The Kitchen

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    The Guide To An Energy Efficient
                             Jane Doe
                         ABC Company

              The Guide to an
              Energy Efficient
                                     By {your name here}


       Customer Support: {Help Desk URL or email for support}

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                                                      Table of Contents

Chapter 1
The Kitchen............................................................................................................………………..8

Chapter 2
The Bathroom…………….…………….………………………………………………………..15

Chapter 3
Windows, Doors and Skylights…………………………………………………………………..19

Chapter 4
Attics, Roofs and Energy

Chapter 5
Hot Water Heater, Furnace, Air Conditioner,

Chapter 9
LED Flood Lights……………..…………………………………………………………………84

Chapter 6

Chapter 7
Energy Efficient

Chapter 8
The Best Rechargeable AA and AAA Batteries and Chargers,

Chapter 10
Toilets and Showerheads for Saving

      Energy prices are going through the roof and these days it pays to

make your home more energy efficient.          The latest report by the U.S.

Department of Energy states that the average American family spends

about $1,900 a year on home utility bills. This comes as no surprise,

considering we spend about 90% of our time in our homes, where energy is

in great demand. A large portion of that energy is wasted and utilized

inefficiently. Not to mention, the fossil fuels used to generate the electricity

for a single home ever year, put more carbon dioxide into the air than two

mid-sized cars.

      It's time we do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by

reducing our demand for energy. Yes, YOU have the power to cut the

consumption of energy resources like coal and gas in your very own home.

By reducing energy consumption, you are helping to keep the air cleaner

for everyone and reducing your environmental footprint while saving money

on                     your                     utility                    bills.

    "Other" includes small electric devices, heating elements, motors, swimming pool heaters, hot tub

                         heaters, outdoor grills, and natural gas outdoor lighting

             Sources: U.S. Department of Energy; 2009 Buildings Energy Data Book

Now you might be wondering: "how do I start saving money on my utilities

while        doing         my         part        to       protect          the      environment?"

I have good news for you: making your home more energy efficient is a lot

easier                   than                    you                    might                  expect!

In this book, we reveal dozens of easy tips on upgrading your home into

the efficient, environmentally friendly model of green living that you've

always                                                               wanted!

A lot of the money you currently spend on utilities is going right out the

window! Instead, let's use that money to make your home more energy

efficient! Feel free to buy me a cup of coffee while you’re at it.

The tips in this guide are so simple anybody can use them! We'll go over

both smaller and larger repairs and replacements you can make room by

room. We'll also cover simple things you can do yourself at little or no cost

to bring your home up to snuff on the latest in green energy.

Once you've made your home energy efficient, you'll wonder how you ever

lived any other way!

               Chapter 1 – The Kitchen

     Take           a         look          at         your          kitchen.

How old are your appliances? Do you have a ceiling fan installed? What

types of light bulbs are you using? Why is this book giving me the third


OK, let's face it. Older "stuff" drains tons of energy. Even if you're a

millionaire (doubt it), we'll show you how to reinvest money you currently

spend on sky-high utilities into newer, more efficient appliances and habits.


        How old is your refrigerator? It's O.K., Be honest . . . If you have an

older refrigerator, you might be paying extra on your electric bill. Older

fridges tend to really drain electricity. By replacing your old fridge with a

spiffier, more energy-conscious model, you can save serious cash on your


        According to General Electric, someone with a 20 year old fridge

pays roughly double the amount that the owner of an energy efficient unit

pays(!) That means if you pay $30 a month with your 20 year old antique

icebox, you can get away with paying just $15 if you upgrade. Not only

would you be getting a new refrigerator but eventually, it would pay for

itself! $15 a month may sound like chump change to you, but add that up

over the course of ten months and you've saved $150!


     For the dishwasher - the same rules apply. Yes, that beloved relic

you inherited from your grandma, who bought it during the great

depression, is probably sapping major electricity and water.           Older

dishwashers use way more water than newer models, thus sky-rocketing

your water bill. Switch to an energy efficient model already and start saving

dinero on your bills! (Because I’d still like that cup of coffee)


     While using an oven in the winter can make the kitchen nice and

toasty and doubles as a great makeshift fireplace for the kids to roast

marshmallows, using it in the summer can make the kitchen HOT, which

can cause your air conditioner to kick on. You're better off using the oven

only occasionally in the summer. Instead, how about using the microwave?

This won't turn the whole kitchen into a sauna or singe off little Jimmy's

eyebrows and is generally just as effective at cooking the majority of foods

as                  an         oven              more               quickly!

                                   [Crock Pot]

      Another great way to save energy in the kitchen during the summer

months is to use a crock pot. You don't have to use the oven and it won't

flip the A.C. on.

      Making your kitchen more energy efficient is more of a state of mind

than a series of home repairs. By staying conscious of how much energy

you use in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to the different

appliances, you can reach energy Zen (zenergy) and have fewer bills than

Buddha had possessions.

                               [Ceiling Fan]

      If you don’t have a ceiling fan in your kitchen . . . install one! A ceiling

fan circulates both cool and warm air throughout the year. Since most

kitchens have a light fixture on the ceiling, it's usually pretty easy to install a

ceiling fan with a built-in light kit. This creates air circulation in the kitchen.


      Now take a look at your kitchen floor. Do you have ceramic tiles,

wood or linoleum? Although linoleum is the cheapest among these types

of flooring, it's also the warmest.      If you're looking to save money and

energy, switching to linoleum flooring can save you money on both heating

and air conditioning. Your tiles may look much sexier but they downright

suck at conducting heat.


       Take a look at the type of light bulbs you're using in the light fixtures

in your kitchen. Not too close or you’ll go blind!

                                You've heard about those new, energy

                                efficient lightbulbs, right? These little guys

                                are more earth friendly than traditional bulbs

                                as they emit fewer toxins, last about 10

                                times longer than traditional light bulbs and

                                use about one-third of the electricity. Plus,

let’s be real - the way they spiral looks awesome. It's estimated that you

can save about $30 during the lifetime of the lightbulb. By replacing the

light bulbs in the kitchen, alone, you're making great strides in creating a

more                   energy                   efficient                home.

These Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs or CFL bulbs use only 23 watts of

energy and emit less carbon dioxide, mercury and other environmentally

harmful substances than traditional bulbs. Millions of modern homes use

CFL's in their kitchens, dining rooms, family rooms and bathrooms - and

understandably so. A 23 Watt CFL is brighter than a 100 watt conventional

lightbulb and uses only a third of the electricity! Even though CFL's are

pricier,   their   long   life   saves   you   money    in   the   long   run.


So, how's your kitchen faucet holding up? Does it drip or leak? If you

answered yes, it's time to replace the faucet.      Leaking faucets end up

wasting a substantial amount of water during their lifetime and can total up

to $100 a year in water costs! You're better off spending half that for a

decent faucet that'll pay for itself in 6 months, anyway! Yea . . . we’re lazy,

too. But do it anyway. You work hard for the money!

     Just by making some simple adjustments in your kitchen, you can

make the room more energy efficient (and get cool points from friends and

neighbors). While a new refrigerator and dishwasher can be steep, getting

energy efficient appliances is something you should seriously consider

when the time comes. You probably wouldn't rip up your floor to save a

few bucks, but when the inevitable hour of replacements and renovations

arrives, think relentlessly long-term and go energy efficient all the way!
                Chapter 2 – The Bathroom

       This is another part of the home where we spend a considerable

amount of time - taking care of our basic needs and just unwinding. Let's

see how we can upgrade it!

       Short of ripping out the entire bathroom, there are several little things

you can do to improve efficiency in your . . . ahem, "sanctuary."            For

example, throw done some bathroom rugs to prevent the temptation of

turning   the   heat   on   in   the   winter   because    of   the   icy   floor.

Consider: Just as in the rest of the house, using the right bulbs is the first

step      in    creating     a     truly     energy     efficient     bathroom.


       Take a peek at your faucets and showerheads. Are they old and

leaking? If so, then - you guessed it! - have them replaced! This is super

important because your shower is the biggest water hog in the house. You

can pick one up at most any bathroom supply, hardware or general store.

Look for a "AAA" labeled shower head (which flows at a rate close to 7

liters per minute). Don't worry, installing a new shower fixture or hand held

shower massage doesn’t require an engineering degree - anyone can do it!

Plus:          you'll       get        better        water         pressure!

These improvements aren't expensive but they can save you hundreds of

dollars a year in utility costs. That's some serious moolah!

        Now, if you’re ready to indulge your hidden desire to smash a little

piece of your house to smithereens AND have some money to burn, let's

see what else we can do with your bathroom to improve efficiency.

        One of your first priorities should be switching to a more efficient

toilet. These save water and energy big time.

      Next, select an energy efficient hot water system and place it as close

to the bathroom and laundry as possible to reduce pipe length and heat

loss. Also make sure to insulate your new water pipes to prevent heat loss.

(Note: This does not work on one’s head if it’s full of hot air)

      Install an energy efficient exhaust fan in the bathroom. These control

moisture while you bathe or shower. If you're fond of singing in the shower

but cause your cat to hide in terror for several days at a time, ask for the

noisiest                            model                                available.

Your lungs and sinuses will thank you as well because by removing moist

air in your bathroom and bringing drier air in, you help prevent the build-up

of harmful (and house-damaging) molds and mildews. Install self-closing

exhaust    fans    to    avoid    heat    loss/gain    when        not   in   use.

If you do decided to go demolition man and rip the bathroom up, make sure

you insulate walls, doors, windows and ceilings. Walls around tubs and

shower enclosures have notoriously poor insulation. Caulking walls and

the ceiling prevents air leaks and makes for a more comfortable bathroom.

And let's face it, caulking is the most exciting thing this side of skydiving.

      Installing energy efficient doors, windows and skylights helps make

your home more comfortable and can lower heating and cooling costs.

Developments in glass and frame technologies have proven amazing in

controlling airflow to and from your home and a tight seal always ensures


Be sure to use Energy Star rated appliances and lighting in your


Chapter 3 – Windows, Doors and



     How old is your home? If

you live in an older house

chances are you still have the

original windows that came with

the place. Most of your windows,

though intact and solid, have

probably developed some cracks

and gaps in the frames and

housings.     By   now   you've

probably noticed the cold draft

coming through the windows in the wintertime and when it's windy out.

       These cracks let out more hot air than a used car salesman, causing

you to turn your heat up and costing you money. But lucky for you, today's

windows are quite fancy.


-                                                                        Double-Glazed

-      Extra     Thick    (Eliminating       the    need        for    storm   windows)

-      Energy     Efficient     (Keeping      out    both       cold     and   hot   air)

-                                                                                Stylish

Also bear in mind that windows are one of the few things (along with being

a celebrity) that ADD value to your home. In several states, new windows

will   even     qualify   you     for    a    rebate       on     your    heating    bill!

You can find these windows in hardware stores, building supply stores,

home       remodeling       stores     and,      of      course,      online.

If you know how to measure, you can install a window! Oh, and save a

couple of grand while you're at it. If you just don't have the time or energy

to do it yourself, hire a carpenter. But expect to pay handsomely for it.

If you do decide to go the DIY route, here's a full-proof, fool-proof way to

put             in              your             own               windows.

                     [Installing Replacement Windows Yourself]

First you'll have to order the replacement windows. You may be better off

ordering just one window to begin with if you're not exactly sure how to do

it. Most windows are measured from the inside of the frame. When you

order your window, don't be afraid to ask the person on the other end how

to take the measurements. If they sound cute, ask them what they're doing

Friday night.

If you order your replacement windows online, you can typically find a

measurement guide on the website. Keep in mind that most older windows

are standard-sized windows.

Once you receive the replacement window, you need to remove the

existing window. In order to do this, you need to remove the wood trim

surrounding the window. Keep this in one piece as you will most likely put

this back on the wall after you install the new window.

After removing the wood trim, you'll be able to see where the window is

fixed to the wall. Remove any nails and push the window out. Chances

are that it's been in the wall for a while and may be difficult to budge. But

be careful, you want to get the window out without breaking the glass,

causing a mess, getting laughed at, or dying. So push gently until the

window starts coming out.

If the windows are double hung windows, you may be able to remove one

of them from the track, which will make it easier to remove the other

window. You have to make sure the entire thing is removed and that the

space is free of any debris.

After removing the old window, put the new one in its place. Use a level to

make sure the window is hanging evenly in the opening. If the window is a

little off or uneven, you'll need to put a wood shunt into the opening.

Double check that it's hanging evenly or you'll have trouble shutting it!

Once the window is in the opening and leveled, you need to affix it to the

wall. Make sure that it opens and shuts properly and is secure before

replacing the wooden trim around the window. The entire process can take

about an hour and a half - that's only 3 Seinfeld episodes' worth and you've

seen them each twice already anyway!

