Greener & More Sustainable
Do I need an energy audit?
Do you like the potential to save money in the near and distant future? Then yes—you need an energy audit. With an energy audit, a professional looks over your home and determines which steps you could take to cut on your energy consumption. The best part? You can get one free through Cleveland Utilities and Volunteer Energy. Call Cleveland Utilities at (423) 472-4521 or Volunteer Energy at (423) 334-7053 to schedule your energy audit. Note: Both Cleveland Utilities and Volunteer Energy may know an energy audit as an in-home energy evaluation, so you may need to use this terminology to get what you need.
How much money does insulation really save me?
While nearly half of your utilities goes toward heating and cooling your home, much of that bill comes courtesy of insufficient insulation. Get the right insulation in your home, and you can begin to watch your utility bill shrink significantly each month. How significantly? Combo house-wide insulation with sealing and insulating air ducts, and you can save between 10 and 50 percent on your utility bills. Over time, even 10 percent adds up to major savings.
Should I get new windows?
Whether you have single-pane windows, your windows allow drafts in your home, or your home’s windows rattle during the cold seasons and become impossible to open and close in the warm months, it may be time to consider new windows. Go with Energy Star windows, and you can expect to save between as much as $450 a year on utilities, depending on whether your current windows are single- or double-pane.
Do I really need to have my HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system checked out each year?
Like any piece of machinery, even the newest HVAC unit suffers wear and tear. To ensure yours continues operating well, investing a little bit each season for a tune-up can save you big bucks on bills—both monthly utilities and repair.
How can I increase HVAC efficiency?
Since heating and cooling make up much of your utility bill, it’s a good idea to help your HVAC work its best at all times. Besides upgrading to a new unit, having it checked once or twice a year and insulating your home and HVAC ductwork, you should also keep the airways clean. To do this, replace your HVAC filter each month, clean vents and registers regularly, and do not block registers with furniture or other items that prevent airflow. Also, keep your fan running year-round to improve airflow and decrease the demand put on your HVAC unit.
Do I really need to fix that leaky faucet?
On top of the annoying dribble coming from your kitchen or bathroom sink, a leaky faucet can put quite the drain on your wallet, wasting approximately 6,000 gallons of water in a year’s time. Can you afford to pay for 6,000 gallons you’re not using?
What should I set my hot water heater on?
You may like your water to be boiling hot, but keeping the temperature down a bit will keep your utilities lower. In fact, dropping your water heater from 140 to 120 degrees will reduce your monthly bill by approximately 15 percent.
When should I replace my water heater?
Considering your water heater is the second highest single utility expense, knowing when to upgrade can save you major money. If your water heater starts making odd sounds, stops heating water well or springs a leak, it’s time to find a new water heater. Have a water heater in a cabin or business office that gets little use? Go tankless! A tankless water heater turns on only when you turn the faucet for hot water, so it costs you nothing when you’re not in the cabin or office bathroom.
What about gas?
If your home is heated by gas or you use gas for your stove, dryer, or water heater, you probably enjoy the instant heat offered. But pay attention! If the pilot light on any of your gas devices is red or yellow instead of blue, the mixture of gas and air is a bit off. This can lower efficiency and be very dangerous. Seek professional attention immediately.