Save Money at Home In The New Year

It’s a new year, a new decade, a fresh start. Most of us are starting to put together our resolutions and goals into action for the new year. A popular one among most people is cutting back on expenses in their home. Here are 5 suggestions on how you can cut back the monthly bills this year.

5 Ways to Save Money at Home In The New Year

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Did you know that turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you’re at work or away can save you as much as 10% a year on cooling and heating for your home! If a programmable thermostat is not available or in the budget, start making it part of your morning routine to turn back the thermostat. When you get home you can feel out the temperature and adjust it back to what is most comfortable. With the programmable thermostat, you can set the temp to change about 30 min before you arrive home so you’re welcomed with a comfortable temperature.

Turn off the Lights

It’s easy to leave lights on when moving about your home. Start getting in the habit of turning lights out when leaving each room. Leaving a lamp on all day every day will add up over time. Also, try to get in the routine of checking all lights are off before leaving your home. A quick sweep of the house will end up saving you money in the long run!

Switch to Propane Gas

Heating a home in the U.S. with propane has cost far less than heating with electricity according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Propane water heaters can cost one-third less to use and recover water twice as quickly as electric water heaters over time. Also, on average, propane furnaces normally last 5-10 years longer than electric heating pumps.

A propane gas furnace normally heats air to about 130°F – 140°F and runs in short intervals to minimize utility costs. Electric heating units produce heat below body temperature or 98.6°F. This is why the air coming from the heating vent actually feels cool to the human touch if you place your hand in front of it.

Check Home Insulation

When is the last time you have checked the insulation in your home? You know, all that fun fluffy stuff in your walls? Save up to 15% of your annual utility bills by making sure your home is air sealed tight and insulated! A home that isn’t insulated well is essentially heating the neighborhood and their home, as heating and cooling will find ways to escape in the outdoors. Also, cooling or heating units in your home may be working harder to service your home when the air is escaping.

Unplug Unused Devices

Who else leaves countless electrical devices plugged in at all times, but rarely use them? Personally, we are guilty of this one. Most electronic devices constantly draw a small amount of electricity which can add up over time if you take into consideration how many appliances you leave plugged in at all times! To minimize power usage, be sure to unplug cords or power strips you don’t use regularly!

 

Contact Keystone Propane today for more information on how we can help you save money in the new year and beyond! Our team of experts will help you find the perfect cost-saving propane solutions for your home or business. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and warm new year!

7 DIY Home Insulation Ideas

As the winter season approaches, it’s time to protect your home from the harsh, cold elements. Insulating the home is something many homeowners struggle with, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Follow these simple DIY ideas to keep your home insulated during the winter season.

1. Inspect the Home

Many homes (especially older ones) have spots where air leaks. Open spaces are prone to allow unwanted air to enter the home. Find some time to walk throughout the home and look for drafty areas. Common drafty areas can include the attic, basement, and crawlspace.

2. Maintain Your HVAC System

The health of your HVAC system is essential for keeping warm air from escaping the home. Check your air filters and clean them regularly. This will help to control the air flow in the home, and it will improve the air quality.

3. Seal Drafty Doorways

Place foam weather-stripping on the bottom and sides of your doors. If the gap underneath the door is especially large, put a double draft stopper to close the gap. You can buy these double draft stoppers from a hardware store near you, or you can create a homemade stopper using fabric, kitty litter, or even a pair of old jeans that you no longer wear.

4. Seal Drafty Windows

Add an extra layer of insulation to your windows with the help of plastic sheeting. This is a cheap DIY option that can stop outside air in its tracks. You only need plastic sheeting, double-sided tape, and a hairdryer. Apply the sheeting to the window sill with the tape, and apply hot air using the hairdryer. This is an easy way to ensure that your windows are insulated.

5. Seal Vents and Ducts

A great deal of air is lost through the vent and duct system due to poorly sealed openings and connections. Your duct system is often overlooked, and it can be hard to spot the leaks. To seal your ductwork, purchase some HVAC tape from a hardware store. HVAC tape is strong and doesn’t dry out (unlike duct tape). Apply the tape to any leaky opening on your ductwork.

6. Install Thick Curtains

If you have drafty windows, a set of thick curtains can really help to keep warm air in and cold air out. While they don’t serve a purpose in the summer months, thick curtains can make a difference in the winter seasons.

