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Articles filed under Dulley, James

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  • It often makes sense to use smaller, countertop cooking appliances Sep 2, 2012 4:59 AM
    Q. I prefer to use the kitchen range/oven for cooking, but heard using small countertop appliances is more efficient. Is this true and is there a simple way to determine which appliances are the best to use?

     
  • Mini-split systems will cool second-floor rooms Aug 5, 2012 5:07 AM
    Q. We added a room, but our central air conditioner doesn't cool it well. Our second floor master bedroom also does not stay cool. Does it make sense to install a window air conditioner or a mini-split system?

     
  • Rolling shutters work similiar to a roll-top desk Jun 3, 2012 5:00 AM
    Q. The sun bakes us through a large window. We also have a fireplace for heating in that room. Would installing a rolling shutter save energy and improve comfort? I am also concerned about security and storms.

     
  • $ensible home: Tips on choosing a skylight May 6, 2012 5:30 AM
    Q. I want to reduce my electric bills especially with the upcoming summers air-conditioning costs. I thought about installing a skylight or tubular skylight so I need fewer lights. Which would be best?

     
  • $ensible home: Wood not a good insulator Apr 8, 2012 5:20 AM
    Q: My wood front door needs to be refinished again. When I put my hand on it, it feels cold and I think I can feel a chilly breeze around it. Would a stainable fiberglass door be a good replacement for it?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Air inside homes can get stale Mar 4, 2012 6:18 AM
    Q. The indoor air gets stale and too dry or too humid during winter and summer when we heat or air-condition. Is there any efficient way to get fresh air indoors without opening windows and wasting energy?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Open-front fireplaces are not efficient Jan 8, 2012 12:00 AM
    Q. I always buy firewood to use in my open fireplace. I burn it just for ambience, not really for heat. I thought about using fireplace logs instead. Are they as efficient and as good for the environment?

     
  • The Sensible Home: New refrigerators are more efficient Dec 4, 2011 12:30 AM
    Q. Our refrigerator is pretty old and I would like to get a new, more efficient one. We are empty-nesters now, so I am wondering if it makes sense to get a smaller one, but perhaps one with more features?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Options to improve window efficiency Nov 6, 2011 1:30 AM
    Q. I cannot afford to install new windows, but I need to do something to reduce heat loss and improve our comfort. Will installing insulated window shades accomplish this and which are best?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Backup electric power options Oct 2, 2011 12:30 AM
    Q. We had two electric power outages from storms lately. It was very inconvenient, so I find some type of backup electric power. What are my options which are not extremely expensive to purchase and install?

     
  • The Sensible Home: How to update bathroom lighting Sep 4, 2011 11:34 PM
    Q. The existing lighting in our bathrooms is not adequate. I am going to remodel the master and the children’s bathrooms myself. What type of efficient lighting do you recommend for both bathroom projects?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Select air conditioner carefully Jul 3, 2011 12:30 AM
    Q. My central air conditioner is 16 years old, noisy, and probably inefficient. I want to replace it with a quiet, efficient model. What are the best ones available for 2011 and which provide the best comfort?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Using electric or cordless tools makes sense Jun 12, 2011 8:43 AM
    Q. I want to use more cordless and electric tools, especially yard tools, instead of gasoline ones. Will they increase my electric bills much and which rechargeable batteries are best for the cordless ones?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Keep your air conditioner running efficiently May 8, 2011 12:00 AM
    Q: With recent concern about nuclear power plants, I want my central air conditioner to run efficiently to save electricity. Other than a professional service call, what can I do to tune it up myself?

     
  • The Sensible Home: Whole-house surge suppressors offer some protection Apr 2, 2011 5:00 AM
    Q. We have many electronic gadgets in our house and I am concerned about a voltage surge ruining them. Are there whole-house surge suppressors which will protect everything electric in our house?

     
  • Do-it-yourself solar water heating best done passively Mar 3, 2011 2:00 PM
    Q. We have two teenage daughters who take long showers. Our water heating costs are probably very high. We are on a tight budget, but I want to use some solar water heating. Is there a system I can make myself?

