Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

Happy Earth Day!

Although every day should be Earth Day, we are celebrating today by recognizing areas in the home for energy-efficient improvements. Since everybody is leading full, busy lives, we wanted to provide practical, actionable advice for creating an energy-efficient home. Don’t delay, go green today!

Top 10 Green Tips for the Home

Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

  1. Schedule your annual HVAC tune-up to ensure you are using the minimum amount of energy to effectively heat and cool your home.
  2. Check your air filters every month. Write the date on the filter itself so you know when you last replaced it. We also recommend setting monthly reminders so you never forget. Replacing dirty air filters will significantly reduce the workload on your HVAC system and improve the quality of your indoor air. It’s a win-win!
  3. Use a programmable thermostat for maximum savings. We recommend setting the thermostat to 78°F while at home and 80°F or higher when away from home. According to energy.gov, raising the thermostat setting in the summer or lowering it in the winter by just 1°F for a period of 8 hours will save you 1% on your energy bill. Those savings add up!
  4. Check your home for air leaks and replace any old weatherstripping and caulking. Don’t forget to seal your air ducts, which lose, on average, about 20% of your home’s conditioned air. You can hold a piece of toilet paper or incense stick around areas where you suspect a leak. Watch this video to learn how to find air leaks and insulate your home:
  5. Close drapes and curtains while the sun is out and open some windows at night to take advantage of the cool outside air. Just remember to close them again in the morning! Also, consider purchasing solar screens and insulating drapes for more protection against solar heat gain.
  6. Turn down your water heater temperature from the standard 140°F to a more energy-efficient, but still hot enough 120°F. Not only will you save money and energy on water heating costs, but you will also reduce the risk of burns and scalding, especially important in homes with young children. Consider also purchasing water heater insulation blankets for your water heat tank.
  7. Cook hot meals at night when the temperatures are lower. Instead of using your oven, consider alternative cooking methods that produce less heat and use less energy like microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers. This is the time to learn about some cooler, plant-based meals that you can enjoy in warmer weather.
  8. Make sure your fireplace flue damper is fully closed and sealed unless you have a fire burning. Check the seals around the damper and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. You don’t want your precious conditioned air escaping out the chimney.
  9. Plant trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your home and in front of sun-facing windows to provide energy-saving shade from the sun.
  10. Check your water meter for water leaks. The average U.S. home has water leaks that amount to more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. Let’s do our part by fixing those leaks as soon as possible. If you are having trouble detecting or repairing your plumbing leaks, give Larry & Sons a call. We’d be glad to help! Click here to learn how to find and read your water meter for leaks. Click here to learn how to fix a leaking or running toilet.

For more Green Tips you can start implementing today to save money and the planet, read our previous posts:

If you needed any more convincing for taking action this Earth Day, watch Morgan Freeman narrate “What’s Possible,” for the UN Climate Summit:


For over 55 years, Larry & Sons has been serving your home heating and cooling needs in the great Hagerstown, Maryland area. Contact us for an expert able perform nearly any home service you need. We offer installation, repair, and maintenance of heating, air conditioning, geothermal, solar and indoor air quality systems. We service all makes and models, even if we didn’t install your system to begin with.

We are also full–service plumbers, offering water heater repair and installation, sewer and drain services and water treatment systems.

For more information on how to lower your heating bill, give us a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions.

To further save and reduce your impact on the environment, we highly recommend signing up for a maintenance plan that ensures 2 annual heating and air conditioning tune-ups, 15 % off all repairs, and much more! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.

Happy Earth Day! It’s Our Turn to Lead!

Frederick HVAC Tip: History of Heat Pumps

Thermal energy is the natural movement from warm temperatures to colder temperatures creating energy in the change of temperature to the mass.  A heat pump typically is a device that moves the air (or other matter) in the opposite direction from its natural flow.

A heat pump often uses an intermediate fluid called a refrigerant which absorbs heat as it vaporizes and releases the heat when it is condensed,  using an evaporator to absorb the heat (or energy) from inside an occupied space and forcing this heat to the outside through the condenser. The key component that makes a heat pump different from your Frederick air conditioning is the reversing valve which allows for the flow direction of the refrigerant to be changed, allowing the heat to be pumped in either direction.

Timeless Technology

While mechanical movement of this energy, what we can actually call a pump,  has been a relatively recent invention,  the concept of this principal of physics has been in use since ancient times. Harnessing the power of geothermal energy (produced from the heat of the earth itself), natural hot springs “pumped” warm air into cool spaces in China and Europe thousands of years ago.

By 1852, Lord Kelvin had theorized the heat pump, but it took nearly 100 years to actually build one.  In the last half century, the technological advances have made heat pumps part of our lives in many ways.

The First Heat Pump

In the 1940s a man named Robert Webber was motivated to build the first known heat pump while tinkering with his refrigerator.  Accidently burning his hand on the outlet pipes of the cooling system, he was quite painfully awakened to an idea about the transference of heat.

Recognizing the freezer was constantly producing heat to cool its interior, he connected the outlet pipe to the storage tank of his hot water heater, extended that into a flow through pipes which heated air nearby, and  then used a fan to blow the warmth into another room.

The first heat pump was a crude, but effective method to provide comfort.  Creating a full-size version soon after, Wagner could heat his entire home.

Today heat pumps are built in many ways and shapes to heat or cool buildings of many sizes. To learn more about having a heat pump installed in your home, give the Frederick air conditioning experts at Larry & Sons a call!

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