After you've replaced the window, caulk around both the inside and outside

to eliminate drafts or you'll have defeated one of your original goals in

getting new windows!

When you've replaced one window on your own, you may just decide to do

the rest of them yourself, too. If the job wasn't too difficult for you and you

didn’t wind up having to get nails removed from your hand, order the rest of

the replacement windows and simply repeat the process!

You can generally save quite a bit of money if you order your replacement

windows online. This way, you order straight from the manufacturer,

cutting out the middleman completely. It's not uncommon to save over

$2,000! Options for spending it include donating to a worthy cause and

sending me a nice bottle of wine.

Particularly for those of you on a budget, doing this work yourself is well

worth it and just plain satisfying. With only basic carpentry skills and a set

of tools you should be able to accomplish this feat without hiring help.

If you do hire a pro, go with a well-reputed carpenter over a window

installation company; it's cheaper.

Whichever route you choose, you can sleep easily (and draft-free) knowing

that you've made an investment in your property and raised its value while

taking a giant leap forward in creating an energy efficient home.

                                  [Patio Door]

     In addition to replacement windows, you may also want to consider

     getting a replacement patio door. Your old patio door may be letting a

     draft in through the glass. Replacing a patio door is much trickier than a

     window job and you'll probably either need the help of a friend who

     knows what they're doing (and owes you one) or the service of a


                         2 Simple Air-Sealing Methods


     Weatherstripping does not involve a hot meteorologist dancing at the

club off the highway. Weatherstripping is used around movable joints such

as windows and doors. For air-sealing windows, apply weatherstripping

between the sash and the frame. Weatherstripping comes in a variety of

materials: Felt, Vinyl, Open-cell foam and even various metals (aluminum,

stainless steel, copper and bronze). When choosing which type to use,

consider these factors: weather, temperature fluctuations, friction it may

endure, and wear and tear associated with its location.               The

weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is

closed while allowing it to open freely. Also take durability into account

when comparing costs.

                          Weatherstripping Comparisons

        Type                Cost                       Comments

Felt and Foam-cell   Inexpensive       Susceptible to weather, visible, and

                                       inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the

                                       ease of applying these materials may make

                                       them valuable in low-traffic areas

Vinyl                Slightly higher   Holds up well and resists moisture

Metal                Higher but        Lasts for years, provides a nice touch to

                     affordable        older homes where vinyl might seem out of


     To determine how much weatherstripping you’ll need, add the

perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped, then add 5%–

10% to allow for any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in

various depths and widths.


Caulk forms a flexible seal around cracks, gaps and joints smaller than 1-

quarter-inch wide. In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking can also prevent

water damage inside and outside of the home when applied around

faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs and other plumbing


Caulk compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit into half-barrel

caulking guns (sorry, these don’t actually shoot). It’s best to choose one

with an automatic release.      These compounds can also be found in

squeeze tubes and ropes for smaller jobs and those tightly-cramped

spaces. To determine the amount of caulk you need, expect to use a half-

cartridge per window or door and 4 cartridges for the foundation sill. Get an

extra one to seal in vents, pipes, faucets and electrical outlets.

           Type                           Cost                         Comments

Oil or resin-based           Inexpensive, but also the     Available everywhere and will

                             least effective               bond to most surfaces. It tends

                                                           to harden and crack after 2 to 4


Latex and butyl-based caulk A little more expensive, but   It lasts from 6 to 20 years and

                             much more durable than        holds up well to building

                             oil-based.                    expansion and contraction

                                                           caused by changes in

                                                           temperature. Latex is paintable

                                                           and it comes in white or colored


Elastometric Sealants        Most expensive                Allows for the most building

                                                           expansion and is readily

                                                           paintable. Good to use on taller

                                                           multi-family buildings that

                                                           experience more movement

                                                           and wind pressure. These

                                                           sealants typically have a life of

                                                           20 years or more.

Directions on usage can be found on the cartridge.

Important: Follow instructions to the letter!

Typically, you start by cutting off about half an inch from the nozzle at a 45

degree angle. Don't forget to puncture it. Now it's ready to be used.

Caulk is best applied in these places:

      All joints in a window frame

      The joint between the frame and the wall

      Between window sills and siding

      Between frame wall plates and the foundation

      Around all holes for pipes, ducts, or electric conduits through outside


      Around all holes through walls separating heated and unheated

       spaces such as attached garages, storerooms, or attics

      Between unheated porches and the main body of the house

      Where the chimney or masonry meets the siding

     Things to remember when applying caulk:

      Clean the area you’re going to apply it to by removing old caulk or

       paint residue using a putty knife, stiff brush or a solvent.

      The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor

       temperature is above 45°F (7.2°C). Low humidity is important during

       application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm

       temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and

       adhere to the surface.

                                [Storm Windows]

       Another remedy for older houses is storm windows. If you do live in

an older house you probably have them. They're often heavy, wooden

storm windows that need to be put up in the fall and taken down in the

spring when they're typically replaced with wooden-framed screens.

     Storm windows play a key part in making your home

energy efficient. They act as a buffer against wind.

Additionally the air trapped between the storm windows

and the main windows acts as insulation. Storm windows

shield the primary windows from the weather, which can

extend time between paint jobs.

     If you're tired of the ritual of putting up and taking down the wooden

storm windows (even though we know how incredibly thrilling it is), there

are newer alternatives like vinyl or aluminum storms. They install

permanently and easily open from the interior of your house, leaving you

the choice of whether or not to use the screen.   Sliding the screen out of

the way also allows sun in through the glass doors to warm up your house.

       Another advantage of having storm windows installed is that the extra

layer of glazing cuts down on street noise. This is great if you live in a big

city or if the local marching band uses your street to practice. Finally,

storms keep out dust and dirt that might otherwise slip in through leaky

prime windows.

                     [Window Treatments and Coverings]

       Window treatments and coverings are the last lines of defense from

cold and heat.     Not only do they serve a purpose but they can also

enhance your home's aesthetic appeal.           Carefully selected window

treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

Here’s a list of great options:


     During the summer months, awnings can

     reduce solar heat gains by up to 65% on

     southward-facing windows and 77% on

     westward-facing windows. Awnings can be

     used to shade one window or the entire side

     of your house and you can have them

     custom-made,                           of                         course.

Back in the day, awnings were made from metal or canvass and had to be

changed every few years, making it expensive business. Now they’re

made from more lightweight materials like acrylic and polyvinyl laminates.

They’re water repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Keep in

mind that whichever fabric you go with should be opaque and tightly

woven. A light-colored awning reflects more sunlight. Awnings require

ventilation to prevent warm air from getting trapped near the windows.

Caution: despite what action movies would have you believe, if you try to

jump onto your awning from the fifth floor, it probably won’t break your fall!

                              Types of Awnings

     Venetian or Sideless Awnings – can be adjusted as the angle of

     the sun changes but are not effective at blocking direct sunlight on

     south               –                facing               windows.

     Hood Awnings - have added sides to block out additional sun and

     are                          more                          effective.

     Hip Awnings - project out and down to accommodate casement

     windows that open outward.

                                    Window Blinds

     These are more effective in

     reducing summer heat gain than

     winter heat loss. Using vertically

     or    horizontally   slanted   blinds

     make it hard to control heat loss

     but flexibility helps a lot in controlling the amount of sunlight and air

     coming into your home. These also effectively deter nosey neighbors!

                                     2 Types of Blinds

          Interior – In the summer, when fully closed, highly reflective blinds

          can reduce about 45% of the heat coming into your house as they

          reflect sunlight.

        Exterior – Mounted above the window. Usually made of wood, steel,

        vinyl and aluminum. They can regulate ventilation and the amount of

        light entering your house.

     Commonly known as “window tints”, these

     window coverings are best for long cooling

     seasons as they reduce solar heat. They offer

     a distinct advantage in controlling the sun’s

     heat while permitting useful light from outside.

     Yet they afford privacy and security inside the

     house by protecting from bright glare. They

     also keep cracked window portions together which prevents glass from


     To keep those home furnishings and decorations looking their best, a

     window film with a high percentage of ultraviolet light rejection is a good

     choice. Many films can now block almost 99 percent of the sun's

     ultraviolet rays!

                                [Insulated panels]

     These are prefabricated solid sheets of building material that are

     generally made from a foam core, sandwiched by layers of oriented

     strand board (OSB). They are most commonly used for walls and roofs

     but can also serve as floors and foundations.


              Shades are one of the most popular window coverings.

        They serve their purpose while gentling allowing some light in. The

        roller style was once the only window shade available. Today there

     are more window shade styles than ice cream flavors or cell phone

     providers. One popular window treatment is the roman shade.

                               Types of Shades

     Shades differ by the material from which they’re made.

     For instance:

     1.) Honeycomb/Cell Shades

     2.) Woven Wood and Bamboo

     3.) Roman Shades

     4.) Roller and Solar Shades

     5.) Pleated Shades

     6.) Exterior Shades

     7.) Horizontal Shades


          Shutters are solid and stable covers. Shutters may be

     employed for a variety of reasons including

     controlling the amount of sunlight that enters a room, privacy,

     weather protection and a better looking home. The 2 kinds of

     shutters are interior and exterior.

     Interior shutters can swing in or out, allowing access to a window or

     letting light into a room. Exterior shutters were originally designed

     for light control, privacy and protection from the elements.

     Functional shutters hinge to either side of a window (or at the top)

     and swing closed when necessary.

                                [Storm Panels]

          Storm panels are cost-effective means

     of storm protection. They are a good way to

     protect your home from hurricane force

     winds, census bureau workers, rain and flying debris. With storm

     panels, you can protect your home AND let the light in at the same

     time during a hurricane or tropical storm. Best of all: they're pretty

     darn cheap!


What type of exterior doors do you have? Are they old, wooden doors? Or

are they new, energy efficient steel doors? By replacing your doors, you

can save hundreds of dollars on your heating costs. While these are a bit

more expensive than windows, they're much easier to install.

You can get replacement doors with a steel core at any home improvement

store or you can even purchase them online. By purchasing online, you

can usually save money. Look for energy efficient steel doors and

measure the type of door that you need. Chances are that you need a

standard sized door. A special order door may be a bit more costly, but a

steel cored door will help keep all the draft out of the house.

Steel core does NOT mean unattractive. Steel doors come in a variety of

different styles and colors. Some come unpainted and have to be finished

before installation. Many doors have a handsome wood-colored finish.

Unlike wooden doors, steel doors are impossible to kick in, so in addition to

saving money, you'll also be making your home safer for you and your


Installing the door is easy enough. Simply remove the old door and put the

new door in its place! Note: Don’t drop door on self. You'll probably want

to change the hardware and locks as well. These items are cheap and

easy to install and are available most anywhere.

Once you've installed the new door, make sure that you caulk around the

woodwork both outside and in to ensure that it's sealed properly.

                                [Screen Door]

Another thing you can do to make your home more energy efficient is to

install a screen door. A screen door is not only a good idea for the warm

weather when you can open the main door and allow some air to circulate

in the house, but it will also protect your house from the cold. The screen

door acts as a barrier against cold weather. Most screen doors come with

insulated glass that affords double insulation in the area of the door.

Be sure to check under the door for gaps. Most doors have a gap

underneath, particularly older doors. If you're not going to replace the door,

you should invest in a weather stripping kit. This will allow you to fill up any

gaps between the door and the home.

If you can't afford a weatherstripping kit or don't really want to embark on

the adventure (and what an adventure it is!), you can simply place a towel

or blanket under the bottom of the door to keep the draft out. There are

items called “draft dodgers” that do exactly that (just don’t tell your crazy

veteran neighbor that you have draft dodgers in your house). They work to

keep the house less drafty in the winter but won't give you the advantage of

weather stripping in the summer.

In addition to guarding the bottom of the door from drafts you can also

caulk around the door on the inside and outside to seal out any moisture or

air coming through.

If you have a screen door, opt for thermal glass and remove the screen in

the winter. In warmer weather, put the screen back in to save on cooling

costs by allowing fresh air to circulate in the house.


Another door you should look at is your garage door. If you have an

attached garage, you will want to make sure that the garage door is

insulated. This will keep the garage from getting cold and drafty and save

on energy, especially if you have a heated garage.

A garage door can be an expensive replacement and usually runs around

$500 for a two-door garage door. However, if you're going to replace a

battered wooden garage door, ask for the energy efficient model. An

energy efficient garage door is made of steel and keeps the drafty, cold

weather outside where it belongs. A steel garage door will also last a lot

longer than a wooden garage door and is maintenance free.

If yours is an attached garage, going for the energy efficient door will

translate into more heat retained in your entire home!

