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Need New Windows? Think Energy Efficiency!

windowby Martha Gail Moore

Windows in our homes are our all-important look into nature or at least outside. But those glass panes could be a big reason your energy bills are so high. About 45% of energy used in homes is for heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

So how do you choose the right windows for your home? Here are some tips to help you decide which windows would be best for your renovation and energy efficiency.

Factors to consider

  1. What does your city code require?
  2.  What are the available materials?
  3.  What’s your climate like?

What does your city building code require?

The first thing to do is to check the city building code requirements. Yes, if you’re replacing windows, you need a building permit.  Depending on your city’s energy conservation goals, this could mean more expensive windows. However, the energy efficiency over the life of the window will more than make up for the pricier windows.

What are the available materials? What is their energy efficiency?

How do you decide what material to use for the frames? You can choose from aluminum, composite, fiberglass, vinyl, or wood. Each of these has its good and bad points, from how well they insulate to how costly they are.  Aluminum is one of the cheaper options, but is not the most energy efficiency, since it conducts heat and cold more easily. Today, there are some very good options in vinyl and it’s easier on the pocketbook, too.

If your home has historical significance, it might make sense to keep the wooden frames. If keeping the integrity of your wooden windows is of utmost importance, then storm windows could be a good and economical option. They can be mounted either inside or outside the existing windows. Even insulating around existing windows and caulking can make a difference.

How do you choose the glass?  There’s an organization that has different ratings for windows called the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). They require several ratings on the label that are really important things to check for. Two of the most important terms are the U-value or factor and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). U-value measures the glass’s resistance to losing heat and how well it insulates, while SHGC measures how much heat the window allows through it. You want both these numbers to be low, e.g. between .2 and 1.3 — the lower the number the better.

A third term to look for is low-emissivity glass or low-E. Emissivity means the ability to reflect heat. This is achieved by applying a coating to the glass at the manufacturing plant. There are two methods and different materials are used in each one.

The method used in double-paned windows allows for more sunlight to pass through the windows and is superior in reflecting the sun’s rays. These windows are made with a special silver coating on the glass and they can be filled with argon gas between the layers for even further insulation. Single-paned windows also have a low-emissivity film applied to them, if the price of double-paned windows ends up being too costly.

What’s your climate like?

If you live in a rainy climate and need as much natural light as possible from your windows, visible transmittance (VT) might be very important to you. This rating shows the amount of light that the glass lets in.  Choose a higher number if you want the most daylight to be able to pass through the window. There’s also condensation resistance that is important if you live in a humid climate.

Another rating to check is the design pressure (DP) or wind rating. Depending on where you live and what your city code calls for, this could range from DP 20 to DP 50, the latter being glass that can withstand hurricane-force winds.

All the best-rated windows won’t do much to help reduce your energy consumption though if they are not installed properly. Get an excellent window contractor with references galore to install your windows.

Remember that the extra cost for energy efficiency in your windows will more than pay for itself in lower energy bills within as little as a few years.  Enjoy natural light and energy savings with new insulated windows.

Let us know in the comments section what you think the best windows are and how much they have helped you reduce your energy bills.

How to Conserve Energy and Save Money

by Martha Gail Moore

 

We’re more than halfway through this summer, and for much of the U.S. it has not been a particularly hot one, except in the West. But even if your neck of the woods hasn’t been as hot as previous summers, you can still conserve energy and save money. Here are three simple things you can do that’ll get both these important objectives accomplished.

Programmable Thermostat

First, install a programmable thermostat. If you’re the DIY type, there are lots of websites that can give you step-by-step instructions. Of course, you can call your local heating and air conditioning professionals, too. They could also do an energy audit. Then you could get really precise about finding where your biggest problems are and addressing the things that are consuming the most energy. But a programmable thermostat is a very good place to start. It works by adjusting the temperature to fit your schedule. It cools your home when you’re there and keeps it from getting too hot when you’re not. Programmable thermostats can save you up to 15 percent on your energy bill.

