Foskey Road News

Preparing to Update the Heat Pump

A few pictures and a brief description of sealing heat and air conditioning systems and why it is important. Read More...

Lifestyles of the Energy Efficient

by Edward Foskey
Around the time I started college, Robin Leach hit the scene with his hit television show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It was mostly a celebration of materialism to the extremes. It fully celebrated the excesses of that era. For those of you old enough to remember, can’t you just hear his voice now?

Nearly thirty years later, some of us dream of living that lifestyle. I know a few people like that, but everyone I know wants to get the most for their money... and in this economy, that seems to get harder by the day. So, since most of us will never be a part of the rich and famous, it seems to me that it is time to start a new trend: The Lifestyles of the Energy Efficient.

So, what does the lifestyle of the energy efficient look like?

Does it mean you take your house off the grid and live in one that looks like this?
It can, but it doesn’t have to…

Does it mean you line up some windmills in your back yard to help power your house?
I wouldn’t do that here in Middle Georgia because we don’t get enough wind.

It really means different things to different people.

Here are a few of the simple things you can do to start living the lifestyle of the energy efficient:
  • You can make sure to replace your air filters on time. (I use the second Friday or Saturday of each month as my set time so I will not forget.)
  • When you drive your car, you can make every trip count. You can drive the most efficient car you can afford, but you can also run multiple errands in one trip when possible to save on that gas bill.
  • You can add an insulation blanket to your water heater. For only $20-$40, you can get that money back in about 12-18 months and then keep some extra in your wallet each month after that.
  • You can start turning off all unnecessary lights (and even teach your kids to do it).
  • When you replace that old appliance, you can make sure and buy one that is very energy efficient with the ENERGY STAR® label on it. It may seem pricy up front, but over the life of that appliance you can save THOUSANDS on your power bills.
  • Before you make major energy improvements to your house, you can make sure and have a professional home energy auditor come in verify the improvement(s) needed. If you fix the wrong thing, you will still have problems and be out of the money you spent on the wrong fix!

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Call (478) 697-5609 now so we can help you get well on your way of living the lifestyle of the energy efficient.

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Energy and Mortgages Update

by Edward Foskey
Foskey Road News is generally a weekly posting. However, I came across a news article that I felt was very important.

Before I entered the Home Energy Efficiency field, I was a Residential Real Estate Appraiser. This article talks about both in some very interesting ways! The bottom line of it is this: When you are saving money on your energy bills by reducing those costs, it relieves some of the financial pressure that we all are feeling in this tough economy.

The article is titled: Energy efficiency means lower utility bills, less mortgage risk

Take a look at the article as well as some of the studies it references. You may soon be convinced that doing what needs to be done to save energy and money is the best move you can make!

If you live in the middle Georgia area, I can help you make those needed improvements!


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The "Off Season"

by Edward Foskey
ThermostatJust a few days ago, it was time to pay the Georgia Power bill again. Paying it did not bother me because this is the “off season.” For those of you who conjured up pictures of sports in your mind, the “off season” in my house is when we turn the heat pump off and open the windows and enjoy the warm but mild days and cool nights.

So, what are the other things we do during the off season?

  • We
    cook more on the grill. Grilled meats and veggies are wonderful (sorry, I will not give away my “grill master” secrets)! That keeps the cooking heat out of the house.
  • We cool the house with a few open windows and one window fan. We have that fan pulling air out of our bay window. The living room windows are opened less than 5 inches. The bedroom windows are opened up to 18 inches. That keeps air flowing steadily throughout the house.
  • We minimize the lights we are using. Even CFL’s give off heat. A lamp in the corner is all we need unless we are reading or doing something that requires additional light. As I type this, there is no light in this room--except for the screen.
  • I am scheduling a tune-up for my heat pump before it is time to start running it during the summer. It is old, so I want it running at its peak efficiency.
  • While it is still reasonably cool, I will be up in the attic plugging some of those holes that will let dirty, unconditioned air get sucked into my house when it is time for the heat pump to come on.

Fortunately, we don’t fight the spring allergies too heavily in our house. If that is an issue for you, opening up like we do might not be a great option for you. However, there are things that can be done to help keep that power bill under control in the spring while still keeping comfy.

These are just a few of the things for the “off season” on Foskey Road. Do you use the off season in your house?

If you’re in middle Georgia, Call (478) 697-5609 and I can help you get ready for summer.


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Details! Details!! Details!!!

by Edward Foskey
Okay, you spent all that time caulking around your windows. You put new weather stripping on your door. You even went high tech and put in a new programmable thermostat. It did make a difference, but not not as much as you thought.

So, what do you do now? The first thing you do is tell yourself, “I WILL NOT LET THIS BEAT ME!” The second thing you do is repeat that again. You’ve heard the old saying, “The devil is in the details.” So, let’s look at the details and chase the devil out of that power bill!

Air conditioning season is coming quickly! So, let’s start with that programmable thermostat. Here is my recommendation for how to keep your house comfortable and save money. Start with what time you wake up. Set the thermostat to drop (you will understand why in a moment) to 78 degrees about 15 minutes before the first time you usually hit your snooze button. Next, set the thermostat to rise to about 82 degrees about 15 minutes before time to leave for work (your house will not get hot that fast). Your third setting for the day is to set the thermostat to move back to 78 about 30 minutes before you get home. Finally, set the thermostat to rise back to 80 degrees while you sleep. With a ceiling fan set on low, you should be quite comfortable through the night.

That alone is NOT going to drop your power bill very much! Here are a few more details you need to check out. Getting into the habit is what it takes to get the devil out of the details. It takes more than one day to get it all right. It takes making sure you do it every day. The best part? None of these details requires spending any additional money. Even better... taking care of these details allows you to stop spending as much money!
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  • Do you turn off all the ceiling fans while everyone is gone to work/school and in rooms that are unoccupied?
  • Do you turn off all the lights when you leave the house, in unoccupied rooms at night, and when not needed during the day because sunlight is available?
  • Do you close blinds (or at least angle them upward) to minimize heat through the windows during the hottest part of the day? I recommend leaving all blinds/shade/curtains closed during the day when nobody is at home.
  • What about all those chargers? Did you know that they are drawing electricity when they are not charging anything? The average charger costs $3.00 to $5.00 per year of electricity when sitting plugged in but not in use. There are 3 cell phones, 1 Nintendo DS, 2 laptop computers, 2 iPads, and 3 iPods in my house. That is $33 to $60 per year or nearly $3.00 to $5.00 per month of wasted electricity. So, we unplug them when they are not charging. And we do not let devices charge overnight while we sleep because, even once it stops charging, it is still drawing electricity.
  • What is your water heater’s setting? Think about just how hot you need that water to be maintained (if you have a tank style unit). Does it really need to be 125 degrees? Dropping even 5 degrees adds up to savings.
  • Those large screen TV’s and other entertainment devices draw nearly as much electricity when they are off as when they are on! A smart strip to completely cut the power is a GREAT money saver.
  • If you are gone all day, computers, printers, monitors, etc. should be shut down. Even in sleep mode, they are still drawing enough electricity to speed up the turn of the power meter.

These are some tips that will help make a difference in your bill. From smaller things to larger things, the more you make them a part of your lifestyle, the more you will see saving on your utility bills become part of your lifestyle. I don’t like to waste anything. I bet you don’t, either.


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