Whether you’re hoping to ease your impact on the planet or just want to save a few dollars, reducing your energy use can help you get there. In fact, 10 percent of renters in a recent Rent.com survey said that utilities are their biggest monthly expense, coming in third after monthly rent and groceries.
Heating and cooling your apartment, especially those in regions with extreme temperature shifts, can be among the more expensive components of your utility bill. Luckily, making some easy adjustments in your home can dramatically reduce how much you spend on energy.
Here are several tips to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home this winter:
1. Use the sun for free heat. That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.
2. Bundle up with warm accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.
3. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, you have more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.
4. Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed and keeping your apartment cooler when you sleep.
5. Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most. Energy bills run, on average, $183 per month. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.
6. Keep your furnace clean and unblocked. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when it gets dirty.
7. Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air. The air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. You can also increase the humidity in your apartment with a collection of house plants.
8. Invest in insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold air in homes without proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape. Start with foam weather stripping for your doors and windows; it’s cheap and is extremely easy to apply.
9. Decorate with LED lights for the holidays. Buy new LED holiday lights, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. In addition to consuming less energy, LED lights don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer alternative. Bonus tip: Always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. As with all appliances and electronics, your holiday lights will continue to draw power even when not in use, which adds unnecessary expense to utility bills.
10. Only use exhaust fans when necessary. Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of your apartment. Use exhaust fans sparingly, and shut them off when you are done with them. You can always call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical at
- (888) 611-7191
Your home heating system is one of your biggest investments, and it’s probably also one of your biggest worries, especially when you’re away from home.
Whether you leave for a day, a weekend or a week or longer, you can alleviate these worries by taking steps to secure your heating system and your home before you leave. Follow this five-step process and you’ll find peace of mind so that you can enjoy your winter respite. It’s really that simple.
Make a list and check it twice to ensure that you:
- Make an appointment for your fall maintenance checkup, if you haven’t done so already. Better to have any minor glitch found – and repaired – before you leave town than to risk a malfunction or breakdown while you’re away.
- Lower your thermostat but keep the heat on while you’re away – say, from between 50 and 55 degrees. Set your thermostat fan to the “on” or “run” setting to keep the flow of warm air continuous and even.
- Leave the cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathrooms open so that the pipes are exposed to heat.
- Replace your furnace filter for good measure. (Remember your peace of mind; it’s worth the cost of a filter).
- Leave the name and phone number of a heating system service company like “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” with a trusted neighbor – just in case.
With one of your biggest investments protected, you can take other measures to safeguard your home before leaving home this winter:
- Shut off the main water valve to prevent flooding.
- Close your chimney flue and damper.
- Turn your water heater to the “vacation” or “pilot” setting so that you’re not heating water you don’t need. On a gas unit, the control is usually located at the bottom; an electric water heater can be turned off at the main electrical panel.
- Unplug all of your appliances, except for the refrigerator, to protect against surges in the event of a violent storm while you’re away. And it bears repeating: Don’t just turn off computers and laptops; unplug them to protect them against lightning strikes.
- Unplug your garage door opener so that no one can enter your home through the garage door or an adjoining door.
- Lock all your doors and windows – and check them twice to be sure, even on the second floor. Insert a sturdy pole in the track of all sliding doors.
- Close all your window treatments.
- Take the extra precaution of hiding any valuables. Remember that a master bedroom is usually the first place thieves will raid, so you should either have a thoroughly secret hiding place there or secure jewelry, cash and other items in a safety deposit box.
- Affix timers on several lamps on both the upper and lower levels of your home to give the impression that someone is still there.
- Put a hold on your mail rather than let it pile up while you’re away.
- Ask that trusted neighbor to train an eye on your home and even park in your driveway periodically to give the impression that you’re still at home.
If you’re already feeling calmer about leaving home, just imagine how relaxed you’ll feel while you’re away. If you have any heating system issues now or while you’re away for the holidays, contact Your friends at “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” at 888-611-7191.
A properly working heater is the key to a comfortable home this holiday season. Peak functionality also keeps your heating bills down, an important consideration when other costs climb around the holidays. To ensure you and your guests stay comfy and cozy while the wind whistles outside, perform the items on this checklist prior to the holidays.
Change the Air Filter
This is the first and one of the most important tasks to prepare your heater for winter. A dirty air filter blocks airflow, reduces efficiency and overworks the equipment. On the other hand, replacing the filter regularly promotes cleaner indoor air, lower your energy bills and helps your equipment last longer.
Plan to change the filter at the start of the heating season. Then, check it once a month during the winter and change it when it begins to appear dirty, waiting no more than three months between changes. Make sure you choose replacement filters of the proper size and efficiency for the best results.