Fans

Second, install ceiling fans. Again, this can be a DIY project if you’re experienced in electrical work. You need accurate measurements of the room, including the height, before you head to the store to purchase the fans. Sales people can help you pick the right-sized blades for the room, and determine the best mounting solution for the type of ceiling you have.

If you already have a lighting fixture where you want the fan, this will be a pretty simple job. The most important thing to understand is that the regular electrical box needs to be replaced with a fan-rated electrical box. A ceiling fan requires stronger support for the added weight and motion of the fan. Be sure the blades of the fan are 10 inches or more from the ceiling, so they can adequately circulate the air. They also need to be mounted high enough from the floor so that a 6-foot-tall person doesn’t run the risk of injuring himself either.

If ceiling fans are not an option, even box fans or fans on a stand that oscillate can make a huge difference in helping you feel cooler in your home. What we’re aiming for here is to make our bodies feel cooler by the simple movement of air over our skin, because there’s a warm layer of air that surrounds our bodies. It’s what physiologists call the “boundary layer.”

Fans moving the air across our boundary layer can make the temperature feel like it is four degrees cooler than it actually is. The way you save money with this method is by turning your thermostat up and letting the fans circulate the cool air from your central air conditioner. Each degree higher that you set your thermostat saves you from seven to 10 percent on cooling costs.

For more temperate climates, fans can be all you need with the windows open in the fall and early spring. Always choose Energy Star products, because they pay for themselves very quickly by the energy you save. Another important tip with ceiling fans is to reverse the direction of the blades during the winter. Warm air rises and cold air sinks, so having the blades clockwise for the winter pushes the air onto the ceiling and then down the sides of the walls to the floor keeping you warmer. There’s a knob on the ceiling fan where you can switch the blade direction.

 Water Heater

Third, turn your hot water heater down. Adjusting the thermostat to 120 degrees is sufficient for showers, washing clothes, and
running the dishwasher. The Department of Energy says water heating is one of the biggest uses of energy in our homes. Of course, conserving water also fits into this course of action. The less water you use, the less water you heat.

 

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of things you can do, these are certainly some of the biggest steps you can take to conserve energy. The more you do to save, the smaller carbon footprint you leave on the planet, too. Have a great rest of the summer staying cool, conserving energy, and saving money!

Are Your Ready for the Next Arctic Blast?

by Martha Gail-Moore

Weather forecasters have made predictions that the mercury will be plunging again soon. But frostbite within 10 minutes of being outdoors probably won’t happen again for quite a while.

Just about every state in the United States was affected from our record-breaking winter cold snap in decades during the first week of January 2014. You may be wondering how to not only keep your home warm, but keep those heating bills lower too as the forecasters predict another cold front later this month.

The polar vortex or the Arctic air that broke off from its usual domain of the Artic and Canada is not expected to push down into southern states again this time. But many got a wake-up call about their home’s energy efficiency.

It is becoming increasingly more important as weather extremes in both directions seem to be the new normal. What can you do about it? Start with a home energy audit to find drafts, which are often located in gaps along the baseboard of the flooring and the junctures where walls and ceilings meet. Outside the home, the places to inspect are holes or cracks in the mortar, siding, or foundation, and then doors and windows.

Definitely look for a certified energy auditor, which most heating and air conditioning  companies can supply. Also check with your local utility provider in case they offer discounted home energy audits or even free ones. They’ll also need you to provide the past year’s fuel bills.

They’ll be looking for how your house uses energy and locating the inefficiencies. The audit will consist of two parts: A home energy assessment and a computerized data analysis.