Don't neglect the door that opens to the garage. Seal this door as well. If

it's a newer utility door, it's most likely made out of steel and already


Insulating all the doors in your house is a fantastic, simple step towards

having a more energy efficient home. If you're on a tight budget and

replacing doors is not an option, caulking around the doors and using draft

dodgers is the next best thing.

It's pretty easy to seal your doors every winter. Not only will this little bit of

maintenance keep your home more energy efficient by keeping cold

weather out, but it will also extend the life of your doors significantly.

Remember that replacing old, wooden doors with steel core doors is will

save you money and help keep your family safe. That makes it well worth

the cost, and considering how simple they are to install, it should be a no-


Chapter 4 – Attics, Roofs & Energy



If you don't already have one, look into an attic fan. An attic fan makes

your home more energy efficient in the summer and wintertime. In the

summer, it sucks all of the hot air out of the house. Since hot air rises, your

attic is going to be the hottest space in your house. An attic fan cools down

the house in seconds once you turn it on by spitting all of the hot air

outside. If you have a crawl-type attic, a fan will still be a major player in

keeping your house at a sane temperature.

How long has it been since the attic has been insulated? You probably

have it on your to do list:

1. Do laundry

2. Pay Bills

3. Insulate attic

. . . Maybe not . . .

But if the attic is unfinished and the house is on the older side (as is the

case with many houses that have walk-in attics), chances are that this

room is freezing in the winter and steaming hot in the summer. The culprit

is poor insulation.

Proper insulation = Energy efficient home. Capiche?

If your attic is still dressed in the same insulation that came with the house,

it may be time for a wardrobe change. Newer insulation is WAY more

efficient. Generally, it pays to reinsulate your attic every couple of years.

Finally - don't forget your attic windows!


What type of roof do you have on your house? How long has it been since

you replaced the roof? Your roof should be replaced every ten years, to

avoid leaks. If you live where it's hot, you probably have heat-resistant clay

shingles. If you live in an area where there are both cold and hot

temperatures, you probably have shale shingles.

Newer shingles outperform older shingles significantly in terms of energy

efficiency. You can re-shingle your roof twice before you have to get an

entirely new roof. A new roof consists of taking off all of the existing

shingles and replacing the tar paper. In some cases, rotten wood must

also be replaced. A new roof can be a very costly endeavor and should

only be done every 30 years or so.

If you do spring for a new roof, take comfort in the fact that the home-

improvement industry has made great strides and the tar paper and

shingles on the market today are vastly superior to their older counterparts.

A much more likely scenario will be re-shingling your roof at some point.

Mmm-mmm! I can’t wait to do me some shinglin’! Because the shingles

used today are more energy efficient and pleasing to the eye than those

used years ago, you'll have neighbors complementing you on your shingles

regularly. You'll also be saving money. Win-win.

There is quite a difference in price when it comes to re-shingling and re-

roofing the house. Re-shingling the roof usually will cost around $2,000.

Getting an whole new roof costs more in the $10,000 ballpark. These

prices are just estimates, but you can see there's a pretty big difference.

Adding a new roof, however, does add to the appraised value of your

home. While this is not something that anyone would do just to make their

home more energy efficient, remember that by undertaking such a project,

you are essentially better guarding your home against the elements.

Getting a new roof will fall into the “energy efficient” category if you choose

to get an energy loan for your home.

Speaking of which . . .

                                [Energy Loans]

Some banks and lending institutions offer energy loans to homeowners.

The purpose of these loans is to lend homeowners the money that they

need to make their homes more energy efficient. If you're planning on

making any of the changes that we've talked about so far, you should take

a look at the different energy loans available on the market today.

An energy loan funds improvements that will save you money on your

energy bills. Since these are subsidized loans, banks are eager to grant

them and getting one is easier than you might think.

Here are some ideas of how you might use loan money:

Get a new energy efficient furnace

Get a new energy efficient hot water heater

Get new energy efficient windows

Get new energy efficient siding or fascia

Get a new energy efficient roof

Get new energy efficient appliances

You can apply for an energy loan either online or at your local lending


You can get a loan based upon the projected value of your home if you're

doing extensive renovations, or based upon the value of your home at the

present time. If you've been in your home for a while, you may be

surprised at how the value of the home has increased over the past few

years. Energy efficient loans are typically given at a lower rate than an

ordinary home improvement loan and are also given for more money than

you would normally be eligible to borrow on an ordinary home improvement

loan. The reason for this is to give you an incentive to upgrade into a more

energy efficient home.

No one wants to deal with sky-rocketing energy costs it's not like we have a

choice. The cost of heating fuel has been a problem for quite some time

and the cost of electricity is not much better. Saving energy has been a

goal of most companies that provide items that run on energy for the past

40 years. We notice that products that we use for our homes, such as

household appliances, are now much more energy efficient than years ago.

And companies that make these products are still working towards making

them even more energy efficient than ever.

It’s a smart idea to make your home more energy efficient. Whether you

just choose to use better light bulbs or decide to take out a loan to renovate

your entire home, you'll be working to save energy, save money and help

save the planet.

     Chapter 5 - Hot Water Heater, Furnace

                    and Air Conditioning

OK, let's be fair - it's not like your hot water heater complains that it has a

fever and needs to stay home from school. But when's the last time you

checked the temperature on your hot water heater? It's probably set way

too high! You don’t really want to scald yourself in the shower, do you?

And you should never use hot water from the tap for cooking as it may

contain lead. What's the point of having the hot water heater turned up that


Yes, you want to make sure that you have hot water for showers and baths

and to wash dishes, but that doesn’t mean you have to have boiling water

all of the time. By lowering your hot water heater temperature by a few

degrees, you can save some bucks on your heating bill. Even lowering

your hot water heater just one notch can make a difference in your bill.

In addition to making the house more energy efficient, lowering the

temperature on the hot water heater is a good safety practice, particularly if

you have children in the house. Each year, children are scalded with hot

water because the water heater is turned up too high. If you lower the

temperature on your hot water heater, you run less of a risk of it happening

to one of your own children.

By limiting your shower time you can cut down on energy bills. Set the

timer for five minutes and get out of the shower when the timer goes off!

Making this a daily habit will save you about $200 a year on your water bill.

Remember that conservation is a mindset. By remaining conscious of how

much water and electricity you consume you become a more responsible

global citizen and keep money in your pocket.


When was the last time you had your furnace cleaned? When was the last

time you changed the filter? If you haven't done this, you're probably

wasting quite a bit of energy and sabotaging your furnace's efficiency.

The furnace should be cleaned by a heating/AC professional once a year.

A lot of these contractors run cleaning specials in the beginning of autumn.

In addition to cleaning the furnace, if you have gas-forced air, clean the air

ducts as well. These can be vacuumed out if you have a hose attachment

for your vacuum cleaner. Most furnace repairmen or heating and air

conditioning contractors will do this work for you for pennies. A lot of carpet

cleaners also do ducts.

Cleaning the air ducts and furnace is crucial to maintaining an energy

efficient home. This ensures that the furnace runs properly and distributes

clean air throughout the home.

The furnace filter should be changed monthly. There are several different

types of filters on the market today and some of them are more energy

efficient than others. There are also non-disposable filters that can end up

saving you money. Rather than replace them, you simply wash them (or

get your wife to do it!)

If your furnace is older than 20 years, you should consider getting a new,

energy efficient furnace. Newer models are much more energy efficient

than their older counterparts. While a new furnace can be quite an

investment, it will normally end up saving you money on both your heating

and - if you have central air conditioning - your air conditioning costs as

well. The fan will work more efficiently and the entire unit will be more


If you have hot water in your home that comes from a boiler, you can also

make the boiler more energy efficient by having it serviced once a year.

The lines in the boiler can be bled to make sure that the unit runs more

efficiently. Boilers heat a home using hot water, which is distributed

through radiators and floor units. This is a cleaner heat and generally more

energy efficient as it uses less fuel. Boilers are not used in many homes

today because they don't allow the possibility of central air conditioning.

Most homes that have boilers don't have central air and have window units.

This is because there is nowhere for the central AC to distribute the cold

air, as there are no heating ducts in the house!

Furnaces and boilers should be serviced each year by someone who

understands how they operate. Bleeding the lines of a boiler is not difficult

and will make sure that all of the air bubbles are out of the lines so that the

hot water can be distributed evenly. Cleaning a furnace is something that

most furnace companies do at a low cost and is well worth the money.

By taking care of your existing furnace and boiler you can make your home

more energy efficient. When it comes time to replace the boiler or furnace,

make sure that you get one that is energy efficient and you will see your

heating costs plummet!

                               [Air Conditioning]

When we talk about making a home more

energy efficient (my personal favorite

conversation-starter), we often think

about what we can do to keep the cold

weather out and warm weather in. There

are times, however, when we want to do

just the opposite. It's just as important for

a home to be energy efficient in the

summer months as it is during the winter months, especially with the rising

cost of electricity.

Most AC units run on electric energy. They work by using Freon, a

compound that cools the air before it's distributed into the house. Many AC

units, especially older ones, run out of Freon and need to be refilled. If the

AC unit is out of Freon, or has a leak, chances are that the unit will run and

run but won't cool you down much. The AC will have to run three times

longer than usual to get the same effect. Depending upon the levels of

freon in the unit, you may not even realize this is happening.

Obviously, if the unit is completely out of Freon and the house isn’t getting

any cooler, something's wrong. However, if the unit is simply low on Freon

and the house is staying cool, you may not realize that your AC unit is

working extra hard!

By getting your air conditioning unit serviced on a regular basis, you can

save yourself quite a bit of money in electricity charges. If the AC is just

low on Freon, the heating and air conditioning contractor can refill it for you

at a fraction of what you will pay on your first electric bill if running an

uncharged air conditioner.

If your air conditioner needs to be replaced, go for an energy efficient unit.

Most AC units made today are much more energy efficient than those

made years ago. You'll be pleasantly surprised to discover how much

money you can save with a newer model. You may even decide to throw a

“Wow, I can’t believe how much money I saved!” party . . . can I come?

If you have window AC units, you may think that you can't do anything to

save on energy. If these units are attached to the house, make sure they're

cleaned to keep them in good working order. Also caulk or weatherstrip

around the unit for maximum insulation.

Removable window units should be taken off and stored each winter.

Simply keep the unit clean until until it's time to put it back in place. Most

window units have screens that cover the opening in the window to prevent

the cool air from escaping. These are energy-wasting nightmares! You're

better off covering the part of window holding the AC in place with pieces of

insulation. While this may not win you a "most beautiful house on the

block" award, it will do a better job of keeping the cool air in the house than

the flimsy screens that come with window air conditioning units.

Installing ceiling fans in your rooms is another way that you can save on

energy costs. Overhead fans not only spread cool air throughout the

house, but warm air as well. They're a smart choice when it comes to

making your home more energy efficient and run on only a fraction of the

electricity of an AC unit. They're generally inexpensive and often feature

light kits to give you the option of an extra light source in the room.

Combining ceiling fans with energy efficient bulbs in the lighting kit can

really help you stretch out your utility savings.

The fans are easy to install if you already have an electric connector in the

ceiling. If not, you'll need to have an electrician come out and wire the

ceiling to act as a fixture. This is usually a one-day job and costs about

$100 per room.

To save on AC costs in the summer, use floor fans in each room. They do

wonders when it comes to cooling things down in the house and run on a

fraction of the electricity compared to an AC unit.

                            [Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps]

       Recently, advancements in energy-efficient cooling methods have

paved the way for ecologically conscious domestic living.

      One innovative way homeowners are saving energy is by installing

geo-thermal heating and cooling systems, also known as Ground Source

Heat Pumps (GSHP). These babies have been touted by the EPA

(Environmental Protection Agency) as "the most energy-efficient and

environmentally sensitive of all space conditioning systems".

      The closed-loop system is the most common type of geo-thermal unit

for homes, which utilizes polyethylene pipes buried under ground, either

vertically, like a well, or horizontally in three- to six-foot trenches. They can

also be buried under ponds, in which case water or an anti-freeze/water

mixture is pumped through them. During winter, the fluid collects heat from

the ground and carries it through the system and into the house. During the

summer, the system reverses itself to cool the house down by pulling heat

from it, carrying it through the system and placing it back in the ground.

      Homeowners can save 30 to 50 percent on their cooling bills by

replacing their traditional HVAC systems with ground source heat pumps.

The initial costs can be up to 30 percent more but that money can be

recouped in three to five years. Most states also offer sizable tax

deductions for purchasing this type of unit. Another benefit is that the

system lasts longer than traditional units because it's protected from the

elements and immune to theft. Let’s face it, how cool would it be to tell

people that you heat your home using geothermal energy?

Amazingly, GE® Energy Star® recently unveiled a 115 Volt Room Air


      Summertime means running the air conditioner non-stop. When the

temperature rises, the efficiency of our air conditioners drops dramatically.