     
  • High-efficiency furnaces forgo traditional chimney Feb 4, 2011 1:00 AM
    The cost to repair a chimney is often greater than the cost to upgrade from a new medium-efficient to a super-efficient gas furnace, says Sensible Home columnist James Dulley.

     
  • Storm windows a wise choice, not a panacea Dec 1, 2010 11:33 PM
    I am considering installing exterior storm windows, but they are expensive. If they will improve energy efficiency very much, I may try to make some myself. What is a good simple window design for me?

     
  • Be cautious when planning for outdoor security lighting Nov 4, 2010 11:14 AM
    Q. I am interested in adding some outdoor security lighting at my home. I want to do it in the most efficient manner and I don’t want to add significantly to night light pollution. What do you recommend? A.Before you consider adding outdoor lighting, first make other security improvements to your home. These security improvements include making sure your window latches lock securely, installing new bump-resistance door deadbolts and installing a monitored alarm system. Even with adequate outdoor lighting at your home, if a thief can get a door or window open in less than a minute, the lighting likely will not deter them. Imagine if you saw a person at a front door and they could open it in 30 seconds, you would just assume they had a key and belonged there. Once you have made the security improvements and you feel the perimeter your home is relatively secure, start to plan your security lighting. Do an outdoor walk-around inspection of your house at night to see where some security lighting might be required. Often there is enough brightness from a neighbor’s outdoor lighting to make a suspect area at your home safe. Since outdoor lighting uses a tremendous amount of electricity, prioritize the areas where you think lighting might be needed. Installing just two 150-watt security lights and keeping them on all night can increase your electric bills by more than $100 per year. When you include light fixture, installation and bulb replacement expenses, the overall cost is substantial. It is important to use the fewest and least brightness needed to minimize nighttime light pollution. Bright lights create a problem for wildlife and can be annoying to neighbors. There is an excessively bright floodlight at a doctor’s office 300 yards from my house which shines in my bedroom window. If you install a floodlight, mount a directional light shield over it. Wherever there is access to the sun, install solar-powered motion-sensing floodlights. These operate for free and you can install them yourself. If the light senses someone and comes on, they assume you heard them and turned on a the light. A light coming on is also more effective at catching a neighbor’s attention when you are not home. If you install standard 120-volt lighting, use efficient CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights) wherever possible. These use only one-quarter as much electricity as standard incandescent bulbs and last many times longer. Another super-efficient option is using LED (light emitting diode) outdoor lighting. Its light output is limited and it is directional so it is best to light a specific door or dark spot. To light a larger area, LPS (low-pressure sodium) fixtures are very efficient. The light quality is monochromatic (yellowish) and the fixture itself is fairly expensive. The following companies offer efficient outdoor lighting: Energy Focus, (800) 327-7877, www.energyfocusinc.com; Hadco, (800) 331-4185, www.hadcolighting.com; Idaho Wood, (800) 635-1100, www.idahowood.com; Kim Lighting, (626) 968-5666, www.kimlighting.com: and Wave Lighting, (877) 870-9283, www.wavelightingusa.com. Q. Since the end of summer, there has been a musty odor coming from the air registers. I have not used the furnace yet. Last fall, the odor went away on its own. What is causing this and how can I fix it? A. The fact that you also noticed the odor last year and it went away in the fall indicates the drip pan under the air conditioner coils is the source. The drain hole is partially clogged allowing mildew to grow. Next time you have your furnace or air conditioner serviced, mention this odor. The technician will make sure the drain hole is fully open. Also clean off the drain pan with bleach to kill any mold spores. • Write to James Dulley at 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit dulley.com.

     
  • Geothermal heat pump is the most efficient system available Jan 31, 2011 6:23 PM
    My house needs a new heating and cooling system. I thought about installing a geothermal heat pump for its efficiency and the tax credit. How efficient is one and what features should I look for?

     
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