Before green lighting the company, you should check to see if the inspector is using the following pieces of equipment that are integral to a proper energy inspection:

  •  Infrared camera that will help assess air leakage
  • Blower door that helps find leaks and creates a 20-mile-per-hour
    wind after it has depressurized a house helping to determine how well
    the air sealing worked
  • Manometer to test how well appliances that have exhaust devices are functioning
  • Combustion analyzer to test flue gases in appliances with vented combustion and measure temperature and for carbon monoxide
  • Draft gauge that tests for any chimney drafts
  • Moisture meter that can detect the amount of moisture in materials and wood
  • Smoke-generating device for discovering where ducts may be leaking air.
The thorough exterior and interior inspections and subsequent repair work may seem like a lot of work, but the rewards in cost savings and better health could make it well worth it.  Once a few or all of the energy efficiency projects have been completed, it’s possible to save between 5 to 30 percent on your monthly energy bill. And on average, most homes leak the equivalent of a medium-sized window being open 24/7.

How concerned are you about your home’s energy efficiency? How was your recent polar vortex experience?

It definitely warranted one of my grandmother’s quilts and a woolen blanket on top of that. And I live in Texas!

Let us know in the comments if you are planning any energy audits of your home to improve energy efficiency after the recent winter storm.

Martha Gail-Moore is a web content manager and copywriter. In the interest of sparking the best collaborations possible, she keeps it fun and, therefore, calls her business Playfulworks. She’s interested in children, art, and healthcare for everyone. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/playfulworkswebcontentmgmt.

Common Misconceptions About Home Energy Efficiency

Photo credit: Bonnie Bogle

Are you interested in energy efficiency in your home? You should be. Pennies add up really quickly and you could be spending hundreds of dollars too much every month to keep your home cool or heated. The problem is that many people have misconceptions about home energy efficiency. Because of this, many people aren’t able to take the steps necessary to prepare their homes to be truly energy efficient.

 Home Energy Efficiency Apathy and More

Here’s a look at some of the biggest problems about keeping a home energy efficient all year long.

  •  Apathy
    - While money is at stake, some people simply do not care enough to take  the necessary steps to make sure a home is energy efficient. This is a huge problem because it usually passes from generation to generation.
  • Money
    - Other people want to do something to keep their bills down, but they might not know where to start because they lack the money to do anything really big – like getting new insulation or replacing windows in an older home.
  • Misinformation
    - Another problem is that many people are just flat out misinformed about what they can and cannot do to better protect their home from the elements. This misinformation spreads quickly on the Internet and misconceptions grow fast.

The good news is that it’s easy to get past the misconceptions if you just take the time to educate yourself. The Internet is a great resource for learning about ways to keep your home comfortable all year long – without going broke with heating or cooling bills. The more time you spend researching the options available in the modern world, the more you’re going to be amazed at all the options that are available for homeowners. And a lot of them don’t cost a lot of money while others can actually make you money.

For example, if you start to use solar panels or a wind generator to generate the electricity to heat or cool your home, you may find that you’re producing more than you actually need. In this case, you can usually sell the excess energy back to the utility company and actually make money! Not everyone is able to do this, but it goes to show what’s really possible if you drop the misconceptions and learn the truth about what’s available these days. The future is bright when it comes to home energy efficiency.

Storing all of your extra belongings in the basement or garage might not be the best idea. This is one reason some people are using portable buildings in Auckland. If you’re concerned about money, one of the best places to look for savings is in how you heat and cool your home. The good news is that it’s not difficult to find ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Just make sure you don’t fall for any of the schemes or scams that unfortunately abound online.

Programmable Thermostats And Other Ways To Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Ways To Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

 Photo credits: trenttsd

If you’re looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency, a programmable thermostat is definitely going to help, but there are actually other ways that you can get your heating and cooling bills lower while still staying comfortable. We’re going to go over the best ways to get the most out of every dollar you spend on utilities in your home or business.

Tips for Better Home Energy Efficiency

Here are some specific ways that you can increase the energy efficiency in your home.

  • Get an Audit – One of the very first things you should do is get an energy efficiency audit. This will help you identify problems (and potential problems) so that you know which of the other tips on this list you should follow. If you don’t have a lot of extra money, this is the best way to see where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. The audit will cost money sometimes, but it’s occasionally available for free.