Here are some steps you can take to help your A.C. run more efficiently

and increase savings.

                     Leave the thermostat alone

Many people are good about leaving the air conditioner at 78 degrees F.

Some even take it upon themselves to set the temperature higher when

there's no one home. If you, too, make a habit of this in your home, make

sure that no one drops the temperature below 78. You may think this cools

the house down faster but it actually cools at the same rate, regardless of

the setting. Adjusting the temperature to 70 degrees will not help your

house get down to 78 degrees any faster than if it were left at 78.

                         Keep the curtains closed

           Natural light can help reduce your lighting costs. However, if no

     one's in a room, it's best to keep the curtains closed during the day.

     This goes double for houses with windows on the eastern and

     western sides. Keeping the sun's direct rays from entering the house

     helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to

     keep the house cool. To capitalize on this effect, open the drapes,

        blinds, or curtains in the evening to allow heat to escape through the

        windows of your house.

                                 Turn on a fan

           In some climates, you can turn the air conditioner off at night and

     just let the ceiling or floor fans cool you in comfort. The energy used by a

     fan is far less than that of the air conditioner. If you live in a warmer

     climate, fans can still provide a comfortable breeze. Using the fans at

     night may allow you to set the air conditioner above 78 degrees and

     save a ton of energy. Fans can also help move cool air around the

     house and ease the workload of the air conditioner.

                                Get rid of hot air

           Use an exhaust fan when cooking to help expel hot air from the

     house. If you don't have an exhaust fan, cool the room by setting up a

     floor fan in the kitchen while cooking. The fan not only cools the air, but

     also helps move it out of the kitchen.

                                Use the dehumidifier

             When people say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," they're right!

     If you have a dehumidifier, turn it on when the temperature rises.

     Ridding your house of humidity will go along way towards your family's

     comfort. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78

     degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans.

                     Keep your air conditioner out of the sun

             The ideal location for a central air conditioning unit is on the north

     side of a house. While this may not be practical in every case, the

     general idea is to keep the unit out of the sun and can be achieved in

     other                                                                   ways.

     Landscaping does more than make your yard look nice. By planting

     shrubs or trees around your air conditioning unit, you can help it cool

     your home more efficiently. The shade from the plants can also be used

     to keep the sun's direct rays off your home!

                        Save chores for the right time

            While cooking can heat up the kitchen, so can using the

     dishwasher to dry the dishes. Clothes dryers located in the house can

     have the same effect. These tasks are better left for the evening time or,

     better yet, when no one's home. Taking on labor-intensive tasks can

     also make you feel uncomfortable during the hottest times of the day. If

     possible, do them in the evening or the early morning when the heat is

     more                                                            bearable.

     Central air conditioners and air source heat pumps are both widely used

     in the U.S. and are the best options for maintaining comfort in areas that

     experience high humidity. Heat pumps are much more efficient than

     central air conditioners and can be used very effectively both for heating

     and cooling in the southeastern states. Both central AC and air source

     heat pumps are rated according to a Seasonal Energy efficiency Ratio

     (SEER). This is the cooling output divided by the power input for a

     hypothetical average U.S. climate. The higher the SEER, the more

     efficient                                                                    the AC.

                                Central AC   Air Source            Ground

                                             Heat Pump          Source Heat


                                              Click Here For Heating Efficiency


                 Market Range   13-21 SEER   13-17 SEER
                                                               8.7-20.4 EER
                 Available       9-14 EER    9-13.5 EER

                                                                  Open Loop:

                                                                  16.2 EER

                 ENERGY          14 SEER      14 SEER

                 STAR            11.5 EER     11.5 EER

                                          Closed Loop:

                                          14.1 EER


                                          15.0 EER

                    15 SEER    15 SEER
     CEE Tier 2
                    12.5 EER   12.5 EER
     CEE Advanced   16 SEER    16 SEER

     Tier 3         13 EER     13 EER


Check out the type of thermostat that you have in the house. If it looks

anything like a rotary telephone, replace it with a programmable thermostat.

They're available at home improvement stores for under $100 and give you

a lot of control over your energy consumption.

Programmable thermostats accurately keep the house at your temperature

of choice at all times. Older thermostats typically turn heat and AC on and

off frequently, which is a big energy drain. Newer units come with a timer

that saves you the trouble of constantly adjusting the temperature, which

wastes time and electricity. During the day, the temperature can be less

comfortable in the house than in the evening when everyone is home. By

having the temperature on a timer, you are effectively making your home a

climate controlled environment (sounds cool, huh?) and increasing savings.

With one of these programmable thermostats, keeping the house at a given

temperature year-round is a piece of cake! Switching between heating and

cooling is done in the press of a button as is turning it off altogether when

you don't need it.

A climate-controlled environment will end up saving you money on your

energy bills and is one of the first steps to take when creating an energy

efficient household.


Most people like aluminum siding, fascia and gutters because they're

maintenance-free. What you may not know, however, is that aluminum

siding and fascia can also save you money on your cooling and heating


There are a few things that you can do that will make your house more

energy efficient as well as add value to the property. These include getting

a new furnace or air conditioner, getting energy efficient replacement

windows and getting aluminum siding and fascia. Chances are, if you are

living in an older home with wooden fascia and siding, you're

underperforming in the insulation department. Aluminum siding insulates

your home. Unlike wood, which is porous, aluminum siding acts as a

barrier against the cold.

Aluminum fascia seals the fascia that surrounds the house. Wooden fascia

eventually develops holes and a hackneyed appearance. Aluminum fascia

is one way that you can seal up the eaves of the house and keep any cold

air from getting in.

Most people wait to get aluminum fascia and siding until they are ready to

paint the exterior of the house. When compared with getting a

maintenance free exterior, they find that they can save money if they get

siding instead of just painting the wooden siding every few years. In

addition to saving money on future maintenance cost, they've added value

to their home.

When most people think about adding value to their home, they think about

making cosmetic changes such as new carpeting and flooring, praying for

new neighbors and painting rooms. While this may make your home more

pleasing to the eye and easier to sell, it does not add any appraised value

to your home (i.e. how much you can sell it for!) There are certain things

that you can do to add real value to a home and an energy efficient

overhaul combined with a maintenance free exterior using aluminum siding,

fascia and gutters is one of them.

Chapter 5 – LED Flood Lights

                                      Floodlights in our vehicles and

                                buildings help keep us safe. All of us want

                                to have floodlights that are energy efficient

     and at the same time spare. LED Floodlights are the

     perfect solution. They not only save energy but are easy on

     your pocketbook as well. They light up your front yard so

        you don't kill yourself walking around at night. If you're fed up with

        changing your floodlights all the time, then consider using LEDs.

        They last much longer and are fantastically energy efficient.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are solid-state devices (semiconductors) that

have no moving parts, no fragile filaments or delicate glass shrouds. They

contain no mercury, no toxic gasses or banned substances. They are

highly efficient and environmentally friendly and unlike conventional light

sources, LEDs do not usually fail catastrophically or burnout. Unlike

conventional lights, which burn out all of a sudden, LEDs lose brightness

gradually, making replacements easy to spot. The useful life of an LED

light         fitting       can         be         over         10         years.

The key benefits of LED technology are:

- Energy savings – LEDs can give over 100lm/w

- Reduced maintenance costs

- No disposal issues

- Long life – 50 000 hrs 70% lumen maintenance

- Instant on (at full brightness); no warm up time – even in cold ambient

temperatures (-40)

- Shock and Vibration resistant

- Fully dimmable without affecting color, temperature or CRI

- No IR, UV or heat radiation in the light output

- Directional light source - (avoid light pollution)

- Low voltage DC drive

Things to Consider:

      When choosing a lighting solution one of the key factors will be the

required luminance (lux). This will normally be specified as a minimum lux

level that should be achieved within certain parts of the room.            For

instance, an office worker may require 500 lux on their desk. The light

output (flux) of LEDs and conventional light sources is usually quoted in

lumens. As Lumens and Lux are directly related, it is possible to easily

calculate how many lumens are required to achieve the desired lux level.

However it’s important to consider the system efficiency of the light fitting

design. In a light fitting using conventional light sources (e.g. a fluorescent

tube), a significant proportion of the light is wasted (up to 50% depending

on the design). This is because the tube is emitting light in all directions.

An LED is a directional light source and only emits light in a forward

direction. In a typical LED light fitting, the LED is paired with a high

efficiency reflecting optic, which captures the majority of the light emitted

(90%) and then directs it to the target area in a appropriate beam pattern

determined by the optic design (cool!)

         This means to get the desired lux level at the target surface you need

to have more lumens emitted from the conventional light source than from

the LED. This in turn means much greater efficiency from the LED light

source as you need even less power even though you do not have to

generate as many lumens from the conversion of electrical energy into


         LED lights are great for indoor and outdoor decoration purposes. On

top of that, they offer many benefits. They help save energy because they

emits most of their energy as heat. The typical lifespan of an LED light is

70,000 to 100,000 hours. In addition, they are durable in both the heat and

the                                                                       cold.

      When shopping for lights, you have to keep in mind where you'll be

using them. For staircases, you should use LED recessed lighting. It’s best

that you use round LED lights, which are installed halfway up the staircase

wall. If you want to use it in a nursery, you should use a blue color light.

Cool colors such as Blue color LED lights have been shown to create a

peaceful environment.

      For your garden, you can use different colors of LED lighting to create

an amazing effect. Light up the garden gnomes to scare neighbors. We

tried it and it’s a riot! Additionally, the colorful lights will make the garden

come alive at night. Ground Buried LED lighting will create an interesting

outline in the patio area. If you want to use Ground Buried LED lighting,

make sure you install a good drainage system. To install the drainage

system, you must encompass an area wider than the LED unit.             There's

even submersible lighting you can use in a pond. The submersible lighting

is totally waterproof so it won't become damaged when submerged in


      When choosing an LED light, check the wattage of the bulb. Wattage

refers to the amount of electricity that the light bulb uses. If it has a high

wattage, it will consume a lot of electricity. Consequently, you'll wind up

with a higher bill. The wattage of an LED bulb is between 1 and 5 watts.

Opt      for   a   lower     wattage     bulb    to    keep     costs      low.

      Lumens refer to the brightness of the lights. The higher the lumens,

the brighter the light the LED will produce. LEDs with higher lumens tend to

be more efficient. LED lights primarily focus on lighting an area. So if you

put a bulb in a display cabinet, you will need an LED light with a focus

lighting beam. If you use it for reading, make sure it provides a wider light.

Before buying your lights, you should identify the types of connections used

for the bulb fittings. There are two types of connections: GU10 and GU5.3.

The LED lighting should match with the connections of the bulb fittings in

your                                                                   home.

       It's easy to install the LED lighting in your home. If you don't know

how to install the LED lighting, you can hire a DIY professional to help you.

Shopping for LEDs online is by far the cheapest way to go. Online lighting

stores often advertise coupon codes, which you can use to obtain a

discount on your purchases. If you shop for LEDs online, you can even use

the "compare prices" feature in a search engine to compare prices between

different lighting stores.

                     Chapter 6 – Laptops

     Laptop      users   should   be   especially   concerned   with   power

consumption as they rely on the limited power supply of a battery. This is

to say nothing of the energy costs that come into play when a laptop is

plugged in!

              Few groups have dedicated as much

     research and development into power efficiency

     as portable PC makers (what a shocker), resulting

     in a plethora of low-voltage processors, energy-

     efficient LED displays, solid-state hard drives with no moving parts

     and various power-saving operating-system features.

     Without skimping on hardware, laptops run on Microsoft Windows

XP Home edition, include a 15.4-inch screen, built-in wireless-LAN, and a

DVD burner, giving users a 20 percent improvement in battery life over

comparable systems.

Things to Consider:

Laptops offer an incredibly wide range of power and battery options.

Some are built right into the operating system (usually Windows Vista or

XP, although similar options are available in the Mac OS X operating

system and Linux-based systems), and others are software applications

provided by specific PC makers for jumping between power presets. A

handful of systems, notably - several from Asus - include physical hardware

switches that either shift between preset power profiles or even toggle CPU

and GPU overclocking (although this still a relatively rare feature).

      Choosing a laptop with the correct components can go a long way

towards cutting power consumption and prolonging battery life. Specifically,

a new breed of low-power CPUs from Intel, AMD, and Via aim to provide

Netbooks and other low-end systems with reasonable performance using a

minimal   thermal   design

power (which represents how much heat the system will have to dissipate

under allegedly realistic conditions--but those can vary by manufacturer, so

bear in mind that TDP numbers may not be exactly comparable between


These are some of the best CPUs for energy misers:

Intel Atom

          The smallest processor currently made by Intel, the Atom is found

     in a majority of Netbook-style laptops. The most common versions are

     the Atom N270 (1.6GHz) and Atom N280 (1.66GHz), both of which have

     a 2.5W max TDP. Atom-powered systems such as the Asus Eee PC

     1000HE and Acer Aspire One AOD150 can top 6 hours of battery life.

