Check List for a Cool Summer Without Running Up the Electric Bill

Texas summers are not meant for the weak! If this summer will be anything like the summer of 2011 it is even more important that certain precautions are taken to maintain our homes cool while saving on our electric bills (sounds like an oxymoron, I know), both of these are possible at the same time.

Check List for a Cool Summer Without Running Up the Electric Bill

A/C – Run It Steady!

Hot weather outside always makes me feel like I cannot get my house cool enough. Heating and cooling accounts for 50% of a typical household’s energy costs.

The habit that runs up the bill so high is moving the thermostat settings in our homes between two extremes. Many believe that turning off the A/C when your family is not home is the best way to save, but instead the temperature in your home is allowed to rise to uncomfortable temperatures. This often means that when the family gets home the thermostat is turned on but set at an even lower temperature because it’s “just too hot” in the home. This is a bad habit that can be resolved easily!

“What to do”
The best practice for managing your thermostat in the summer months is to keep it on, but set the temperature at a reasonable 73-72 degrees (which ever is most comfortable for your family) and let it sit at this setting. If you own a programable thermostat you could set the temperature to fluctuate between 2-3 degrees still maintaining your home at a reasonable temperature while you are away and having it be ready when you get home.
So Why does this work?
When an A/C is set to cool a room down 80+ degrees to 73 or 72 degrees it ends up working for long periods of time (possibly hours depending on your A/C unit) to reach the goal temperature meanwhile sucking up energy. By setting your thermostat at a comfortable temperature and letting it “cruise” the A/C will be turning on periodically through out the day, however only to cool a home a few degrees here and there. The less the A/C has to work, the more you save.

Weatherproofing Your Home

Bad Caulking! Torn Weatherstripping! And Gaps! Oh No!

Weatherproofing your home is not always an easy task. Poor weatherproofing around your home is often a source of discomfort in the home as well as high heating and cooling bills.

The Solution
There are two main steps to weatherproofing a home.

  • Weatherstripping doors by sealing the gaps around the doors.
  • Weatherproofing windows and gaps in permanent building materials with caulking.

These two steps sound simple the key is in getting it done right and choosing the right materials for the weather.

When you are looking for these materials, it could be handy to consult your local home improvement store professional or contact your local handyman.

Cedar Park Handyman can be the right call to make to save on your electric bills by weatherproofing your home and getting ready for the summer the right way.

Green Lighting!

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs! Yes they cost more out of pocket at the register, but they have been proven to use less electricity, last longer which saves you money on the long run. Most bulbs pay for themselves with in the first year of being in use. They now come in varying shades of light to accomodate any room too. Make the switch this summer if you have not done so already. The few extra bucks it knocks off your monthly bills can make a big difference during the hot summer months. The overal benefits of LED lightbulbs are:

  • Long-Lasting Bulbs
  • Durable
  • Cool
  • Mercury-free
  • More efficient
  • Cost-effective
  • Light for remote areas and portable generators

Make the switch this summer as a part of your spring cleaning routine and you can check that off your money saving checklist.

Cold Wash Clothes

Contrary to common belief, clothes washed in cold water ALSO GET CLEAN! That’s right! Washing your clothes in hot or warm water does not mean your clothes will get cleaner.

This summer try washing your clothes in cold water and help save some of the money spent on heating the water for your clothes.
Hot water is not completely with out benefit, there is the load or two that will need more of a sanitizing wash. In these cases hot water will definitely be needed.
What about cold water detergents and their cost? If you have dirtier clothes than the average american (say teenage kids or sports clothes) consider using cold wash detergents. These detergents are slightly more expensive than regular detergents, however the amount of money you save by using cold water is greater!

Off Your Electronics

Yes, we’ve heard it before. Unused electronics must be turned off. Did you know that your appliances continue to use up energy when they are standby. This includes kitchen mixers, toasters, blenders. In the bathroom disconnecting hair driers, and straighteners will make a big difference.

Shutting off any appliance not in use can shave numbers off your electric bill with out a doubt.

Let’s get cool!

In preparation for this spring and summer, take some time to apply some of these best practices to help you stay cool in the summer with out running up your electricity bill.

Remember, maintaining a steady temperature in your home will make the biggest difference so set your thermostats accordingly, let them cruise and weatherproof your home to keep the cool air in!