  • Programmable Thermostat – As mentioned in the title, this is one of the best ways to make sure you’re heating your home effectively. The good news is that they’re not very expensive. Most of the time, they’re going to help you save enough to pay for themselves within a few months – depending on where you live, of course.

  • Better Windows – If you have money to invest in your home, getting new energy efficient windows with triple panes can save a lot of money over time. As with other investments, this one can pay for itself in no time – especially if you live in a part of the world where it’s cold all the time.

  • Better Insulation – If you have no insulation (gasp!) or old insulation, you might also consider getting new insulation put in. A lot of advancements have been made over the years, and it’s easy for professional contractors to come in and get your house insulated correctly with something new that will really help you cool and heat your home more efficiently.

  • Seal Leaks – If you can figure out where you have leaks, you can usually seal them on your own. Go around your own and feel for drafts coming in then spend a little money on caulking to seal them up so you’re not losing heat and attempting to heat (or cool) the outdoors!

 

Using the tips and advice above, you’re going to be able to save money every month on your heating and cooling bills. And when you do this, whatever improvements you make are going to pay for themselves over time. As long as you have a little extra money to invest, it’s a good idea to put it toward energy efficiency in your home.

Written by: Rose Sterlova loves Panasonic bread making machines because they make it easy for a fresh loaf of bread. She really likes the smell. She’s working on a way to define content marketing to her grandmother without much luck so far.

 

Guest Blog Posts

“Guest Blog Posts Accepted”

Metro Energy Savers accepts guest blog posts that are in keeping with the overall theme of our blog.  If you are interested in submitting an article for publication please contact us by commenting to this post and we will get in touch with you.

Save Energy with Your Light Bulbs

A Simple Wayto Save Energy (and Money!)

Incandescent vs Compact Fluorescent vs Light Emitting Diodes

 

There has been much talk on the subject of which light bulbs you should use in the home and how this can impact on energy savings.  The subject centers on the use of incandescent light bulbs versus the newer compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs).

incandescent light bulb

Traditional Incandescent Bulb

Incandescent light bulbs have been in use since its  invention by Thomas Edison in 1879 and are used worldwide.  In the United States alone the sale of light  bulbs is estimated at around 2 billion annually.  They are still the most widely used light  bulbs but are slowly being phased out for more energy efficient lights.  In recent years CFL lights have seen an  increase in sales and in some stores the older incandescent bulbs are no longer  offered or are being slowly phased out. Most recently, LED bulbs are being offered as a replacement for
incandescent bulbs.

Lighting Costs

First let’s look at the costs of the various type light  bulbs in your average home.  The costs for lighting for an average home is estimated to be about 13% of the total energy cost.

Incandescent – It costs about $0.91 a day as of December 2012 to run a 60 watt incandescent bulb, producing 800 lumens. This translates to roughly $27.38 a compact flourescent lightmonth or $328.59 a year in energy costs.  This bulb will last approximately 1200 hours of use (120 days) and costs approximately $1.50 for each bulb.

CFL – It costs about $0.21 a day to run a 13-23 watt compact fluorescent bulb, producing 900-1600 lumens.  This translates to roughly $6.30 a month or $75.60 a year in energy costs. This type bulb will last approximately 8000 hours of use (2.19 years) and cost approximately $4.00 for each bulb.

 

 

 

 

LEDlight emitting diodeIt costs about $0.09 a day to run a 3-5 watt light emitting diode light, producing 800 lumens.  This translates to roughly $2.70 a month or $32.40 a year.  This type bulb will last approximately 25,000 hours of use (6 years) and cost approximately $13.00 for each bulb.

 

For the subject of this article the author will be using his own home as an example.

My home (3 bedroom, 2 bath w/double garage) has approximately 50 incandescent light bulbs in use with the average bulb being a 60 watt bulb and assuming 10 hours of use daily.  Assume only one fourth of the bulbs are in use during each day and energy costs remain constant (big assumption!).