Intel ULV Core 2 Duo

          Known by their "U" designation, this is Intel's ultra-low-voltage

     dual-core processor line, commonly found in high-end 12-inch

     ultraportable laptops. Delivering faster performance than an Atom CPU,

     a chip such as the 1.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 has a 10W max

     TDP. An updated line, referred to as CULV (Consumer Ultra Low

     Voltage), and intended to bridge the gap between low-cost Atom

     processors and expensive ULV processors, is expected to start showing

     up    in    mainstream      laptops    starting    mid-April   2009.

     By way of comparison, a typical mainstream laptop CPU, such as the

     2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, has a max TDP of 35W.

AMD Athlon Neo

          Intended as a step up from Atom-style Netbook processors, AMD's

     Athlon Neo will be seen in ultrathin laptops such as the upcoming HP

     dv2. That system will have a 1.6GHz Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU that has a

     max TDP of 15W.

Via Nano

          Chip maker Via has replaced its older low-power CPU, the C7-M,

     with the new Nano, intended to compete with the Intel Atom Netbooks.

     First seen in the Samsung NC20 Netbook, the 1.3GHz Nano U2350 has

     an 8W max TDP.

Solid-state hard drives

          Another potentially power-saving choice is using a solid-state hard

     drive instead of a traditional spinning-platter hard drive. With no moving

     parts, SSD drives are by some measures more efficient.         They also

     generate less heat, preventing the cooling fan from running as often.

            A study by Intel showed that an SSD can spend upward of 90

     percent of its time in a low-power state, while a typical 5,400rpm hard

     drive only spends about 10 percent of its time in a low-power state.

     However, most tests show only a minimal improvement in battery life,

     while costing significantly more per GB (Gigabyte) of storage.

We Recommend:

     Laptops are unique among consumer electronics in that they offer an

incredibly wide range of power and battery options. Some are built into the

operating system (usually Windows Vista or XP, although similar options

are available in the Mac OS X operating system and Linux-based systems),

and others are software applications provided by specific PC makers for

jumping between power presets. A handful of systems, notably several

from Asus, include physical hardware switches that either shift between

preset power profiles or even switch on and off CPU and GPU overclocking

(although       that's       still      rarely       found         feature).

By default, you'll find three preset power plans listed: one called Power

saver, one called High performance, and a third option. The third option,

depending on the vendor, is often called "Balanced" or "Custom"; however,

some PC makers customize this plan and name it appropriately. HP

laptops call this third power plan "HP Recommended." Oh, those clever

HP folks!

      From this menu, you can choose a preset power plan, change the

settings within a specific

power plan, or simply

change a handful of

settings on-the-fly with

the quick links on the

left side of the Explorer


         Opting to change the settings in one of Vista's preset power plans

brings you to a new screen. The screen offers pull-down menus for

selecting when to turn off the display, put the computer to sleep when

running on battery power or when plugged in, and a screen brightness

slider                    for                both                    options.

For a good balance of usability, battery life, and responsible energy use,

we suggest the following settings as a good starting point.

                                      On battery    Plugged in

          Turn off the display        5 minutes     15 minutes

          Put the computer to sleep   10 minutes 30 minutes

          Adjust screen brightness    50 percent 75 to 100 percent

      Both the Balanced and Power

Saver set the screen brightness to less

than 50 percent, which makes for

more impressive battery life, but users

often find their screens too dark.

      Delving deeper, you'll find a link

on the "Edit plan" settings page to "change advanced power settings."

Clicking on this brings up a pop-up menu that lets you tweak the battery

and plugged in power settings for how long the HDD waits until spinning

down, suspending USB ports, and dialing down the maximum processor

speed         when          running        on        battery        power.

      In general, these settings should be left alone, with the exception of

the "Power buttons and lid" submenu. This menu is also directly available

from the initial Power options page, where it's linked as "Choose what

closing the lid does."

      Unlike windows XP,

Vista does not require you

to enable the hibernate

function before choosing it

as an option. Hibernation

essentially        saves      a

snapshot      of   any     open

applications                and

documents, saves it to the

hard drive, and shuts down the computer to the same state as if you had

powered it off through the start menu. When you wake a laptop from

hibernation, you'll (eventually) end up exactly where you left off - with the

same windows, programs, and documents open.

For traveling with a laptop, setting the system to hibernate when you close

the lid is key to preserving battery life, and keeps your laptop from

overheating in a tightly confined laptop bag. The downside is that while

waking up a laptop from sleep mode can take a few seconds, waking it up

from hibernate can take as long as booting from a powered-off state.

Setting your system's power options appropriately has several advantages.

First, you'll extend battery life and be able to work off battery power for a

longer period. Second, by extending battery life, you'll recharge your

battery less often, thereby saving both wear and tear on the battery as well

as use less electricity (although the actual monetary savings in energy

costs would be minimal).

      Additionally, we break systems down into two categories for testing.

Performance systems have discrete graphics cards and use a gaming test

for the Load test, while systems with integrated graphics - which we call

Mainstream - use a general multitasking test.

Powered-off test:

The "test system" is powered off (shut down) for at least 1 minute, but

remains plugged into a wall outlet.

Idle test:

Boot the system into the operating system.

Confirm that the system has an active Internet connection.

Leave all active launch programs turned on.

Sleep test:

Put the system into standby mode by going to the Windows Start, then

Shut Down buttons.

Let the system sit in standby mode for 5 minutes.

Mainstream load test (for systems with integrated graphics chips):

Reboot the system and make sure it's powered on, booted up, and logged

into     the   operating      system   for    at    least   5    minutes.

The only applications that launch should be those that launch automatically

during                           system                           start-up.

Once it boots into the operating system, confirm that the system has an

active Internet connection.

Launch the multimedia multitasking test.

Performance load test (for systems with discrete graphics chips):

Reboot the system and make sure it is powered on, booted up, and logged

into      the    operating     system    for    at    least    5    minutes.

Again, the only applications that launch should be those that launch

automatically                 during            system               start-up.

Once it boots into the operating system, confirm that the system has an

active Internet connection.

Launch the Far Cry 2 benchmark.

                               Reporting results

           The individual tests are weighted as follows, and multiplied by the

      national average cost of a kWh of electricity - currently $0.1135 - to

      show average power consumption and estimate annual energy costs.


      Off (40%)

      Sleep (30%)

      Idle (15%)

      Load (15%)


      Off (40%)

      Sleep (30%)

      Idle (25%)

      Chapter 7 – Energy Efficient HDTV

Big, flat-screen HDTVs use more power than you might imagine. Now that

the old, tube televisions are starting to disappear, replaced by much larger

plasma and LCD-based HDTVs, TV lovers everywhere may be noticing a

spike in their electricity bills. Plus, with the increasing popularity of TV-

based entertainment options, such as video game, digital video recorders,

and streaming/on-demand video devices, more and more electricity is

being spent on TV-related activity. These devices aren't shy about sucking

power. But typically, the biggest energy hog in your entertainment center is

the TV itself.

Things to Consider:

The amount of power used by an active (i.e. turned on) television is

determined by three factors:

- Screen size

- Technology type (plasma, LCD, etc.)

- Picture brightness (which nearly always depends on user-selected picture


                               Screen size

            Bigger TVs use more power. A 32-inch LCD uses about half as

      much power as a 52-inch LCD. Of course, the 52-incher's screen is

      nearly three times as large as that of the 32-inch model, so the

      efficiency payoff for going down in screen size does tend to taper off.

      However, chances are that your new flat-screen TV will use more

      power than your old tube TV--IF the new set is significantly larger.

                             Technology type

            Plasma TVs use more power than LCD TVs.                Since the

      beginning of 2008, our tests have shown that plasmas TVs consume,

      on average, roughly two to three times more electricity to produce an

      image of the same brightness as an LCD. In the last couple of years,

      plasma TV makers have made some progress--Panasonic claims

      improvements of 30 percent yearly, for example--but they still can't

      compete with LCDs in energy efficiency. One problem is that in

      plasma TVs, each pixel is a discrete light source (think of it as a tiny

      light bulb), so when resolution increases, say from 720p to 1080p,

      power use goes up as well. The intensity of light from each pixel must

      be    increased    to    brighten    the     picture   as   a    whole.

           With LCD-based TVs, on the other hand, a backlight shines

      through an LCD panel to create the image. Since the pixels reside in

      the panel, and not the backlight, the TV's power use is largely

      independent of resolution. Many LCDs can conserve additional power

      by automatically turning the backlight down during dark scenes and

      up                during                   bright               scenes.

           Many newer LCD-based TVs use LEDs, as opposed to

      fluorescent (CCFL) backlights. LEDs are more efficient in general and

      can also employ various dimming technologies that turn down either

      the entire backlight or independent sections, both of which save

      power. LED-backlit LCDs are the most efficient type of flat-panel TV

      available today, although the actual savings over a standard LCD

      usually    amounts       to    less     than     $20      a     year.

           Old CRT-based TVs are relatively inefficient, especially

      compared with LCD TVs. However, since CRT screen size is limited,

      they often don't use as much power as big flat-screen models. Rear-

      projection HDTVs are actually the most energy efficient per square

      inch of these TV technologies but are rare nowadays.

                               Picture settings

            Brighter pictures consume more power (duh), and since light

      output is primarily a function of the picture settings available on all

      TVs, this is the one factor that any user can control regardless of the

      type of television they own. Reducing the light output of your TV can

      cut power use by as much as half. And as long as you don't overdo

      it,    you'll    still     enjoy     excellent     picture     quality.

            The main settings that matter are contrast (aka "picture") and

      backlight (or "cell light" on Samsung plasmas). Both directly control

      light output. Nearly every TV has a contrast control, but backlight is

      generally restricted to LCD models--and not every LCD has it. In

      LCDs with both backlight and contrast controls, backlight is the main

      determinant of light output and power use. Counterintuitively, the

      brightness control has less of an impact on a TV's light output than

      the                 other                 two                 settings.

      Other controls are also often available.     Some examples include

      energy saver modes (which typically limit peak light output), dynamic

      settings that raise or lower the light output depending on the

      brightness or darkness of the picture being displayed and room

      lighting sensors that increase light output in dark rooms and lower it

      when the lights dim. Engaging any of these controls will generally

      reduce the TV's power use, but it will often sacrifice image fidelity.

      Automatic adjustments can be distracting, for example, and

      aggressive energy saver modes can make images too dim.

            Other power-saving features might not affect the picture quality

      at all. For example, many TVs provide a "picture off" setting that just

      plays the audio, thus greatly reducing power consumption for people

      who would rather listen than watch. Many TVs can be programmed to

      turn off automatically after a set period of time, whether via a sleep

      timer or just after a set period of inactivity. A couple of Sony models,

      such as the KDL-EX700 series takes it a step further with a

      "presence sensor" that automatically turns off the picture - and

      eventually, the TV itself - when you leave the room.

Other power factors

        It may surprise you to hear that TVs use power even when they're

  not turned on. So that the TV is ready to respond to the remote in an

  instant, all sets use what's called phantom or standby power. Our tests

  revealed that standby power consumption varied somewhat among

   different TVs, but in general, newer models consume a negligible

  amount of power when turned off. Energy Star 3.0/4.0 (see below)

   require devices to consume less than 1 watt of power in standby mode

  to qualify for its certification. To put that in perspective, leaving a TV that

   uses 1 watt of power in standby mode turned off for a year would cost

  just $1 based on average 2009 energy prices.

          Few people have just a TV anymore, and all sorts of ancillary

  devices contribute to your yearly energy costs as well. Think of all that's

  plugged into your set, from a DVD or Blu-ray player, an AV receiver, and

  a gaming console, to a satellite receiver, DVR, or Slingbox that never

  really turns off. They all need power. It may not sound like much, but a

  DirectTV DVR can use about 33 watts, while a Slingbox draws about 9

  watts--constantly. All told, these boxes can use more power than the TV

  itself, especially when it comes to gaming. The original Xbox 360 draws

      an impressive 187 watts, but is outdone by the power-hungry

  PlayStation 3, which requires 197 watts of juice (newer versions of the

  game consoles are more energy efficient, however--the PS3 Slim uses

   about 96 watts during gaming, for example). A recent study by PG&E in

   California estimated that 10 percent of household power use is devoted

  to TV-related activity.

