Energy usage and lessons learned

The key to everything begins with listening to understand

About everything you wanted to ask a pro but never did..

Documenting each and every tip, good practice and quality hack or DIY that im sure will help!

Go Ahead~Ask A Pro

HVAC - Heating and Cooling


Distribution system leaks on your furnace supply and returns are always the highest priority when it comes to conserving energy and providing comfort.


Attic Access Hatch(s)

I have a very small square in the ceiling of one of the bedroom closets. How can I tell if it's insulated or not without going up there?

 Simple! Just tap it with anything long enough that you have handy (short of just getting a ladder) if it's insulated it will be heavier than it looks, and if it's not it will rattle around or sound thin and flimsy. Also pay close attention to where this panel meets the trimwork. You should see some sort of gasket on all four sides. A professionally insulated access panel is always weatherstripped.


What would happen if my thermostat had ice cubes duct taped to it?

You would be hot and the thermostat would be cold plus your energy bills would be high.

I'd like to mount my flat screen TV on the wall, but the only place that I can put it is in front of the living room or bedroom thermostat. Is that gonna be a problem?

When you block your thermostat it will not register or sense the heat from the baseboard heater causing the baseboard heaters to run excessively. In the event that you're watching television (like most things that are electric, the heat your television produces) will give the thermostat a false sense of the rooms temperature. So in short you will be cold because your thermostat will be warm!

What would happen if my baseboard heaters were blocked by my furniture?

You and the thermostat would be cold and your energy bills would be high. Essentially, there needs to be an unobstructed line of communication between the baseboard heaters and the thermostats. Without the thermostat will never be satisfied and the baseboard will run continuously.

Is it cost effective to keep bedroom doors closed and keep the room thermostat off or very low?

Yes it is.  Did you know each foot in lenght of a electric baseboard consume 250 watts of power? Take a monent and think of each rooms baseboard heater and how long it is. Most medium sized bedrooms have about 6 feet.  Thats 1500 watts or 1.5 killowatts!

In the year 2024 how much would I save in electric (if heating with electric) by turning down each thermostat just one degrees?

As of today each degree you set your thermostat back for any type of electric heat (with exception to a heat pump) Will equal 3.5% savings on your monthly utility bill!

Electric space heaters are still as dangerous today as they were in the old days.

Most all space heaters use 1500 W, currently costing about *$.20 per hour.

By the way there is no such thing as the most energy efficient space heater "ever created" whether the Amish, Chinese or American made it.

Space heaters are dangerous in a way you may have never thought of…

They draw a lot of power! They use a lot of amps and they tax the wiring that we can't see behind the outlet!

This is exactly how home fires can be associated with electric space heating. 

Water Heating

Often overlooked...

History of flooding standing water or even high humidity will cause premature rusting on the outside jacket that will eventually eat its way in to the hot water heating vessel

Should I drain or flush my hot water heater? And how often?

Yes you should!

Flushing your hot water heater is a simple preventative maintenance process that you should perform at least once a year.  Simply attach a garden hose to the bottom spigot of the hot water heater and place the other end of the hose outside or in a drain nearby.  Now open up the valve on the bottom of your hot water heater that you have attached the hose to.  The water will begin to drain from the hose and be constantly replaced by new fresh water coming in to the top of the tank. Do not turn any other valves at the top of the tank just allow the water to flush naturally for about 10 minutes or until the water coming out the house is clear. It's that simple!

Where is the filter on my heat pump hot water heater located?

Most heat pump hot water heaters have the filter location on the top. Depending upon the make you either lift it up or slide it up.

Heat pump hot water heater filter locations

How often should I check and clean that heat pump hot water heater filter? What are some maintenance requirements?

 Check the filter monthly. Clean as needed. If your heat pump hot water heater is drained into a condensating pump, once yearly you should pour one cup of bleach or hydrogen peroxide into the pump reservoir to sanitize and clear any algae or debris.



I live in an apartment building and I think that one of my neighbors has circuits on my bill. How do I find out?

Simple. Go to your apartments circuit breaker panel box and flip off the main. Now ask them or wait for a phone call from them asking if you lost power too?

My refrigerator or freezer is about 10 years old can it be causing my electric bill to be high?

 Probably not. Most refrigerators and freezers cost anywhere from 5 to 8 dollars per month in electric usage.

How long does the average electric hot water heater last?

 The average expected design life of an electric water heater is between 12 and 15 years.

Many factors can affect this such as the quality of water in your area, minerals and where in your home it's located.

The life expectancy is also affected drastically if you have developed a very good habit of flushing the unit annually.

This is an infrared photo of a self defrosting freezer.

It's because the door is open slightly

That ice has built up

So this freezer is stuck in defrost cycle.

My refrigerator is freezing my produce

Coming soon.... and yes you should learn where and how to clean the coils.

Me and my dehumidifier... Usage instructions

Me and my dehumidifier.. Usage instructions order of importance:

Locate and clean filter as often as you would your dryer lint trap.

(Dehumidifiers with clogged filters behave more like space heaters. Think of it as your car's radiator.... If your radiator had leaves all over it your engine would overheat and have to work very hard. The same is true with a dehumidifier but far more expensive monthly)

Be sure all exterior windows are in the closed in the area while operating your dehumidifier. 

(If not you are essentially asking the dehumidifier to dry out or dehumidify the town you live in)

Always set fan to high or turbo speed.

(By moving more air you will speed up the drying process and save energy in the long run)

Use reasonable settings. For example 45% to 55%. You may even adjust that dehumidifier by 5% each month or so. Start in Spring at 55% and end in fall when cool cold dry outdoor temperatures/dewpoint are noticed.  * Remember warm or hot air can hold more moisture than cold dry air.

(Depending upon your region and if you live in the greater Northeast you will likely not be able to make the area where the dehumidifier is like Tucson Arizona)

Be sure dehumidifier is draining or emptied often.  If your dehumidifier drains into a sub pump or floor drain, cover it! 

(Any standing water will require the dehumidifier to run more frequently and drive up your energy bill.)

My basement is damp especially after rains. I don't necessarily have standing water in the basement but I notice a musty smell after rain. Could this have anything to do with trees and shrubbery around the foundation of my home or should I focus on checking the gutters and downspouts?

You should definitely make sure that your gutters are clear and free of obstructions leading to the downspouts and that all downspouts are pitched properly away from your home by about 6 foot.

When it comes to shrubs, they should never be close to touching your home.

Raised flowerbeds, shrubbery and annuals can be very beneficial around the foundation of your home

Because as they are small in nature they can take on the excessive moisture for nourishment

Essentially keeping this away from your foundation.  Their root system is small in nature and not very complex and can be easily dealt with on an "as needed" basis.

It's most important that any foliage or leaves don't touch your home.

And trees should be clear by 12 foot away from the exterior surfaces of your home.

With trees, it's important to remember that if it rains for one hour under that tree it likely rains for two hours!

Not to mention the complex root system is always searching for nutrients, warmth and collected water. If the root structure is close to the foundation of your home all these elements are readily available.

Root balls can also eventually caused significant damage to foundation block and joints.