Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 1/13/2013

Ceiling fans are an inexpensive way to help with the heating and cooling of your home. You can find many that cost under $100 and they have little ongoing cost. And for those of you who like DIY projects, this one will take you a couple of hours to upgrade an existing light fixture. While ceiling fans donít drastically lower the temperature in a room, they do help to reduce it slightly as well as produce a light breeze which makes you feel cooler. The result? Less use of the air conditioner that results in 3-8% savings on cooling costs. Remember that in the summer months, your fanís blades should be moving counter clockwise. In the winter months, ceiling fans can take on a whole new role. When you reverse the fanís blades to rotate clockwise, you cause the air to circulate without causing that chilly breeze. This allows for better circulation of the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. Itís often best to have the fan speed set to low in the winter to avoid too much air movement and the effects of a breeze. Lastly, and maybe the most important, is the decision on which fan to purchase. There are few things to keep in mind when you are out shopping for a ceiling fan. 1. The size of the room Ė ceiling fans come in all sizes and choosing one that is meant for your homeís room dimension is key. Itís recommended that you choose a 40-42 inch blade span for a room 70-100 sq feet and a 42-48 inch for 100-140 sq feet. A room thatís bigger may need two small fans to be effective. 2. The location of the installation Ė for rooms with lower ceilings, a flush mount ceiling fan will work best, while rooms with high ceilings will need a down rod so that the fan is in the right place. You also want to make sure for areas such as an enclosed porch, that you check out the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating to ensure the fan has either a damp or wet rating. 3. Finally, you want to pick a fan that fits your decor and life style. Fans come in all sorts of styles and can have features from various lighting to remote controls. Changing a current light fixture in your home to a ceiling fan can saving you hundreds over the life of the fan. Especially with Energy Star rated ceiling fans available, savings can add up quick.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/4/2012

Energy costs can really take a toll on our monthly bills. But you can take control of these costs with a few simple steps. And to help out, programs like Mass Save (Masssave.com) and www.energystar.gov will help homeowners save even more. Did you know that even when you turn off appliances, such as your TV, they still use energy? With all the electronics in your house, the energy use can really add up in a year. A quick easy way to control these costs is to get an advanced power strip, where there are multiple plugs for electronics that need to always be on (i.e. your cable box) and those that don't (i.e. you TV). The power strip will automatically turn off those electronics that are in the "don't keep on" sockets when the electronic in the "master" socket is turned off. Mass Save estimates that you can save $30 annually by using one of these on your entertainment system. Mass Save and Energy Star has a variety of other ways to save on energy from product savings (on things like light bulbs and power strips) to rebates for buying energy savings appliances. You can also get a free home energy assessment to help you get started on improving your home's energy savings. And if you are low income, there are programs to help you save on costs even more. Each state has it's own energy savings programs, so even if you aren't from Massachusetts, there are resources available to you. Be sure you contact your state's energy department to find out more about ways to save.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/28/2012

Did you know the average family spends over $1600 a year on utility bills alone?† †Here are some simple steps you can take to not only save energy but also put some money back in your pocket.

    Put your thermostat to work
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your air conditioner at 74 degrees and your furnace at 68 degrees. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a good idea. Set the thermostat to be warmer or colder when you are not home. Reduce the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the home to help save energy and money.
    Invest in energy-efficient appliances
You may notice now that washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and computers now come with Energy Star labels which mean they are energy efficient. †Energy Star appliances will save you money over older appliances.
    Unplug
Computers, stereos, toasters, and other appliances draw energy even when they are turned off. A large LCD or plasma TV consumes about 400 watts of energy when in use and 4 watts when not in use.† Using a surge protector will help reduce energy costs. Plug your appliances into a surge protector and turn off the protector when appliances are not in use.
    Seal it up
A well-insulated house is a way to save money on heat and cooling costs. First, start by adding insulation to the attic floor. Next, make sure to fill in any holes in exterior walls especially where pipes come in and around windows and doors. Lastly, wrap hot water pipes with insulation.
    Slow the flow
Install low-flow fixtures to conserve water on your shower, faucets and toilets. Also remember to repair leaky faucets and toilets and turn off the water when brushing your teeth and scrubbing dishes.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/25/2011

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68įF saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? ó Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.