TV power standards: Energy Star, California, and the FTC

             The Environmental Protection Agency got serious about certifying

      TVs for its Energy Star program on November 1, 2008. Prior to that, TVs

      could be branded with that familiar logo without even being turned on for

      testing--only standby power mattered. Then came the Energy Star

   3.0 standard that mandated testing with the TV turned on. Unfortunately,

      it wasn't very strict--nearly every HDTV you can buy today, including

      some    of   the   biggest   energy   hogs,   is   Energy   Star   certified.

      In May of 2010, Energy Star 4.0 goes into effect, meaning that any TV

  sold after that date must meet the new standards. The specification

  requires that TVs consume 40 percent less power overall than the 3.0

  spec did and also tries to prevent manufacturers from "cheating"

   because it ties light output in the default picture setting to light output in

  the      TV's    brightest   setting   (aka   "retail"   or   "torch"   mode).

  Unfortunately, however, we don't expect the 4.0 spec for TVs to provide

  realistic buying advice to shoppers who care about energy efficiency.

  Nearly every 2010 HDTV available or announced so far, including large

  plasmas TVs, qualifies for Energy Star 4.0 certification. Energy Star's

  more stringent 5.0 version calls for a 65 percent power-consumption

  improvement over its 3.0 spec and applies the same requirements to all

  TVs larger than 50 inches. It goes into effect May 2012.

           Not to be confused with the voluntary Energy Star program, a

  regulation passed in California actually prevents the sale of TVs that

  don't meet a certain efficiency grade. However, despite stringent

  opposition to the regulation by industry groups, we don't know of any

  new TV--regardless of size or technology--that doesn't qualify. Again, a

      more stringent version of the California program is scheduled to go into

   effect      in    2013.      [2013      or   the     above-mentioned   2012?]

  Comparison shoppers can take heart in a new proposal by the FTC that

   calls for actual wattage and cost estimates--those same yellow and

  black Energy Guide labels found on refrigerators, furnaces, and other

  major appliances--to make their way to the world of TVs. However, the

      FTC has neither announced timing for the move, nor has it confirmed

      that it's going to happen at all.

            No discussion of TV power use would be complete without a bit of

      perspective. For households that pay somewhere near the average retail

      cost for energy--11.55 cents per kilowatt per hour in 2009--and that

      watch near the average amount per TV--about 5.2 hours per day--the

      cost to watch a 50-inch 1080p plasma TV is about $64 per year in the

      calibrated light output mode (see How We Test). The average 52 to 55-

      inch LCD TV runs about $29 per year for the same light output and, of

  course,             smaller             TVs         use      less       energy.

   Sure, both electricity costs and average daily TV use are increasing

  steadily every year but those amounts still fail to make a major dent in

  most household budgets. According to the Department of Energy, for

      example, the average refrigerator uses nearly $90 worth of energy per


           It's worth noting that plasma TVs have many picture quality

  advantages over LCD TVs, so people who really prize video quality may

  be willing to sacrifice some efficiency. On the other hand, today's high-

      quality LCDs can balance extreme efficiency with great picture quality.

      As with all technologies, improvements in HDTV performance are being

      made with every new generation of products and we expect power

      consumption to continue to fall in newer models.

           Below is a table of comparison between different brands of

      HDTV’s power consumption.


Model: The HDTV model name and manufacturer. Default sort is by

technology type, with newest reviews listed higher on the chart.

HDTV type: We differentiate between LED-backlit LCD TVs ("LED") and

standard CCFL-based varieties ("LCD"). CRT models were excluded from

this   comparison       because     we     no     longer    test    them.

Screen size: In inches diagonal. All TVs on this list are wide-screen

models with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Default setting (watts): Measured using the default settings when the TV's

picture is on. Prior to the Energy Star 3.0 update in November 2008, the

default settings were a sort of "torch mode," with high light output and

correspondingly high power consumption. But since the update many new

models have dimmer pictures and less power use in the default mode.

Default setting (watts per square inch): The "Default setting (watts)"

result divided by the screen size of the TV in square inches.

Default setting (cost per year): Using the default picture setting on a TV,

this is the amount of money the TV would cost to operate 365 days,

assuming it's turned on for 5.2 hours a day and off for 18.8 hours. We

currently use the average price of energy in the U.S. during 2009, which is

11.55 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the Energy Information

Administration. All of the TVs on this list, regardless of when they were

actually reviewed, use these figures in calculating this amount. However,

the true cost of operating a TV can vary widely depending on local

electricity costs and hours used per day.

Calibrated setting (watts): Measured using the calibrated picture setting

when the TV's picture is on. CNET calibrates all HDTVs it reviews, which

includes adjusting luminance (light output) to a certain level. Since power

use varies with luminance, this wattage number provides a more reliable,

direct comparison than the default setting, where luminance is not


Calibrated setting (watts per square inch): The "Calibrated setting

(watts)" result is divided by the screen size of the TV in square inches.

Calibrated setting (cost per year): Using the same figures as "Default

setting (cost per year)," this is the amount it costs to operate the TV per

year in the calibrated picture mode.

                                            Default      Default                  Calibrated

                                 Default    setting      setting     Calibrated   setting (watts   Calibrated

                 HDTV   Screen   settings   (watts per   (cost per   setting      per square       setting (cost

Model            type   size     (watts)    square inch) year)       (watts)      inch)            per year)

Vizio VF552XVT LED      55       191.14     0.148        $42.54      103.72       0.080            $23.37


