Latest Posts

Save Electricity and Money with Smart Power Strips

Nowadays, things are very different form back when the average home had one TV and maybe a computer that was only turned on for a few hours at most. Today, the average home has more than one computer, many electrical appliances and several televisions. Most of these devices are connected to game consoles, printers, DVD players, external monitors and other devices. While these devices are a highly important part of our daily life and entertainment, they also increase our energy consumption which in turn increases the monthly electricity bill. The real problem is not actually the electrical consumption when these devices are in use but the fact that most people forget to turn these devices off when they are not in use. In reality, there are some electronic devices that continue to use up power even after being turned off. This type of energy usage is known as ‘vampire loads’ and can be fixed with a simple, convenient and affordable solution.

By replacing your everyday average power strips with more advanced power strips, you can reduce wasted electricity by a considerable percentage. These can help you prevent the wastage of electricity while your devices are idle. While not necessarily a home improvement that requires construction, smart power strips can actually provide a great solution for vampire loads. The best thing about advanced power strips is that you don’t even have to change the way you use your electronic decides to experience the savings.

Advanced power strips are primarily designed to be used in home offices and home entertainment centers. Since both home offices and entertainment systems involve many electronic devices plugging into a power strip, you can prevent them from continuing to draw in power when they are turned off or not in use by switching to smart power strips. There is a variety of advanced power strip types that can be chosen according to your specific needs. For instance, if you have a habit of falling asleep while watching TV at night, then you can choose an activity monitor advanced power strip to turn everything off. Another example are masterless advanced power strips which are perfect for those who are careful about turning off their devices but are still concerned about vampire loads.

If you are considering switching form your regular power strips to advanced power strips, then make sure that the option you choose is able to meet basic standards in addition to offering exciting benefits. For instance, the advanced power strip you choose will need to be equipped with surge protectors to save your devices and appliances from transient voltage damage and surges. Short bursts of transient voltage can damage your devices at once or over a period of time. Make sure that you check your electronic devices, the locations in which you mostly use them and replace your average power strips with good quality advanced power strips. You may find that the best ones are quite pricey. However, they would make an excellent investment in reducing your electricity costs as well as enhancing the longevity of your electronic devices.

Installing a Solar Powered Water Heater in Your Home

No matter what the season may be, the average household will have a high demand for hot water. With rising energy costs, basic conservation measures won’t make a much of a difference. The energy needed for heating water for laundry, baths and dishes can get quite expensive over the long haul. One of the best alternatives to conserve energy and to reduce your energy costs for hot water is to use the energy from the sun. Solar powered water heaters provide an excellent alternative to regular water heating methods. The installation is not too complicated and can be easily adapted to your existing plumbing. Here is how you can install your own homemade or store-bought solar water heater with minimum hassle.


closed-loop-solarThere are many variables involved with the installation of a solar water heating system. There are several different types of systems and the components differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. In order to make sure that your solar water heating system is installed and operating properly, you will need to consider a few important things first. One of the most basic types of solar powered water systems is a closed loop system. You will have to consider whether your roof can support the weight of the solar collectors and installation crew as well as whether the roof work can be safely done.  Make sure you’re working with a reputable roofing contractor for this. You will need to make sure that there is adequate space inside your property for the storage tank as well as the other hardware. Last, but not least, you need to make sure that you can install the plumbing lines between the collectors and storage tank without dishing out a fortune on remodeling costs.

To put things simply about a basic closed loop system, you will be circulating water, heating with solar power, through a continuous plumbing loop that runs from the panels on the roof down to a heat exchanger with the aid of a pump. Then, the water is pumped back up to the panels again to complete the circle. The heat exchanger is a tank built inside the reservoir tank to heat the water. This type of installation is not very easy to put together as the pump needs to be kept in regulation to make sure that it doesn’t operate when sunlight isn’t available. This means that the system also needs a differential controller at the storage reservoir and at the collectors to monitor the operation of the pump.

The next step is to purchase the right equipment and accessories needed to set up the system. According to industry standards, you will require two 3 x 8 foot solar collector panel units for a family of four. In addition to the panels, you will also require the sensors, pump, controller and an expansion tank to absorb the excess volume of closed loop fluid when it is heated. You will also need either, ½ inch polybutylene or copper pipes, adequate pipe fittings and couplers to complete your installation. You will also require insulation jacketing, air vents and an assortment of different valve types.

While you can definitely employ the DIY approach to install a solar powered hot water system, you may need to seek the consultation of a quality contractor to make sure that the project is actually feasible. As mentioned earlier, it is not necessarily the simplest task to install a solar powered hot water system. Unless you have some sort of knowledge or experience on handling plumbing and electrical work, it is recommended that you let a professional do the job. There are plenty of reputed companies out there, that provide complete solar powered hot water solutions and you may be able to get your work done at a great price and with minimal effort.

Considerations Before Installing a Solar Array in Your Home

Homes that run on solar power are no longer a rarity. With increasing worries over climate change, local and federal tax incentives and the rising energy costs, more and more people are considering converting to solar energy to power their home. Going solar can help your entire household’s carbon footprint to decrease by an average of over 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. In order to offset this amount of carbon dioxide, you will have to plant around 88 trees each year. A permanent sola panel installation not only presents excellent savings and tax advantages but will also increase your homes value.

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells or PV cells which are special batteries which can harness sunlight and transform it into usable energy. This energy is then sent to an inverter which converts it into electricity which can be used to power your home.

solar-diagramIt is important to understand that the installation of solar panels in your home needs to done with care for optimum results. For instance, it is required that you install additional wiring and place the solar panels perfectly for maximum efficiency. Your roof needs to be able to receive direct sunlight from 10am – 2pm (this is when the sunlight is at its strongest) for the system to perform efficiently. In addition to your geographical location, your surroundings also matter when it comes to the exposure of your panels to the sun. If you have the option of maximizing the exposure of your panels to direct sunlight, you can discuss them with your contractor.

Different types of panels react to sunlight and shadows in different ways. For instance, some panels reduce their output while others shut down completely. Be sure that you start with how much energy you need each month.  By looking at your electricity bill, you can determine the average amount of energy you need per day and then multiply it by 25 to obtain the monthly requirement. This information will help you determine the size of the panels and the number of panels before you consult a contractor.

When it comes to hiring a professional, look for someone who offers an excellent warranty in which the inverter is covered for at least a decade and the panels for 20 – 25 years. Look for a manufacturer whose warranty can protect you in your location and employ the manufacturer’s own installers or manufacturer approved installers for the best results. Make sure that your shortlisted installers have good reviews and no major complaints with the Better Business Bureau before you go any further.

Before you sign up with your installers, you need to make sure that you have the necessary permits to proceed. A typical solar panel wiring and installation project only takes a few days but the permits take a while. There are different types of permits available at different prices and they vary from municipality to municipality. It is normal or your installer to obtain them before the project begins.