flashlight; blanket; extra clothes; bottled water; cell phone car charger and non-perishable snacks.
* Be on the defensive. Take a defensive position against winter driving conditions, and take care of your tires. Once it gets cold, tire tread and pressure should be checked weekly. A tire’s PSI measurement can drop one pound for every 10-degree drop in temperature. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider installing winter tires, which are specially designed to grip slick roads.
* Be diligent. Use common sense during adverse road conditions. Reduce your driving speed, and increase your following distance in hazardous winter weather. If you get stuck in the snow, don’t spin your tires — this can overheat them and possibly cause damage. Use sand, gravel, kitty litter, an asphalt shingle or other gritty items to help your tires gain traction when stuck.

Efficient Water Heaters Save Money, Water

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Among showers, laundry and dishwasher loads, the average American home consumes a lot of hot water. After heating and cooling costs, water heating has proven to be the largest part of most families’ utility bills.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heaters consume as much as 25 percent of a home’s energy supply. Of course, that means that improving water heating efficiency can drastically affect utility bills.

Consumers now face choices beyond traditional gas and electric water heaters. Water heaters come in different shapes and perform various functions. However, two types of heaters seem to perform most efficiently -; tankless and high-efficiency condensing water heaters.

How should you choose your new water heater? First, consider how much hot water you use. Do you run many hot water appliances simultaneously? Does your family use a large volume of water throughout the day?

Tankless water heaters best suit applications with periodic demand, like in apartments with one or two residents or in vacation homes. Using too many hot water appliances at the same time can overtax tankless water heaters. For example, running the clothes washer and the shower at the same time could use up all of the tankless unit’s hot water.

For families who require large volumes of hot water, high-efficiency storage-type models best meet household demands.

“High-efficiency models were designed for the homeowner who needs more hot water and wants to save money on their water heating bill in the process,” said David Chisholm, the water heater brand manager of A. O. Smith, makers of the Vertex high-efficiency model.

Here are two tips for Americans looking to save money on water heating bills:

– Lower your water heater temperature. Keeping the water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit is usually sufficient for most households. Lowering the temperature 10 degrees F typically saves 3 to 5 percent on water heating bills.

– If you’re going on vacation, turn your water heater to the lowest possible setting or turn it off. If you choose to turn off a gas water heater, make sure that you know how to restart its pilot light.

For more information on water heaters, visit www.hotwater.com.