UN55C8000        LED    55       129.46     0.100        $28.44      111.64       0.086            $24.53

LG 47LE8500      LED    47       90.01      0.095        $19.78      70.99        0.075            $15.61

Sony KDL-

46EX700          LED    46       87.22      0.096        $19.22      65.2         0.072            $14.39

Sony KDL-

52NX800          LED    52       122.55     0.106        $26.96      95.16        0.082            $20.96

LG 47SL80        LCD    47       187.29     0.198        $41.26      122.77       0.130            $27.12

Mitsubishi LT-

46249            LCD    46       187.76     0.208        $66.52      149.85       0.166            $58.21


SK-32H640G       LCD    32       89.279     0.204        $19.94      46.909       0.107            $10.65

Sharp LC-

32D47UT          LCD    32       71.683     0.164        $15.84      47.752       0.109            $10.59

LG 32LH20        LCD    32       82.054     0.188        $18.17      62.741       0.143            $13.93


LN32B360         LCD    32       75.108     0.172        $16.88      48.304       0.110            $11.00

Sony KDL-

32L5000          LCD    32       91.467     0.209        $20.12      52.69        0.120            $11.62


32AV502U        LCD   32   87.898   0.201   $19.51   56.031   0.128   $12.52

Vizio VO320E    LCD   32   87.404   0.200   $19.41   51.608   0.118   $11.56

Sony KDL-

46VE5           LCD   46   125.31   0.139   $27.48   103.91   0.115   $22.79

Vizio VF551XVT LED    55   161.95   0.125   $35.76   99.53    0.077   $22.08

Sharp LC-

46LE700UN       LED   46   101.58   0.112   $22.33   63.91    0.071   $14.07


UNB558500       LED   55   136.16   0.105   $29.91   123.99   0.096   $27.24


UN46B8000       LED   46   114.48   0.127   $25.16   104.93   0.116   $23.07

Sony KDL-

46W5100         LCD   46   169.87   0.188   $37.26   110.55   0.122   $24.26


46SV670U        LED   46   174.87   0.193   $38.64   142.24   0.157   $31.48

LG 47LH50       LCD   47   186.55   0.198   $41.07   120.11   0.127   $26.51


42PFL6704D      LCD   42   136.80   0.181   $30.18   183.16   0.243   $40.35

Panasonic TC-

L32X1           LCD   32   92.10    0.210   $20.69   70.16    0.160   $15.88

LG 47LH90       LED   47   140.86   0.149   $31.01   107.16   0.114   $23.63


LN46B650        LCD   46   174.10   0.193   $38.28   119.96   0.133   $26.42

JVC LT-46P300   LCD   46   132.78   0.147   $29.54   113.54   0.126   $25.33

Sony KDL-

52V5100         LCD   52   242.62   0.210   $53.32   159.27   0.138   $35.05

LG 42LH55       LCD   42   137.65   0.183   $30.37   93.33    0.124   $20.66


47ZV650U        LCD   47   181.26   0.192   $39.74   114.54   0.121   $25.11


LN52B750        LCD   52   191.15   0.165   $41.90   128.86   0.112   $28.25

Sony KDL-

52XBR9          LCD   52   237.52   0.206   $52.07   159.97   0.138   $35.07


UN46B6000       LED   46   106.40   0.118   $23.39   86.66    0.096   $19.06

LG 42LH30       LCD   42   127.38   0.169   $28.12   94.33    0.125   $20.88


UN46B7000       LED   46   106.77   0.118   $23.47   93.02    0.103   $20.46

Vizio VF550XVT LCD    55   221.03   0.171   $48.45   145.36   0.112   $31.87

Sony KLV-

40ZX1M          LED   40   160.65   0.235   $35.22   79.46    0.116   $17.42

Vizio VO32LF    LCD   32   121.58   0.278   $26.65   69.00    0.158   $15.13

Panasonic TC-

37LZ85          LCD   37   142.69   0.244   $31.28   92.59    0.158   $20.30

Vizio VOJ370F   LCD   37   145.84   0.249   $31.97   76.64    0.131   $16.80


46XV545U        LCD   46   178.59   0.198   $39.15   133.50   0.148   $29.27

Sony KDL-

52XBR7        LCD    52   285.68   0.247   $62.63   161.10   0.139   $35.32


UT37X902      LCD    37   183.73   0.314   $40.28   106.87   0.183   $23.43

Haier HL47K   LCD    47   237.30   0.251   $52.02   231.73   0.246   $50.80


Altura MLX    LCD    42   207.27   0.275   $45.44   206.74   0.274   $45.32

Sharp LC-

46D85U        LCD    46   182.32   0.202   $39.97   122.97   0.136   $26.96

LG 32LG40     LCD    32   116.19   0.266   $25.47   67.86    0.155   $14.88

Sharp LC-

52D65U        LCD    52   210.35   0.182   $46.11   121.60   0.105   $26.66

Sony KDL-

55XBR8        LED    55   239.83   0.186   $52.58   139.88   0.108   $30.66

Sony KDL-

52XBR6        LCD    52   272.63   0.236   $59.77   134.97   0.117   $29.59

Vizio VO32L   LCD    32   104.90   0.240   $23.00   61.14    0.140   $13.40


LN46A950      LED    46   145.98   0.161   $32.72   136.34   0.151   $30.61

Vizio SV470XVT LCD   47   239.59   0.254   $53.12   141.01   0.149   $31.51


LN46A550      LCD    46   137.12   0.152   $30.60   101.52   0.112   $22.79

Sony KDL-

46Z4100       LCD    46   268.57   0.297   $59.17   124.71   0.138   $27.63

Panasonic TC-

32LX85           LCD   32   97.79    0.223   $22.38   64.96    0.148   $15.18


42RV530U         LCD   42   218.08   0.289   $48.27   114.68   0.152   $25.60


VK-40F580D       LCD   40   246.81   0.361   $57.83   96.55    0.141   $24.89


LN46A750         LCD   46   184.62   0.204   $41.11   119.31   0.132   $26.79

Mitsubishi LT-

46148            LCD   46   263.78   0.292   $75.86   192.85   0.213   $60.32

Sony KDL-

46W4100          LCD   46   274.43   0.304   $60.83   140.00   0.155   $31.36

LG 32LG30        LCD   32   117.88   0.269   $26.63   61.70    0.141   $14.31


42PFL5603D       LCD   42   91.23    0.121   $20.58   193.06   0.256   $42.90

Sony KDL-

32M4000          LCD   32   112.94   0.258   $25.53   78.09    0.178   $17.89


32CV510U         LCD   32   131.34   0.300   $29.43   61.20    0.140   $14.05

LG 47LG60        LCD   47   267.21   0.283   $59.61   129.64   0.137   $29.45


LN52A650         LCD   52   219.90   0.190   $49.16   140.80   0.122   $31.82


LN32A450         LCD   32   130.65   0.299   $29.50   68.27    0.156   $15.83

Sharp LC-

32D44U          LCD      32   126.25   0.289   $28.40   59.75    0.137   $13.82

Insignia NS-

LCD32           LCD      32   143.20   0.327   $32.26   81.63    0.187   $18.76

Vizio VO47LF    LCD      47   277.52   0.294   $61.78   141.86   0.150   $32.04

Olevia 252T

FHD             LCD      52   257.29   0.223   $57.39   173.80   0.150   $39.08


47PFL9732D      LCD      47   250.10   0.265   $55.94   130.69   0.138   $29.76

Panasonic TC-

P54Z1           plasma   54   274.28   0.220   $59.40   321.41   0.258   $69.55

LG 50PS80       plasma   50   384.98   0.360   $84.55   296.76   0.278   $65.21

Panasonic TC-

P54G10          plasma   54   282.85   0.227   $62.11   324.00   0.260   $71.13


PN50B850        plasma   50   207.01   0.194   $45.52   292.21   0.274   $64.20


PN50B650        plasma   50   252.04   0.236   $55.39   290.46   0.272   $63.82

Panasonic TC-

P50V10          plasma   50   255.61   0.239   $56.14   294.42   0.276   $64.65

Panasonic TC-

P50X1           plasma   50   217.95   0.204   $47.94   255.88   0.240   $56.25

Panasonic TC-

P46G10          plasma   46   168.78   0.187   $37.12   281.18   0.311   $61.76

Panasonic TC-

P42S1           plasma   42   187.17   0.248   $41.03    235.32   0.312   $51.59

Panasonic TH-

65VX100U        plasma   65   575.56   0.319   $126.17   415.17   0.230   $91.01

Panasonic TH-

50PF11UK        plasma   50   449.62   0.421   $98.57    336.35   0.315   $73.73

Vizio VP505XVT plasma    50   474.03   0.444   $103.92   383.88   0.359   $84.15


PN63A760        plasma   63   509.24   0.300   $111.64   416.53   0.246   $91.31

Panasonic TH-

58PZ800U        plasma   58   196.37   0.137   $43.05    363.45   0.253   $79.68

Pioneer PRO-

111FD           plasma   50   333.54   0.312   $73.12    293.06   0.274   $64.24

LG 60PG60       plasma   60   507.83   0.330   $111.33   385.74   0.251   $84.56

LG 50PG30       plasma   50   401.67   0.376   $88.92    324.85   0.304   $72.08


PN50A650        plasma   50   380.58   0.356   $84.22    337.77   0.316   $74.84

LG 50PG20       plasma   50   284.64   0.266   $63.43    257.59   0.241   $57.50

Vizio VP322     plasma   32   122.97   0.281   $28.67    115.35   0.264   $27.00

Vizio VP422     plasma   42   283.83   0.377   $62.89    146.49   0.194   $32.79

Pioneer PDP-

5020FD          plasma   50   293.33   0.275   $64.64    272.67   0.255   $60.11

Panasonic TH-

50PZ850U        plasma   50   163.80   0.153   $36.27    284.36   0.266   $62.70

LG 50PG50        plasma   50   401.02   0.375   $88.74    329.92   0.309   $73.15

Panasonic TH-

50PZ800U         plasma   50   535.00   0.501   $117.94   286.25   0.268   $63.41

Panasonic TH-

42PX80U          plasma   42   260.18   0.345   $57.82    190.53   0.253   $42.55

Panasonic TH-

46PZ85U          plasma   46   454.51   0.503   $100.37   329.05   0.364   $72.86


PN50A550         plasma   50   446.60   0.418   $98.85    373.77   0.350   $82.89

Insignia NS-

PDP42            plasma   42   216.76   0.288   $48.62    203.87   0.270   $45.79

Panasonic TH-

58PZ750U         plasma   58   562.52   0.391   $124.11   489.38   0.340   $108.07


P50H401          plasma   50   336.10   0.315   $74.55    216.65   0.203   $48.37

Mitsubishi WD-

65737            RPTV     65   208.45   0.115   $46.04    208.27   0.115   $46.00

Mitsubishi WD-

65735            RPTV     65   219.27   0.121   $60.35    219.15   0.121   $60.33


HL61A750         RPTV     61   171.24   0.108   $38.20    83.38    0.052   $18.94

We Recommend:

        Even after you've bought a TV, you can still make a positive

difference in your power consumption. We've assembled a short list of tips

that just about anybody can use to make their home theater more energy


Turn the TV and other connected devices off when they're not being


        Sure, this one's obvious, but it's easy to get into the habit of leaving

      the TV on as "background" when you're not really watching it. And while

      TVs still consume power in standby mode, it's a tiny fraction of what they

      draw when they're actually on. Old habits die hard, but you'll be saving

      yourself    some      bucks      if    you     remember       this    tip.

      Be careful to power down other connected devices, too, like game

      consoles and DVD players--which are easy to leave on accidentally

      even after you turn the TV itself off. A good universal remote that can

   "power down" the whole system with a single button-press can easily

      pay for itself in energy savings after a year or so.

Turn off the Quick Start option

         Some HDTVs and some other AV gear have an option called Quick

  Start (or something similar), which allows them to turn on more quickly

  when you press the power button. The flipside is that when engaged, it

  typically consumes more power (sometimes up to 50 times as much)

  during standby, which can really add up. Do your energy bill a favor and

  turn this mode off. That few extra seconds' wait for the TV to warm up is

  well worth it.

Turn down the LCD's backlight

         Many LCDs give you the ability to control the intensity of the backlight

      in the TV. By turning down the backlight, you'll lower power

   consumption, but also make the TV less bright. While retail stores love

  to turn the backlights up all the way for their displays, we find that we get

  the best image quality when we turn down the backlight significantly.

Turn on the power saver mode

         Many TVs these days come with a power saver mode that's designed

  to cut down the power consumption. Performance of this mode varies

      from model to model, with the effect sometimes being drastic and other

      times providing only a slight savings. The only downside is that the

      power saver mode usually makes the TV less bright, but we've found

      that sometimes this has a beneficial effect on the image quality,

  especially with the room lights turned off (in which case it's a win-win


Reduce light output with other settings

         Many people buy a TV, turn it on, and never think to change the

      picture settings. Not only is this bad for picture quality, it's bad for power

   consumption! Most TVs are very bright by default, which saps more

      juice. One of the first things a professional calibrator will usually do is

   turn down the light output--which is controlled primarily by "contrast" or

      "picture" controls--along with several other adjustments that will

      maximize the performance of your TV.

Control room lighting

        Many of these tips are going to reduce your TV's brightness but that

  can be balanced out by controlling the light in your home theater. While

   this may be a little overboard just for power conservation, limiting the

  light in your home theater also goes a long way toward creating the

  "theater" experience, as well as getting the most out of your TV.

        And beyond TV concerns, good-quality blackout shades offer thermal

      benefits that keep other energy costs low; they keep heat in during the

      winter and keep it out during the summer.

Buy a smaller screen

        If you're looking to buy a new TV, you can limit your power

      consumption by buying a smaller set. This doesn't always exactly hold.

      For example, rear-projection sets are often larger and use less power

  than plasma TVs, but once you pick your display technology, going

      smaller will almost always use less juice. As always, you can

  compensate for smaller screen size, to a point, by sitting closer to the


Watch TV together

        Having multiple TVs in a house is more of a norm than a luxury these

      days, but that means your power consumption is going to increase as

      well. You can cut that power consumption by watching with your family

      or housemates. You might need to make a few compromises on what

      you watch, but sometimes it's more fun to watch with friends and family.

Watch less TV

      Instead of sitting down for another dose of reality TV, you could opt

for reality instead. You can get some exercise and slash your energy bill

 Chapter 8 – The Best Rechargeable AA

         and AAA Batteries and Chargers,


Let me guess . . . You're fed up with buying and tossing out conventional

batteries. Or you've been using a battery charger that no longer appears to

work. Or your rechargeable batteries aren't lasting as long as you think

they should. But maybe you just don't know where to begin.

      NiMH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) is the current standard in rechargeable

batteries. NiCADs (Nickel-Cadmium), at one time ubiquitous, are becoming



Not all rechargeable batteries are created equal. Those higher mAh

batteries -- you know, the attractive high power cells: 2400, 2500, 2700 --

tend to be rapid self-discharge cells. They just don't hold a charge for very

long and are good for shorter periods of time.

The brand doesn't appear to matter. Look for the low self-discharge (hybrid)

batteries, typically marked "lasts 4x longer ... than other rechargeable

batteries" (NOT the ones that read "... than alkaline batteries") and usually

rated around 2000, 2100 mAh -- Sanyo eneloops, Rayovac hybrid, Kodak

white cell (not the older green cell) variety, etc. These aren't quite as high-

powered as you'd like but they last longer and are less frustrating to use in

the field. Sorry, them's the facts as I understand them.

                        Battery Chargers

The typical 15 minute or one hour rapid-charger tends to fry batteries. The

heat generated by the rapid-charger adversely impacts the crystalline

structure of the battery's insides and your battery life plummets.

      Most battery chargers are 'dumb'; It doesn't matter how well it

currently holds a charge. All the batteries you place inside will get the same

charge. Think of filling up four 12 ounce tumblers that already contain

various amounts of water with 12 new ounces of water. What happens to

the                                                                    excess?

That's              not             a              great              analogy.

Try this: Using most battery chargers is like turning on a faucet and letting it

run with no shut off, except in this case the charger indiscriminately

continues to pour electricity into a battery because most battery chargers

have no controls, no indication they're working, when they're through

working or what the heck they've done. There are some very notable

exceptions. Each has its own merits. It's up to you to decide which is best

for you. Take heart -- there are only a couple real options.

Things to Consider:

For those of you who want to know and/or control what is happening with

your batteries, there are only two real choices: the La Crosse Technology

BC-9009 AlphaPower Battery Charger and the Powerex WizardOne aa/aaa

NiMH                         Battery                       Charger-Analyzer.

Both the La Crosse BC-900 and the Maha C-9000 are outstanding

charger/analyzers that give you detailed information and control over

charging your batteries. (They appear to leap frog each other's features

every several years.) They are capable of refreshing, renewing and

revitalizing your individual cells (you guessed it) - individually. You control

the settings for each cell separately. Both units have an LCD display by

which you can program each cell's charge / discharge and which gives you

all the information and the control you need: charge, discharge, refresh,

test. Automatic cut-off (delta v) when fully charged and a trickle charge

thereafter for as long as you keep the battery in the charger. About the only

way to improve these units would be to plug them into your computer's

USB      port   and     control    them     with    fine-tuning    software!

Kodak, Panasonic, Sony or Sanyo might want to jump in with their own

analyzers/chargers just to offer up some friendly competition and educate

the public.

      Do I have preference? Which one would I buy? I just bought the La

Crosse BC-900. It's almost half the size of the Maha C-9000 and has far

less buttons to push for what I want to do. You may have other needs or

wants. Actually, it also has more options than what I need. Something like

the Sony BCG-34HRMF4 Battery Charger with LCD Display and 4 AA Ni-

MH Rechargeable Batteries really appeals to me for its simplicity but I wish

it had more options or at least more readouts. Something in between would

be right for me. But for now, I opt for more options than less and make the

La             Crosse              BC-900              my          choice.

We Recommend:

Other Battery Chargers

1.) La Crosse Technology BC-700 Alpha Power Battery Charger

La Crosse also markets the BC-700, a less powerful version of the BC-900,

for maybe, what, five dollars less, so I figure why bother.

2.) Powerex C204 Battery Charger w/4 2700 mAh Batteries

Maha also makes the C204W which has no readouts but is a marvelous

device which had no rival when introduced around 2001. It was eclipsed by

and costs about the same as the BC-900.

3.) Sony Quick Battery Charger with 4 AA Ni-MH Rechargeable


This simple Sony unit charges each cell separately -- very notable in such a

compact unit. No cords -- plugs right into an outlet. Has a little light that lets

you know all the cells are charged. As compact as it gets. Hard to beat at

this price.

4.) SANYO eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargeable


Sanyo eneloops appear to be the leaders and some speculate other

companies re-brand their product -- probably not far from the mark.

5.) Rayovac Rechargeable Hybrid NiMH Batteries, AA-size, 4-count

Carded Pack (Pack of 2)

Another good choice. May be more difficult to find outside Amazon?

                             [Power Strips]

Electronic devices may suck power like a vampire sucks blood, but there

are also a number of gadgets on the market designed to help cut down on

unnecessary power loss. The Kill A Watt digital wattage reader from P3

International allows you to check how much power your electronic devices

are consuming.

      Vampire appliances are pretty much any that you can plug in that

still suck energy when supposedly turned off. Some are pretty obvious –

the clocks on your microwave or VCR/DVD player burn all day, everyday.

We know they’re not “off” because we cans see their LEDs glow. But other

electronics, from your television to your cell phone charger, also draw

power when they’re plugged in but not in use. Check out a handy graph

from Good Magazine. Some gadgets are notorious, like your plasma TV.

Estimates claim that 5% or more of U.S. energy usage is insidiously wasted

by “stand-by mode” or certain misleading “off” buttons. A whopping 5% may

not sound like much, but it adds up to about $1 Billion dollars per year –

and      energy       prices      will     likely continue     to      rise.

Be honest – how many times would you go around the house unplugging

everything before it got old? Smart greenies have been switching off their

surge protectors, but it’s easy to forget while watching your favorite late-

night TV show or blogging at 4am. So what can we do about these metal-

toothed Draculas in our midst? How about a surge protector that turns off

all your appliances for you?