7. Swap Out the Screen Door

In the winter, we tend to forget about the screen door, as we have the main door to shield the home from the outside air. But even with the main door, outside air can still sneak inside the home. To stop this from happening, swap out that screen door for a solid pane of glass. This is an incredibly simple way to keep your home insulated during the winter months.

For more helpful tips on home insulation or to order your propane delivery, contact Keystone Propane today!

Prevent Your Heating Bill From Haunting You: Energy Efficiency Tricks and Treats

For many people, there’s nothing spookier than receiving a steep energy bill. To help keep your energy bill in-check this Halloween season, we have compiled a series of useful, actionable energy efficiency tricks you can easily implement.

Energy Efficiency Tricks and Treats

Protect Your Airflow

Those air leaks in your windows and doors allow unwanted, cold air to creep into the home. This air disrupts the internal temperature of the home, causing your energy system to work harder, and for your energy bill to skyrocket. By plugging these air leaks with caulk, you won’t have cold air sneaking into your home. Bonus: you also keep scary, ghostly spirits at bay.

Turn the Lights Off

It’s difficult to keep a spooky vibe if all your indoor lights are on. Save energy by turning off the lights. If there are areas of the home that need to be illuminated, use candles. Candles also vibe perfectly with the Halloween season by creating a spooky atmosphere.

Use LED Lights

If you’re adorning your home with spooky decorations this Halloween, use LED lights. These conserve far less energy than normal lightbulbs. Regular lighting can be like an energy vampire—slowly sucking away your energy, causing your electric bill to rise.

Unplug Unused Electronics

Those electronics and appliances can be another energy vampire. Even if they aren’t being used, they still consume energy. This is called “phantom energy loads,” and it can be stopped by simply unplugging those unused devices and appliances.

Maintain the Chimney

The warmth and comfort of a fireplace can be so welcoming in the fall season, but a chimney that’s always opened will cause warm air to escape during the winter and fall seasons. When it’s not in use, close your chimney flue. Doing so will keep warm air inside, while keeping scary witches out.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are extremely useful for energy conservation. You can program it to raise or lower the temperature when you aren’t home, and you can also program it to adjust during set times.

Protect Your Home with Insulation

Your crawlspace and attic areas are practically outside your house, and they have a high amount of penetrations for water pipes, sewer lines, vent stacks, etc. These are often small penetrations, but they can make a huge difference in how you consume energy. Properly insulating these areas will help to keep warm air where it’s supposed to be—inside the home.

Seeing an expensive energy bill can be a scary sight. Instead, follow the tips in this blog post or contact Keystone Propane today to find out how to keep your energy bill manageable. Happy Halloween!

Energy Efficiency Tips for Back-To-School

School season is back, and it’s a time of the year with high energy consumption. To help you conserve energy during this time of year, we’ve compiled a series of actionable energy efficiency tips you can follow.

Easy Energy Efficiency Tips

1. Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are quite useful. During the warmer months, you should put the temperature as high as you can; during the winter, program the temperature as low as you can comfortably handle. The programmable thermostat can heat and cool your home around your schedule, making it a powerful tool to help you save energy.

2. Optimize your lighting

While the kids are at school, you should be consuming less energy throughout the day. Take advantage of this by ensuring that all unused lights are turned off. It’s also a good idea to replace inefficient lightbulbs. Replace all your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs tend to use less energy, while also lasting longer. Optimizing your lighting surprisingly simple tip that will help you consume less power throughout the course of the year.

3. Unplug your devices

Most kids have an arsenal of gadgets and devices throughout the house, but while they’re away, it’s wise to unplug them to conserve energy. Even though the electronics will be idle, they still consume “vampire energy”, which is energy that leaks out from plugs and chargers while they are connected to a power outlet.

4. Use the fridge wisely

While you’re preparing your kid’s meals for school, you’ll be using your refrigerator while you take out certain items. The more you open and close your fridge, the more energy you consume, so it’s better to take out everything you need to use at once. While this is a small adjustment, it can help you conserve energy in the long run. Also, be sure to inspect your fridge’s seals. If the seals are broken, cold air will leak out, wasting a great deal of energy and money.