If you run an electronic air cleaner in the winter, be sure to clean the unit’s air filter according to manufacturer directions.
Check for Gas Leaks
If your heater runs on natural gas, a leak could develop and create risk for you and your family. Before relying too much on your heater this season, inspect the furnace for worn or damaged connections. Be aware of natural gas odors. If you discover a problem – either with your eyes or your nose – call a professional for further investigation before you turn on the heater.
Check the Air Vents
Supply registers deliver heated air while return registers send cooled air back to the furnace for reheating. If these vents are blocked, heating efficiency declines and you tend to experience hot and cold pockets throughout your home. This can create great discomfort during a holiday get-together.
To promote better airflow and a more even temperature, walk around your home and check that all air vents are unobstructed. Move area rugs, reposition furniture and tie curtains back if necessary to allow for ample airflow.
Test for Proper Operation
Switch the dial on your thermostat to “Heat” and turn the temperature up a degree or two to trigger the furnace. Listen for any strange sounds coming from the heater or the ductwork. If you hear anything odd, it may be wise to contact a heating technician for a repair.
Place your hand over various registers in your home, including those located close to the furnace and those farther away. Make sure the air is plenty hot and exiting the registers with ample force.
Schedule an Annual Tune-Up
A complete furnace inspection includes other tasks that only a qualified technician should perform. That’s why the final item on your checklist should be to schedule preventative maintenance from Green Apple Mechanical NJ. We have the knowledge and experience needed to check fuel connections, test the gas pressure, clean the burners, inspect the heat changer, test system controls and more.
If you experience trouble with any of the items on this checklist, please contact Green Apple Mechanical to speak with a knowledgeable technician. Call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ at 888-611-7191
Isn’t it just the last thing you need during the crazy rush right before the holidays? Your maintenance guy tells you there’s a puddle of water under your furnace. Oh, great… there goes your dream of a profitable December and starting off the New Year with a trip to the tropics. Will you have to shell out thousands for a new furnace instead?
Don’t cancel your plans just yet! There are a number of reasons that can lead to your furnace leaking water, and most of them don’t mean an untimely death for your heating system.
Start by identifying what type of heating equipment you have, and check out these possible causes for water leaks.
1. High-efficiency furnace
If you have a newer high efficiency furnace (with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE rating of 90 percent or more), these systems extract heat from the exhaust which produces condensation. Normally, the condensation is drained through a tube to a pan or floor drain. If there is a clog or a break in the drain line, or if the floor drain is clogged with debris, you could end up with a puddle under your furnace.
Check the drain first and clear it if necessary. If the drain line appears compromised, this is an easy fix for an HVAC service technician.
2. Furnace with a humidifier
Do you have a furnace with a humidifier attached? If so, the humidifier could have a leak, or it could be clogged and overflowing into your furnace. If you catch this early, it may not be a major expense to clean out or even replace the humidifier. But if the leak goes on for a while, it can cause major damage to your furnace. Call an HVAC expert as soon as possible to inspect your system.
3. Combined heat and air conditioning heat pump system
If you have a combined heating and air conditioning system with a heat pump, the water leak could actually be coming from the air conditioning. These systems have a combined drain line which could be clogged. If you are still using the air conditioning occasionally, the coils could be frozen or the condensate pump may have failed. Even if you suspect the water is coming from the air conditioner, don’t neglect this issue because water leaks can ultimately cause damage to your building’s walls, ceilings and floors.
This may turn out to be a minor repair, but you need to call an HVAC service company with expertise in combined heating and air conditioning systems.
4. Newly-installed gas furnace
If you’ve just bought a new gas furnace and it’s already leaking, you’re probably pretty steamed. Chances are, you went with the lowest bid and got installers who are not the most experienced (or just trying to cut corners so they make money on the job).
There are several installation mistakes that can cause water leaks from a gas furnace. The flue pipe that exhausts the toxic gases from your building could be the wrong size, or there could be a leak in the joint between the furnace and the outside vent pipe. Also, the exhaust pipe may have been incorrectly installed; it needs to slope slightly downward toward the exterior so that water drains out of the building rather than back into the furnace.
5. Hot water boiler
If your heating system is a hot water boiler with baseboards or radiators, anytime you have a leak you should immediately close off the valve that feeds water to the system. If your slow drip is the precursor to a major leak, you’ll save yourself from a big mess by limiting the amount of water in the system until you can get an HVAC repair guy in there.
The problem is likely to be just a faulty valve. Especially if you’ve recently had a repair done, it’s possible that air was introduced into the system which increases the pressure on the valves. You’ll have to get the repair technician to come take another look. In the worst case, you may have a leak in your boiler, and there’s a chance it will need to be replaced. Call “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” toll free at
- (888) 611-7191