Using only incandescent bulbs:

Initial cost (50 bulbs) – $75.00 and annual replacement cost (average daily use x 365days a year / 1200 hour life  x 1/4 bulbs in use
x $75) – $57  Annual energy cost – $985.77

Total annual cost – 1st year = $1060.77 and $1042.77 thereafter assuming cost of electricity remains constant.

 

Using only compact fluorescent bulbs:

Initial cost (50 bulbs) – $200.00 and annual replacement cost (average daily use x 365 / 8000) – $0.00 for first two years.

Annual energy cost – $75.60

Total annual cost – 1st year = $275.60,  $76.50 for 2nd year and then repeating the cycle starting 3rd year.

 Using only light emitting diode bulbs:

Initial cost (50 bulbs) – $650.00 and annual replacement cost (average daily use x 365 / 50,000) – $0.00 for first 6 years.

Annual energy cost – $32.85

Total annual cost – 1st year = $682.85, $32.85 for the next 6 years then repeat cycle.

 

Below is spreadsheet showing the estimated costs for incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs for the average home in
the above example, over a 6 year period. You will note that both CFLs and LEDs have a higher initial cost for the
bulbs but over a period of 6 years they both show significant savings over incandescent bulbs.

 

Year

Incandescent

Compact Fluourescant Light Emitting Diode

1

$1060.77

$275.60

$682.85

2

$1042.77

$76.50

$32.85

3

$1042.77

$275.60

$32.85

4

$1042.77

$76.50

$32.85

5

$1042.77

$275.60

$32.85

6

$1042.77

$76.50

$32.85

 

 

 

 

Total for 6 Years

$6274.62

$1,056.30

$847.10

 

LEDs offer a slight savings but provide little or no maintenance (replacement) over the period whereas the CFLs require replacement
every 3 years.  Although LEDs are significantly more expensive at the outset, they show a total saving over CFLS
for the 6 year period of 19%.

Incandescent lights are at the low end of the cost which is a major consideration.  Although initial cost is lower, incandescent lights are at the high end of the recurring energy cost.  CFLs contain a small amount of mercury which makes disposal an issue. Eventually incandescent bulbs will be phased out completely due to their drain on our overall energy consumption. One final note is that some CFLs and LEDs are not recommended for use in enclosed light housings or damp areas so consider this before switching.  CFL and LEDs will become the standard so begin determining which one is the best choice for your home now.  Although the average homeowner does not reflect on bulb replacement when their electric bill arrives, the replacement costs of both incandescent and CFL bulbs is significant over a long period.  Whichever bulb you choose to replace your old incandescent bulbs with, CFLs or LEDS, they both offer tremendous savings to the homeowner.

 

Energy Savings this Winter

 

Energy Saving can be Big Money Saving!

With winter just around the corner many of us are dreading the inevitable increase in our home energy bills.  Every year it’s the same thing; we turn on the heater and our electric bills soar through the overhead.  In North Texas the winters can be extremely hard and temperatures around the freezing point normal.  Most homeowners just accept that higher electric bills are the price to pain for living in this area but there are many things you can do yourself to cut those costs!

DIY Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

Homeowners can take care of many of the energy saving things themselves without having to call in a professional.  The cost of these fixes can be low and many just require a little time and elbow grease to accomplish.  Here are a few of the easier ones to tackle:

·         Blanket wrap your water heater – Water heater wraps (or water heater insulation jacket) can be found at many outlets and run in the range of $30-40.  These can help to reduce the cost of running your water heater by as much as 10%. 

·         Turn down your thermostat – Studies have shown that turning down your thermostat by only 3 degrees can result in a saving of about $200 a year. 

·         Wash clothes in cold water wherever possible. 

·         Change your heating/ac filter regularly – A small thing like changing the air filter can produce big energy savings.  When the filter becomes clogged it causes the system to work harder and increases your electric usage.

·         Let sunshine in – Whenever possible open curtains facing the sun to allow the sun to warm up the room.

·         Close curtains at night – Curtains help to retain warmth in a room.