      Picture any appliance that displays a clock while otherwise idle, such

as a microwave oven, coffee maker or DVD player. They constantly

consume little bits of energy.

      Ditto for things that charge, such as cell phones, PDAs, toothbrushes

or portable tools, some of which trickle a charge even after the device that's

charging is at capacity.

      Some chargers halt the flow of current when it isn't needed, which

should happen automatically with chargers for lithium-ion batteries

We recommend:

      Smart Power Strips are

easy to use: One “master”

outlet on the strip controls six

other “slave” outlets. When the power usage of the master outlet decreases

(by a large enough amount), it automatically turns off the slave outlets. If

you plug your “master electronic” like a TV or computer into the master

outlet, all your periphery appliances – printers, speakers, Playstation, etc. –

are automatically turned off. Oh wait, you have a Tivo and you don’t

want all of your peripheries to turn off? No worries, the Smart Power

Strip has three “constant” outlets that behave like normal plugs so you

won’t miss your favorite shows. And of course, when you turn the “master”

back on, the “slaves” will buzz to life as well. So instead of housing a legion

of thirsty vampires, you can sleep soundly with a gadget that puts your

electronics on a low-energy diet.

This is not the first or only such gadget on the market. Your choices range

from super-smart peripherals to wall monitors to watt-counting surge

protectors. You can even use a low cost, old-fashioned timer. For

your energy efficient computer needs, you can download power-saving

freeware. These applications extend beyond home use too; businesses are

jumping on the band wagon to reduce their energy costs and boost the

bottom line. These steps could provide big savings for offices with lots of

computers and copy machines.

Smart power strips are designed to differentiate between primary devices

like computers and HDTVs, and secondary devices like printers, scanners,

DVD players, and video game systems. Why is it important to differentiate?

Because when a smart power strip senses that a primary device has been

turned off, it automatically cuts power to all of the vampirical accessory

electronics that are connected to it. After all, there’s no reason why you

should let your printer and speakers feed voraciously off the power grid if

your PC is turned off.

Things to Consider:

To verify that the chargers for your electronic devices like cell phones and

personal digital assistants consume when they are not being used, perform

this simple test. Touch your AC to DC transformer. If the wall wart is warm

while plugged in even while your powered device is unattached, the

transformer is eating power. The Environmental Protection Agency

estimates that these so called vampire devices consume the output of 17

coal-fired power plants annually. You can do your bit to save energy by

simply plugging transformers and remote control activated devices into a

power strip which you turn off when not in use.

 Chapter 10 – Shower Heads and Toilets

                       For Saving Water
[This topic is already covered in the bathroom section. Integrate data from

earlier chapter into this chapter or Delete this chapter entirely?]

All efficient shower heads are environmentally friendly and use water

efficiently, but they also give a truly terrific shower. This saves you money

in two ways. First, it cuts down on your water bill. Second, it cuts down on

your gas or electric bill, because you won't have to use as much hot water.

If you're replacing an old shower head that doesn't conserve water, a new

one will often pay for itself in a matter of months.

Showerheads are measured by flow—the number of gallons they deliver

per minute (gpm). Flow is affected by water pressure, measured in pounds

per square inch (psi). The greater the pressure pushing water through

pipes and shower heads, the greater the volume of water forced out.

       Water pressure on the high side—80 psi, for example—will push a

greater amount of water through a showerhead than low water pressure,

say 20 psi. This same principle is in effect when you don't turn on the water

full blast. Water pressure varies from community to community and even

from                      house                       to                     house.

A few years ago, showerheads delivered about 5 to 8 gallons per minute

(gpm) at 80 psi. The current standard for low-flow heads is 2.5 gpm at 80

psi.      Some         showerheads          deliver        only      1.6       gpm.

It's easy to judge your present showerhead's flow rate. Just hold a gallon

container under the head and clock the time it takes to fill it. If it fills up in

15 seconds, the flow rate is about 4 gpm. If it's full in 10 seconds, the flow

rate is closer to 6 gpm. With a low-flow head, it should take 24 seconds or


        A quality showerhead will feel good at both high and low water

pressures. Some have flow restrictors that can be reversed or removed to

allow more water through on low-pressure lines, allowing you to achieve

the     right   amount   of   water   flow   for   your   water    pressure.

Others have restrictors that work automatically. For example, Teledyne

Water Pik offers one highly rated "Shower Massage" showerhead that

automatically senses the available water pressure and adjusts to deliver

2.5 gpm.

We recommend:

Water saving shower heads are shower heads designed to

decrease water usage. There are a number of reasons to choose a shower

head which uses water efficiently, including a desire to save money

on water bills, or a need to comply with localized water usage restrictions.

Many hardware stores sell water saving shower heads, and it is also

possible to order them directly through various manufacturers.

      Some          people        are     under       the     impression      that

a water saving showerhead delivers a meager trickle of water which is

barely sufficient for washing. While severely restricting the amount

of water which      can    flow    through    a shower head    is   one    method

for saving water,         there     are      better    techniques     to     use.

Some water saving shower heads are so well-designed that people may

not notice the difference between them and conventional shower heads.

One way to save water is to increase the water pressure. The weaker the

pressure, the more water is needed. Many water saving shower heads are

designed in a way that increases water pressure, requiring less water to

bathe. Other water saving shower heads are designed to turn themselves

on and off, encouraging people to use water to get wet and leave the water

off while they lather up. Water saving shower heads with manual switches

that allow people to keep their hot and cold water settings while turning

the water off are also available.

        There are also some creative ways that a shower head can be used

to encourage people to conserve water. Some shower heads are on timers

which turn the water off and leave it off after a set period of time, say - five

minutes. Others may have light displays which indicate how much water is

being    used,   encouraging        people     to shower quickly   and   efficiently.

Programmable settings which can be used to adjust the rate and intensity

of    the water flow   can   also    be      found   in water saving shower heads.

It's hard to know how well a shower head will work until you experience it in

action. Alas, most hardware stores do not have a line of shower stalls

with water saving shower heads installed so that people can can try them

all out. One way to test water-saving shower heads is to take note

of shower heads at hotels. Most hotels use water saving plumbing to save

money, and if you think that a hotel has a particularly good shower head,

don't be afraid to ask about the make and model. You may also ask friends

if they have a water saving shower head that you can test before springing

for one, yourself.

       The Waterpik RPB-173 Drenching

Rain Fall Showerhead with Adjustable

Arm,    features     a   handsome   modern

chrome design. With a large four-inch

face, the showerhead will give you a full-

body rain fall that will have you relaxed

and thoroughly cleansed. And thanks to

OptiFLOW technology, you get up to 30 percent more spray force, giving

you good water pressure while saving water.

Waterpik makes a brushed nickel version of this showerhead, model # RPB

179. I know, because I purchased 2 yesterday that I stumbled upon at

HomeGoods for $19.99 each. Oddly, even Google can't, as of this date,

find the RPB 179 - perhaps it's a brand new version? Anyway, it's the same

as RPB 173 except the finish is sleek brushed nickel and the face is putty-

colored rather than black.


The toilet. The commode. The john. The loo. The porcelain throne. No

matter what you call it, it is inevitable that we come to discuss this device,

because every home has at least one. But more importantly, we'll discuss

the toilet because it is a technological marvel -- a fascinating water-

handling system!

How sad, then, that we hold so many bad connotations of it in our minds.

There are the things we do on a toilet, the germs we associate with it, the

images we have from public restrooms, the fact that we have to clean it --

all of these details leave the toilet a somewhat ... tainted apparatus.

      Toilets use the most water in our homes. Every day, Americans flush

4.8 billion gallons of water down the toilet. Reducing the amount of water

that your toilet is flushing will go a long way to saving water in your home

and general conservation. With one easy adjustment, you'll save money,

water and the environment… one flush at a time.

      It is true -- many cities have conducted a massive drive to replace

older toilets with new water-saving models. Here's why...

      A family of four can consume something like 300 to 400 gallons of

water per day on things like bathing, cooking, drinking, laundry and dish

washing. Old toilets use about 5 gallons (20 liters) per flush. When you

consider that a normal person flushes a toilet seven or so times a day, you

can see that a family of four consumes more than 140 gallons per day by

flushing alone. Depending on who you ask, the water consumption of toilets

represents between 30 percent to 50 percent of the water consumed by a

household each day.

      The new toilets installed in your apartment use 1.6 gallons (6 liters)

per flush. If you replace those 5-gallon-per-flush toilets with 1.6-gallon-per-

flush toilets, you save a huge amount of water -- something like 100 gallons

per day per household. For a city, a big reduction like that means that you

can delay the construction of new reservoirs and new sewage treatment

plants. That's a huge incentive to replace all the toilets!

Things to Consider:

      If you take off the tank cover and peer inside, you will see all of these

parts. They might look slightly different in your particular toilet, but they are

all there in one form or another. The three main systems that work together


   1.) The bowl siphon

             Let's say that you somehow

       disconnected the tank, and all you

       had in your bathroom was the bowl.

       You would still have a toilet. Even

       though it has no moving parts, the bowl solves all of the problems a

       toilet needs to solve. The crucial mechanism that is molded into the

       bowl is called the bowl siphon, shown in the picture.

             You can understand how the siphon works by trying two

       experiments with your toilet. First, take a cup of water and pour it into

       the bowl. You will find that practically nothing happens. What's even

      more interesting is that you can pour 25 cups (6 L) of water into a

      toilet, one at a time, and still, nothing will happen. That is, no matter

      how many cups of water you pour in, the level of the water in the bowl

      never rises. You can see in the figure why this is the case. When you

      pour the cup of water in, the water level in the bowl rises, but the

      extra water immediately spills over the edge of the siphon tube and

      drains away.

            Now, take a bucket of water -- approximately 2 gallons (7.6 L) --

      and pour it into the bowl. You will find that pouring in this much water

      causes the bowl to flush. That is, almost all of the water is sucked out

      of the bowl, and the bowl makes the recognizable "flush" sound as

      the water escapes down the pipe. What's happened is this: You've

      poured enough water into the bowl fast enough to fill the siphon tube.

      And once the tube was filled, the rest was automatic. The siphon

      sucked the water out of the bowl and down the sewer pipe. As soon

      as the bowl emptied, air entered the siphon tube, producing that

      distinctive gurgling sound and stopping the siphoning process.

            You can see that, even if someone were to cut off the water to

      your bathroom, you could still flush the toilet. All you need is a bucket

      containing a couple of gallons of water.

The flush mechanism

The purpose of the tank is to act like the bucket of water described in the

previous section. You have to get enough water into the bowl fast enough

to activate the siphon. If you tried to do that using a normal house water

pipe, water wouldn't come in fast enough -- the siphon would never start.

So the tank acts as a capacitor. It holds several gallons of water, which it

needs mybe 30 to 60 seconds to accumulate. When you flush, all of the

water in the tank is dumped into the bowl in about three seconds -- the

equivalent of pouring in a bucket of water.

            There is a chain attached to the handle on the side of the

      tank. When you push on the handle, it pulls the chain, which is

      connected to the flush valve. The chain lifts the flush valve, which

      then floats out of the way, revealing a 2- to 3-inch (5.08- to 7.62-cm)

      diameter drain hole. Uncovering this hole allows the water to enter

      the bowl. In most toilets, the bowl has been molded so that the

      water enters the rim, and some of it drains out through holes in the

      rim. A good portion of the water flows down to a larger hole at the

      bottom of the bowl. This hole is known as the siphon jet. It releases

      most of the water directly into the siphon tube. Because all of the

      water in the bowl enters the tank in about three seconds, it is

      enough to fill and activate the siphon effect, and all of the water and

      waste in the bowl is sucked out.

The refill mechanism

So the bowl will flush as long as we dump enough water into it to activate

the siphon. And the purpose of the tank and the flush valve is to hold and

then dump about 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water very quickly into the bowl. Once

the tank has emptied, the flush valve re-situates itself in the bottom of the

tank, covering the drain hole so the tank can be refilled. It is the job of the

refill mechanism to fill the tank back up with enough water to start the

whole process again.

            The refill mechanism has a valve that turns the water on and

      off. The valve turns the water on when the filler float (or ball float)

      falls. The float falls when the water level in the tank drops. The filler

      valve (or refill valve) sends water in two directions.

We recommend:

      Kohler and Sterling, offer an extensive selection of water-saving

toilets that continually exceed performance and design expectations.

      Installing a 1.28-gallon High-Efficiency Toilet

(HET) saves up to 16,500 gallons of water each

year over less efficient toilets found in more than

half the homes in the US. To meet the needs of any

home, KOHLER HETs are available with Class Five®, Class Six™,

Pressure Lite®, Power Lite® or Dual Flush technology, while STERLING

HETs feature Dual Force®.








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