5. Use propane

Propane is a great energy source, and if used properly, can be more efficient than other energy sources. Compared to conventional gas and electric systems, propane can be much cheaper, especially when you factor in low installation and maintenance costs. Propane is extremely versatile, as it can heat your home, water, appliances (stove, dryer, etc.), and it can provide back-up power. Propane can also be purchased in bulk with affordable pre-buy contracts.

The school year is a great time to optimize how your household consumes energy. Follow the energy efficiency tips listed in this post to conserve more power and to save money throughout the school season and contact us today for more information!

The Benefits of Propane Pre-Buy Contracts

Why a propane pre-buy contract with Keystone? Because propane prices can fluctuate on a weekly basis and a pre-buy can lock in the savings.

Spring Cleaning for Energy Savings

Now that the warm weather is finally here, it’s time to start working on your spring cleaning to whip your home back into shape. Most homeowners automatically put window washing and mulching at the top of the list, but they fail to realize the benefit of concentrating their efforts on other less obvious tasks like spring cleaning for energy savings.

Because of this, a lot of homeowners miss out on the many opportunities to save energy by completing a few easy tasks that can result in some significant savings. Many families don’t realize how much energy is actually wasted in their homes every day, but by adding just a few of the following energy efficiency improvements to your spring cleaning list you can start taking advantage of these savings immediately!

Clean Sliding Door Tracks

Don’t stop at glass cleaning when it comes to your sliding doors. Over the winter a lot of dirt, pebbles, and other build-ups can get into the tracks, making it impossible for your glass doors to seal properly. This leaves a lot of extra gaps that allow the cool air in your home to escape and the hot air to get it.

Replace Your Air Conditioning Filters

Many people forget to clean out or replace the filters more than once or twice during a season, and they rarely remember to clean them after their final use. Don’t turn your air conditioning on for the first time this year without checking your filters and making sure they’re clean and ready to run efficiently. Doing so will ensure that your system isn’t wasting energy and your air quality is as good as possible.

Ceiling Fan Redirection

Don’t forget to switch your ceiling fans back to counterclockwise in order to keep the cool air in longer to save on air conditioning.

Clean Refrigerator Coils

When was the last time you looked behind your refrigerator? If it’s been a while, don’t just sweep up whatever muck you find on the floor. Make sure you take the time to dust your refrigerator coils so your appliance doesn’t need to work as hard to keep your food cold.

Caulk Windows

If notice any leaks while you’re cleaning your windows, take the time to caulk them as you go. With just a little effort you’ll be sealing out the heat and locking in that cool air while using less energy.

6 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget

As temperatures drop and the ice accumulates, you may find yourself or other members of your family inching up that thermostat. No one likes to be uncomfortable, but there are ways to battle the cold without cranking up the thermostat.

How To Winterize Your Home on a Budget

Keeping the cold out is the first step, and the good news is doing so doesn’t need to break the bank. Here are 6 ways to winterize your home on a budget:

Draft Snake

The Great Depression has taught us many things, including creative ways to keep out the cold. A draft snake is a towel our pouch filled with sand/kitty litter that you shove under a door to keep the cold air from rushing in or the warm air from rushing out. You can find a draft snake at the store or save even more by making one yourself.

Caulk

Start by checking the caulk outside your windows or doors to see if it needs to be repaired. You should also look for gaps inside your panes and fill any you find.

Storm Doors

Installing storm doors can reduce airflow by sealing the space outside your door. Believe it or not, a storm door can have a major impact on your home’s air efficiency, increasing by as much as 40%.

Add Insulation

Putting more insulation in your home is one of the most effective ways to prevent heat from going up and out. Don’t forget to bulk up your basement ceiling, attic floor, and walls to take full advantage of the efficiency insulation has to offer.

Ceiling Fans

You may be surprised to learn that ceiling fans aren’t just for cooling you off. Depending on the direction, they can actually produce warm air as well. For warm air, make sure your fans are turning clockwise.

Bubble Wrap

Avoid drafty windows by insulating them with bubble wrap. This is a great way to keep out the cold without breaking the bank. And besides … who doesn’t love bubble wrap? True, it may look a bit unusual, but it will allow for plenty light and help you winterize your home on a budget.

7 Energy Saving Tips for Summer

When summer temperatures a sweltering, it’s difficult to sit back and watch as your energy bill skyrockets. Here are some helpful tips to keep your costs down and your efficiency up.