·         Turn ceiling fans to pull air up – Cold air is held near the floor while warm air rises.  Reversing the ceiling fans to pull up will circulate the cooler air upward and push the warmer air down resulting in an increase in the overall temperature of the room.

·         Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs – Newer LED light bulbs (although more expensive) use far less electricity and have a much longer life.  Some studies have shown that they can last as much as 100,000 hours or 11 years of continuous use.

·         Increase attic insulation – You don’t have to be a professional to add insulation to your attic.  If you are in an area where temperatures will be sub-freezing it is recommended that you have at least R-30 or about 11 inches or more of insulation.

·         Insulation around doors and windows – This is one area where many homes lose much of their heating.  A simple check to ensure that caulking is not broken or missing around windows and seals around doors (particularly at the bottom) are in good shape will produce a big energy savings.

·         Use Power Strips – Many of today’s electronics consume energy even when turned off.  To conserve electricity install power strips on electronic devices and also turn off the power strip when not in use.

Energy Saving That May Require a Professional

Although many of us may be hesitant to call a professional for something that we don’t feel is broken, this can actually produce big energy savings in the long run.  Look into these areas where you may need professional help.

·         Consider having an energy audit conducted – This type audit can point out possible areas of energy loss that you may not be aware of that can be big savings.

·         Heating System Check Up – Before each winter season it is advisable to have your heater checked out by a professional for two reasons: efficiency of your system and safety of your family.  The technician will check all connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger parts to ensure safety and efficiency.

·         Programmable Thermostat – Instead of having to constantly be adjusting your thermostat you should consider having a fully programmable thermostat installed.  This type thermostat can automatically adjust your system for evening or times when the house will be empty thereby saving you money.

·         Have duct system checked for leaks – This can be an area where much of your heating is lost.  Small leaks can result in big energy losses.  A professional will have the materials handy to fix any leaks discovered quickly.  Additionally, a duct system should have a regular cleaning.  We have the dirt and dust caused by the shedding of skin and hair that makes its way in from the outside, along with debris and, if you have a pet, you will more likely to see a higher volume of those particles in your home. On top of that, if you live in a humid climate area, the likelihood of mold developing in your home and in those air filtration systems is pretty high so you should consider duct cleaning as part of your regular maintenance.

    The final piece of the winter energy saving puzzle is to ensure that your entire family is educated on what they can each do to save energy.  Simple turning off lights when not in use and dressing for winter, even indoors can go a long way to reduce costs.  Home energy savings is a family job, make sure everyone knows their part.

 Contact Metro Energy Savers for Energy Saving Help

If you have any questions about energy saving or need to talk with a professional contact Metro Energy Savings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Subscribe to the Metro Energy Savers blog, Like us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter for more helpful tips on how to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

 

How to Beat the Summer Heat

Welcome to the dog days of summer – a term that dates back to the ancient Romans who associated hot weather with the appearance of Sirius (the “dog star”) in the morning sky just before sunrise.

Over the next couple of months, temperatures will likely linger around the century mark here in North Texas, and your air conditioner will work harder than at any other time during the year.  Your monthly utility bills may also soar along with the temperatures.

Here at Metro Energy Savers, we’re committed to helping homeowners keep cool and control their energy costs, no matter how high the mercury climbs.  Here are a few things you can do to help you survive the dog days.

Check your air filter every 30 – 90 days and clean or replace it to ensure proper air flow to your air conditioning system.  If you have indoor pets, it’s a good idea to inspect your air filter monthly.

Set your system fan to the “on” position instead of the “auto” setting. Doing this will make the indoor fan run continuously. The continually moving air will help keep you cooler, and your outside unit (the condenser) will still switch on and off as needed. It will also help you maintain a more even temperature throughout your home, especially if you live in a multi-level structure. It will also keep your condenser from cycling as much, which will reduce your energy usage and save you money.

Inspect the outside condenser coil annually and, if necessary, wash it down with a garden hose and remove any vegetation that might be impeding air flow to the unit.  This can cause your condenser to heat up which will cause it to be less effective and efficient.