Remember, Cedar Park Handyman is always on call to weatherproof your home for you! You take care of the spring cleaning inside your home, and we will make sure the cool air stays inside your home!

How to keep your water pipes from freezing.

Freezing Pipes!

Prevent your pipes from freezing during this cold winter season!

Cold arctic fronts are headed towards the Central Texas Region this week promising freezing temperatures most of the coming week. These freezing temperatures can cause a lot of damage to your plumbing if a few simple and inexpensive precautions are not taken.

Luckily! Your local handyman is always happy to help you prevent and combat freezing pipes. Your local handyman has created this list of instructions which can help reduce the possibility of damage to your plumbing.

Key Steps

  • Leave faucets inside your home open to a continuous drip
  • Insulate largely exposed exterior pipes
  • Cover and insulate spigots

Materials Needed

  • Scissors
  • Spigot Insulation Covers (from local hardware store)
  • Pipe Insulation (from local hardware store)
  • Several 2-3 cup capacity containers
  • **Duct Tape
  • **Dry Thick Kitchen Towels or Small Blankets

How To Steps

There are two main ways to protect the exterior faucets in your home.

  1. Easiest Way!
    1. Walk Around The Perimeter of your home and assess how many exposed faucets and water pipes will need to be covered and protected.
    2. Visit your local hardware store and purchase the number of Spigot/Faucet Insulation covers and pipe insulation that you will need for your house.
    3. With your supplies at hand, begin walking around your home placing the covers on each of your faucets. Make sure you loop the inside rubber ring completely around the open and close nozzle and that you have correctly tightened the cord at the other end of the insulation cover as indicated in the pictures here.
    4. Use the the pipe insulation to wrap up any exposed water pipes making sure that the are completely surrounded by the material and that it is placed on securely. Use the Scissors to trim the insulation to the necessary size and the duct tape to make sure it has been securely fastened.
  2. The More Resourceful Way!
    1. Walk around the perimeter of your home to assess how man exposed faucets and water pipes you will need to insulate and protect.
    2. You will need to gather the following from your home. Thick kitchen towels or small bathroom towels, duct tape or some other kind of adhesive strips or ties to secure the towels.
    3. With these supplies in hand you can begin to protect your faucets by wrapping each faucet in a towel such that there is about two to three inches worth of padding surrounding the faucet.
    4. Make sure you secure the towel in place with a sort of adhesive strip or tie.
    5. In order to protect the exposed pipes, similarly use towels to wrap about an inch worth of padding completely around the length of the exposed piping. Make sure to secure these towels in place with duct tape or tie as well.

Why does this work? It is the exchange of heat/warmth from the water into the cold air that causes the water to drop in temperature and therefore freeze. Both of these methods keep the water in your pipes from freezing by keeping the warmth of the water from escaping onto the cold winter air.

  • Protecting your water pipes from inside your home.
      The following steps are steps needed to be taken inside the home while your area is experiencing freezing temperatures.

    1. Open your faucets to a slow drip.
      This helps relieve the pressure building up in your pipes caused by the freezing water.
      Remember to place a container in the sink to catch the dripping water. It can come in handy later when brushing your teeth!
    2. Open your sink cabinet doors overnight
      This allows the warm air in the house to circulate around the pipes under the sink and counters helping keep the water from freezing.
    3. Secure and protect your pets with in the home.
    4. Check in on any people who may be vulnerable during this time such as the elderly.

The main things to remember are to insulate your outside pipes with something that provides padding all the way around and to drip the inside faucets in your home. If you are not able to insulate the outside pipes or faucets, dripping the inside faucets could be the key step that saves you! It is this open drip that helps relieve the pressure that builds up inside the pipes as water freezes. Most burst pipes occur inside the home. This happens because it is not the pressure of the ice pushing against the pipes that causes the damage, but it is the ice pressing against the rest of the water in the pipes that creates a build up of pressure in the areas of the pipes where ice has not formed. By leaving your faucets open to a drip you provide an escape for the build up water pressure.

These are the simplest basic steps you can take to help protect your pipes this winter. More complete steps including the sealing of cracks in foundation or siding that can leave pipes in your walls exposed, can be completed by Cedar Park Handyman. Our weather proofing service includes all materials to fully protect your home from the changing temperatures here in central Texas.