Tag Archives: energy saving tips

Beating the Summer Heat with CHAI

houses

By Aryeh Goetz
Director of Neighborhood Investment, CHAI

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts this summer will be hotter and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in early to mid-July and early to mid-August. But knowing ahead of time that we’ll need to stay cool during the summer is only half the battle. What’s the other half? Preparation!

By trying these simple tips, you can keep your home cool and comfortable, while also cutting your cooling costs. It’s good for the environment and good for your wallet!

1. Use ceiling fans
The interesting thing about fans is that they don’t actually cool a room; they just make it feel cooler, by blowing the hot air away from your body. Fans can make a room feel up to seven degrees cooler, and they use much less electricity than the air conditioner. So make sure your ceiling fans are turned on high before you turn the temperature down. Box fans are a great alternative if you don’t already have ceiling fans around your home.

2. Replace the air filter
Clogged filters will limit your air conditioner’s effectiveness and are expensive. Show your AC unit some love and change the filter. You can pick up new, inexpensive filters at a grocery or home improvement store. Remember to check the size of the filter before purchasing. For best results, replace the filters once a month.

3. Cover your windows
Window treatments are not just a design element: they can help keep heat out, thereby reducing your electricity bill. If you have blinds or curtains, keep them closed. If you are looking to purchase new window treatments for your home, know that lighter colored fabrics deflect the sun’s rays better. Insulated curtains will do the best job of keeping the heat out.

4. Turn off heat generators
Running computers and televisions all day will put out a lot of heat. Be sure to turn them off when you aren’t using them and unplug them, too. Using the oven or stove will also heat up your home in a flash.

5. Avoid setting the thermostat excessively low
Sure, it’s tempting to crank the air conditioner down to 65 after spending time outdoors when it’s 100 degrees (or higher). But this won’t cool your home any faster. Even worse, you might forget that you set it extremely low, resulting in unnecessary cooling costs.

6. Smart Ways to Save on the AC

  •  Set the thermostat at 70° to 75°F when you’re home and 80°F when you’re not. Don’t turn it off completely before leaving the house. It can cost more to cool the house back down once it overheats.
  •  Position electric devices like lamps, TVs, or computers at least a few feet away from your AC thermostat. The AC can sense heat from these appliances, which can cause it to run longer than necessary.
  • Place room units on the north side of the house when possible. An AC unit operating in the shade uses up to 10 percent less electricity than one in the sun.
  • Know when to upgrade. In terms of energy use, you may want to consider a new AC if yours is more than 10 years old (window unit) or 12 years old (central air) — and definitely if it’s not cooling as well as it used to. It will save up to 30 percent off your bill.

8. Remember: Heat Rises
Attics can reach temps of 150°F. Take measures to properly insulate this area from the rest of the house: Install sweeps and weather-stripping around the door.

CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. wants you to know that there is help for the hot and weary! With the CHAI Energy Savings Loans, you can receive an interest-free loan of up to $10,000 to use toward home improvements that will help make your home more energy efficient. There are no income restrictions. You can live in the 21215 zip code in the city or in Pikesville, Mt. Washington, Owings Mills, Reisterstown or Randallstown!

Visit chaibaltimore.org to apply for the Energy Savings Loan. You can download the application right from our homepage.

Wishing you an enjoyable, safe and cool summer!

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10 Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

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By Kristerfer Burnett
Neighborhood Organizer
CHAI:Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.

With summer behind us and fall in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about how to reduce those rising energy bills. You know … the bills that you are too afraid to open so you leave it on the table for a few days? During the fall and winter months energy costs often double for the average household, causing many of us to tighten our budgets.

But, you can start saving energy now! Here are a few tips from our friends at the Baltimore Energy Challenge that you can use to save energy, save money and live sustainably:

  1.  Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)
    CFLs use much less energy than traditional bulbs and last about six times longer.
  2. Turn Down the Thermostat and/or Install a Programmable Thermostat
    You can save over $200 a year by simply turning down your thermostat three degrees. Installing a programmable unit can make remembering to do this even easier!
  3. Wrap and Turn Temperature Down on Hot Water Heater
    Purchasing an insulating jacket for your hot water heater can produce valuable energy savings. Most of the cost associated with operating a hot water heater is maintaining the temperature of the water when it’s not in use.
  4.  Get Low-Flow Showerheads
    Installing low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as 70 percent. In addition, you’ll use less energy heating up the water.
  5. Turn Stuff Off and Use Powerstrips to Do It
    Many electronic devises draw energy when they are not in use, simply by being plugged into the socket. Be sure to plug as many of them as you can onto a powerstrip and be sure to turn it off when you aren’t using them.
  6. Wash Laundry Using Cold Water and Line Dry Your Clothes
    You can reduce your energy cost per load by 90 percent if you use cold water to wash laundry. Also, drying machines represent as much as 12 percent of the cost  on  your energy bill! If you can, install a retractable line to hang them outside to dry on nice days.
  7. Increase Refrigerator Efficiency
    Reduce energy use and efficiency of your refrigerator by cleaning the coals, semi-annually. These are often located underneath the unit.
  8. Maintain Your Heating System
    About one-third of your annual household energy costs are associated with your home’s heating system. Be sure to have it maintained regularly so that you can save on your heating costs.
  9. Insulate and Air Seal Your Home
    The majority of the homes in Baltimore allow cool air and heat to leak out. Weatherizing your home using window plastic and other easy-to-install tools can do a lot to prevent leakage.
  10.  Educate Your Family Members and Neighbors
    Sharing these tips is a great way to get members of your family and neighbors to join you in reducing energy consumption!

Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI) and The Associated are working on a few new initiatives to reduce your household’s energy consumption and help you save money. On October 6, 1 – 4 p.m., you’ll have the opportunity to learn more at the Northwest Energy Expo. It’s being held at The Myerberg Center.

Many key non-profits and businesses from the energy industry will discuss behaviors and practices that reduce energy consumption and help you save money. This wonderful event will feature break-out sessions on topics such as the “ins and outs” of having an energy audit done in your home, the benefits of home energy retrofits and tips on small things you can do around the house to conserve energy.

Finally, if you reside in the five Northwest neighborhoods that CHAI serves (Glen, Fallstaff, Cheswolde, Mt. Washington, Cross Country) you’ll have an opportunity to apply for the new interest-free Energy Savings Loan, which allows you to borrow either $5,000 or $10,000 for energy-related home renovations.

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