Locate the small (usually 3/8” O/D) copper tubing running from your home to the condenser and carefully check to see if it feels hot.  If so, the unit could be low on refrigerant or the condenser coil could need cleaning.

If your home has certain rooms that get warmer than others, partially close the vent registers in the cooler rooms, but do not close them all the way as this can interfere with the static air pressure of your system, causing it to be less efficient.

Make sure that all interior doors in your home have at least a 3/4” gap between the bottom of the door and the floor when the doors are closed.  This gap allows your air conditioning system’s air return duct to draw warm air from closed rooms and helps to keep your entire home more comfortable.

Never turn your air conditioning system off when leaving your home for extended periods of time. Instead, raise the thermostat by five to ten degrees while you’re away and lower it when you return. The amount of energy used will be less than would be used to make your home comfortable after going completely without air conditioning for an extended period of time.

If your air conditioning system is leaking Freon, you should never have to add it.  If continually having to add Freon to your system, contact a heating and air conditioning repair company and have your system professionally inspected and repaired. If left unattended, a Freon leak can cause serious damage to your air conditioning system, not to mention the environmental hazard it presents.

If you turn you’re A/C system off, wait at least three to five minutes before turning it back on. Not waiting can cause the compressor to short-cycle, which can result in blown fuses, tripped breakers and even serious damage to the compressor itself. Most programmable thermostats are equipped with built-in time delay to prevent these problems from occurring.

We hope you found this information helpful.  If so, please share it.

Do you have additional tips on keeping your home cool while controlling your utility costs?  If so, we’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.

Subscribe to the Metro Energy Savers blog, Like us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter for more helpful tips on how to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

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How to Survive the Dog Days of Summer by Metro Energy Savers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke – Know the Signs

Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Identifying & Treating Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious risks, and with summer in full swing you should know the warning signs and treatments in order to protect yourself and your family.

According to the CDC, exposure to excessive heat resulted in the deaths of 2,239 Americans between 1999 and 2003. The risk of heat-related illness increases dramatically when the heat index (a measure of relative humidity and air temperature) rises to 90 degrees or higher.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion is caused by water depletion or salt depletion in the body.  Symptoms of water depletion include extreme thirst, general weakness, headache, and in extreme cases, a loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion caused by salt depletion include nausea and vomiting, dizziness and muscle cramps.

Other symptoms of heat exhaustion include confusion, dark-colored urine, profuse sweating, tachycardia (a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute), and pale skin.

Young children, the elderly, and individuals with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease and heart and lung conditions, are at a much higher risk of heat exhaustion.

Treatment

Recommended treatments for heat exhaustion include:

  • Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids
  • Removal of heavy, constrictive clothing
  • Taking a cool shower
  • Resting in an indoor space under air conditioning

Heat exhaustion can progress to a much more serious condition known as heat stroke. You should immediately contact your physician if symptoms of heat exhaustion persist for more than 30 minutes.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, heat stroke can be fatal.

The hallmark symptom of this condition is a core body temperature of 105 degrees or higher.

Other symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Lack of sweating
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Reddening of the complexion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment 

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Delaying proper medical treatment can result in death.

There are a number of steps you can take while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive. They include:

  • Application of an ice pack or cold compresses to the sufferer’s neck, back, groin and arm pits.
  • Immersion in a tub of cold water
  • Rest in an air conditioned, indoor space
  • Remove all unnecessary clothing
  • If no indoor, air conditioned area is available, the sufferer should be moved to a shady area and fanned until help arrives

The immediate goal of these treatments is to lower the body temperature to 102 degrees or lower.

The best way to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke is to limit your outdoor activities to the early morning and evening hours. When that’s impossible or impractical, knowing the symptoms and recommended treatments can help you prevent the serious, and even fatal effects of these medical conditions.

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Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke – Know the Signs by Metro Energy Savers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.