Energy Saving Tips 1 – Decrease Pool Filtration

Did you know that decreasing your pool filtration by just 30 minutes each day is a great way you can save energy? You can continue making these slow, incremental reductions as long as your pool water stays clean. Many homeowners find they only need to run their pool filters for 8 hours a day or sometimes less!

Energy Saving Tip 2 – Decrease Indoor Heat

On days that are particularly hot, avoid running the dishwasher or clothes dryer during the day. You should also avoid using the oven whenever possible, and instead cook with the microwave, outdoor grill, or toaster oven.

Energy Saving Tip 3 – Clean Your Central Air

If you have central air in your home or business, be sure to clean or replace the filters on a monthly basis in order to keep your unit running as efficiently as possible.

Energy Saving Tip 4 – Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat

As the temperatures soar it can be tempting to crank the central air. Do your best to keep the thermostat temperature around 78 while your home and turn it up to 83 while you’re at work or away.

Energy Saving Tip 5 – Watch Your Windows

Try to keep your windows open at night to let the cool air in and keep our windows and blinds closed during the day to keep the sun from heating your rooms even more. By cycling your windows correctly you can keep your home temperatures regulated without turning on your air conditioning.

Energy Saving Tip 6 – Keep Laundry Cool

Use only cold water when washing your clothes and be sure to clean the lint trap in your dryer after every use to increase efficiency.

Energy Saving Tip 7 – Be a Fan of Fans

Whenever possible, it’s best to use ceiling and windows fans instead of cranking the air conditioning. It’s a way more cost-effective solution for keeping your home cool.

Do you have any other energy-saving tips for summer on how to keep energy bills down when the temperatures are through the roof? If so, please leave your ideas in the comments!

U.S. and Canada Join Forces for Clean Energy

President Barack Obama and Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau have released a joint statement on climate, energy, and arctic leadership according to recent information from the White House. After a tumultuous history, the two countries will finally share a comprehensive plan for climate action.

Over the years, serious conversations regarding the climate between Canada and the U.S. have not been the norm. This new climate change agreement is a rare event indeed, considering the lack of agreement they’ve had in the past.

In what’s now being called the Paris Agreement, the U.S. and Canada have made an ambitious agreement to reduce methane emissions by 40-45 percent below 2012 levels by the year 2025. Both countries are also inviting other countries to join the initiative or develop their own methane reduction goal as they continue to explore new opportunities for additional methane reductions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working quickly to develop the new methane emission regulations as they begin a process that will require companies to provide information to assist them in their efforts.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is following suit and intends to publish an initial phase of proposed regs by early 2017.

The Paris Agreement is also focusing on other pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons (potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, aerosols, and air conditioners), and black carbon (a particulate component of soot).

“If we don’t agree, if we’re not aggressive … if we don’t pool our resources around the research and development and the clean energy agenda that’s required to solve this problem, then other countries won’t step up,” Obama said at the White House news conference announcing the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement is being welcomed by many environmental groups who have been encouraging the EPA to expand its methane rules. This recent development will position the U.S. and Canada as leaders among the nations of the world as we demonstrate our ability to replace dangerous pollutants with clean energy solutions.

How Warm Temperatures Are Lowering Heating Bills

With annuals already beginning to sprout, it’s clear that spring is making an early arrival in many parts of the Northeast. Recent reports show that the warm weather is bringing homeowners across Pennsylvania and other states more than early blooms … it’s bringing a welcomed price drop in home heating bills.

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the warm winter temperatures have drastically lowered monthly heating bills for many homeowners. Compared to last winter, we’ve experienced a 15% warm-up, which has been very beneficial for all those looking to cut back on their heating costs.

Thus far, the winter of 2015-2016 has been very mild in most regions of the U.S., with only the West suffering colder temperatures than they had the previous year. Experts explain that the U.S. warm-up of 2015-2016 is being caused in part by a strong El Niño pattern off the West Coast that’s delivering warmer air temperatures to the areas of the Northeast Region which are typically frigid.

The good news for consumers is that this increase in temperatures has had a direct impact on the price of most heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and oil. The pricing for some of these fuels is at record lows, with nearly a 25% decrease in price compared to last year.

The pleasant warm temperatures we’ve experienced this year are likely to continue throughout the remainder of the season, allowing homeowners to continue enjoying the benefits of lower heating fuel costs in most areas of the U.S.