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What are the Biggest Home Energy Drains?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by Danny Peterson

Looking to reduce the amount of money you spend on your monthly utility bills? Well, who isn’t! That’s a common desire among homeowners everywhere, but it’s easier said than done. Before you can start saving cash, you have to start saving energy; and to save energy, you have to figure out where you’re wasting it! All of us waste energy, even those of us who try our best to be green—to turn off the lights when we’re not in the room, to keep the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature, and so on. Knowing how and where your home uses the most energy—perhaps needlessly—is a good place to begin your campaign to save on energy bills.

Climate Control is the Biggest Culprit

As you can probably imagine, the biggest source of energy use, for the overwhelming majority of homeowners, is in temperature control—heating and air conditioning, just depending on the season. In fact, studies show that heating/air conditioning accounts for more than 40 percent of all home energy use, but it’s possible to reduce bills by 10 percent just by following a few simple strategies:

  • Make sure you don’t have any air leaks or drafts. Check around doors and windows, in particular, and use caulk or weather stripping to make sure you’re home envelope is secure.
  • An unexpected place to lose energy is outlets and light switches; applying some insulation here can make a significant difference.
  • Simply turning down the thermostat is always effective, of course; every degree you turn it down, in the winter months, can translate into big bucks on your energy bills.

 Lighting is the Next in Line

Beyond heating and air conditioning, what do you think is the biggest source of home energy use? For most homeowners, it’s lighting. This might surprise you—we don’t necessarily think of lighting as a huge energy drain—but actually, the lights in your home account for about 20 percent of your monthly energy bill. There are really only a couple of ways to curb this cost. The first is to switch to CFL bulbs. Beyond that, we’d recommend simply this: Turn ‘em off when you’re not in the room!

Other Big Energy Drains

Of course, there are plenty of other common energy drains—some of which might surprise you:

  • Do you have an old dishwasher? If it was installed before 1994, then upgrading to an Energy Star dishwasher can actually save you around $30 a year on utility bills—not a huge amount, but something!
  • Hot water heaters eat up a lot of your home energy. Replacing yours and getting a tankless one will lead to noticeable energy savings in the long run, though the initial cost of the unit will be somewhat steep. On the other hand, simply investing in some insulation for your water heater tank can lead to some small but discernible energy savings.
  • Any appliance or electronic device that you have on standby mode is sucking energy, even though the item is not really in use. Walk through your house tonight before bed and count how many little red or green lights you see. Each of those items is using electricity, and could be adding anywhere from 5 to 30 percent to your monthly utility bills! Unplugging some of these items may make a big impact on your utility expenses.

How well do you know your home energy use, then? Know it a little better and you could find some ways to save money on your next utility bill!

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Recently we hired Integrity Pro to design and complete a combination bathroom and Laundry room in our basement.We knew for quite sometime this would be a big time consuming job. We actually interview at least 6 other construction companies. We found out that a lot of plumbers were not interested in the construction aspects of this type of work. We found out that anyone offering to do this for 7-8 thousand dollars was not trustworthy.More than once we were ready to pull the trigger only to walk back from the ledge for different reasons.The first thing that stood out on the Integrity estimate was that big fat liability policy that was part of the estimate proposal. As a retired Casualty Insurance Professional this was definitely a determining factor. The other was the fixture allowance.But it did take 2-3 conversations to lead to the big hand shake.Then the next “feel good” factor was Alberto the lead carpenter. He came in on a Saturday after the plumber because he needed to get a jump on things. He worked every Saturday until finished.We saw Mike the Project Manager like 4 times. Very reassuring.The door to the laundry room needed some creative thinking. Once again great results.For us this was a once in a life time project, we had much to loose if done incorrectly, but much to gain when done right. That is where we are, on the plus side. Well done.Anthony Bynum
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Our project coordinator on site was Alberto. He was so fastidious, and was so committed to making the job look fantastic at the end. He even came back after he realized he forgot to put some thing on our final cabinet installation even thought he was in his truck, on his way out. He was just so excellent and we can’t have asked for a better project result.
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I’m so happy to have found Integrity Home Pro! After working with multiple contractors on various house projects, Integrity Home Pro has been a breath of fresh air. They’re professional, courteous, knowledgeable, reliable, show up when they say they’re going to, and are quick to respond to phone calls and emails. Not only that, their work is excellent. We hired them to renovate a bathroom and were so impressed we hired them to renovate our sunroom and kitchen and make various improvements around the outside of our home. I cannot recommend them highly enough and will work with them again for any future home improvements.
Philip CoynePhilip Coyne
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My wife and I reached out to Integrity Home Pro for a quote to repair/replace wood under our bay windows that started rotting years ago. Within a few days, we had an estimate with several different options, and reasonable price set for the work done, as well as an estimate for how long the work would take.Within 3 weeks, Integrity Home Pro sent out their team to replace our rotted wood with panels and had finished the work within the time originally estimated. We're so happy with the work they've done, that we will certainly be reaching out again for more work on our home.Long and short: Integrity Home Pro has shown us professional courtesy, impressive workmanship, and genuine care for our needs. The quality of service is a rarity, and we plan on reaching out to Integrity again in the near future.Photos provided to show the before and after
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Integrity Home Pro was a pleasure to work with. I had extensive hail damage to my house and the process of getting information to my insurance and approval for a full replacement was a long process. Ben at Integrity was very patient and extremely helpful every step of the way. He assisted with everything the insurance needed so that now I have a new roof and siding. The installers were outstanding and when they were finished you could not see any debris on the lawn or damage to any bushes. I used Integrity about 10 years ago for the previous roof that the hail damaged ( I thought they were terrific then) and I think they only have improved with time. I highly recommend them!
Monica BriggsMonica Briggs
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Integrity Home Pro did an excellent job at remodeling our bathroom. They are very skilled, professional, and they work together to get the job done in a timely fashion. They were very patient, attentive, and courteous, and always kept us abreast every step of the way. Our newly remodeled bathroom exceeds our expectations and is simply beautiful. We could not have asked for a more dedicated and devoted team.
Kerry WesterveltKerry Westervelt
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Integrity Home Pro were very pleasant and easy to work with when our roof was damaged by a tree branch. They replaced my roof quickly in the morning. Also, I am a returning customer knowing they did a great job replacing my roof 20 years ago.
Jeanne BeansJeanne Beans
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Integrity Home-Pro just completed remolding our kitchen. The process took two weeks. Elmer Lopez did the work. He worked non-stop everyday; his workmanship is premium. Tera Ingwersen guided us through the process from the office on a regular basis and was always available to answer questions. Integrity's quote for the work was significantly less than a quote given by another company. Integrity's owner, Danny Peterson, personally came when we called about getting a quote. He followed up on two occasions as the work was being done. Integrity Home Pro has done other major projects on our home and we have been pleased each time.
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