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Take Your Home’s Temperature

Take Your Home’s Temperature

Denton Municipal Electric (DME) takes a whole house approach when it comes to making your home more energy efficient. With the free Thermal Imaging Audits, you can find your home efficiencies and difficiencies. We view the home as an energy system with interdependent parts working together to achieve maximum efficiency. You can have the most energy efficient air conditioning system on the market, but that efficiency can be lost if your home’s ducts, walls, attic, windows and doors are not properly sealed and insulated.

This complimentary energy audit, for DME customers, pinpoints specific areas in the home that can waste energy including the attic, ducts, HVAC systems, lighting, and air leaks. A certified energy auditor will identify areas of inefficiency in your home by using tools to measure your home’s air tightness, detect thermal flaws and, if necessary, measure air leakage in the duct system.

Blower Door Test
A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of your home’s exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The energy auditor uses a smoke pencil to detect air leaks, and these tests determine the air infiltration rate of a home.

Thermal Imaging
The energy auditor also uses a thermal imaging camera, in conjunction with a blower door test, to quickly identify thermal flaws in your home’s shell, such as improper wall insulation, open areas in the attic that may disturb loose fill insulation, uncontrolled air infiltration through windows, doors, ducts, and both plumbing and electrical holes.

Optional Duct Blaster Test
Duct blasting combines a small fan and a pressure gauge to pressurize your home’s duct system and accurately measure air leakage of the ductwork. Leaks in forced air duct systems are now recognized as a major source of energy waste, accounting for as much as 25 percent of total house energy loss, and in many cases has a greater impact on energy use than air infiltration through the building shell. A duct blaster test is administered at the discretion of the energy auditor and may require a separate visit to the home.

Sign up for an audit at www.cityofdenton.com/Home or by calling 940-349-7137.

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Denton’s Drinking Water

Denton’s Drinking Water

Quality You Can Taste

Denton Water Utilities takes water quality very seriously. Denton’s “superior” rating from the State of Texas and awards received for the Best Tasting Water in Texas are clear indications of their ability to deliver superior drinking water. Because of the high quality of Denton water, there are no health-based advantages to purchasing expensive bottled water, filtration systems, or any other point-of-use devices.

Denton uses surface water from Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Roberts for its water supply. Drinking water, both tap and bottled, can come from a variety of sources including rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and springs. As water travels over the land’s surface or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and radioactive material and can be polluted by animal or human activity.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.  Contaminants may be found in drinking water that can cause taste, color, or odor problems. Note that these types of problems are not necessarily causes for health concerns.

It is definitely more responsible, as well as cheaper and easier, to keep contaminants out of our lakes than it is to remove them once they get in. Excessive and/or improper use of pesticides/herbicides, improper disposal of used oil and antifreeze, and littering are just a few activities that can lead to pollution in our drinking water supply.

Additionally the drought conditions in the last few years are re-schooling us on how precious our water is.  Hopefully, late summer and fall rains will help with quantity and we can help the highly skilled Denton Water Utilities group with content.  We can all do our part to stop pollution. We have great water….let’s keep it that way.

Information collected by the current watershed/source water monitoring program, is being used to ensure that contaminants are minimized in order to protect area surface water resources. More information about source water assessment and protection can be found at www.epa.gov/safewater/protect or by calling Water Production at (940) 349-7525.

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Greener Cleaners

Greener Cleaners

Cleaning might be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be toxic, too. Safer products and practices are available and easy. Why not go green when you clean? There are health risks associated with many conventional cleaning products. How to pick a safer cleaner? First, find out what’s in your cleaning supplies.

If you want to know what ingredients are in your cleaning products, you probably won’t find them on the label. The government doesn’t require that cleaning products carry a list of ingredients, or even that products and ingredients are tested for health and safety. Use Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (ewg.org) to see what’s in your cleaners and to find safer alternatives.

Once you know the ingredients, you should avoid these seven:
•    2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether)
•  Alkylphenol ethoxylates
•    Dye
•    Ethanolamines (common ones to look out for are: mono-,
di-, and tri-ethanolamine)
•    Fragrance
•    Pine or citrus oil (on smoggy or high ozone days,
compounds in the oils can react with ozone in the air to
form the carcinogenic chemical formaldehyde)
•    Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC),
benzalkonium chloride, and didecyl dimethyl benzyl
ammonium chloride)

Dilute your cleaning supplies according to instructions and use only what’s needed. Clean with windows and doors open. Use gloves – cleaning chemicals may harm skin & eyes. Check warning labels. Children are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals. If they like to help, let them clean with soap and water, not toxic cleaners. Never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, or other acids. These combinations can produce deadly gases.

Buy certified green products. Label claims aren’t always true and try natural alternatives. Use a baking soda and water paste to clean the oven and toilet stains, and use a mechanical snake to unclog the drain.

If you choose to toss your old cleaners instead of using them up, drop them off at your local hazardous waste facility. Don’t pour cleaning supplies down the drain, some of the ingredients can harm wildlife as well as people.

Environmental Working Group is the nation’s most effective environmental health research and advocacy organization. For more information, www.ewg.org.

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How to Dispose of Electronics

How to Dispose of Electronics

According to the EPA, Americans throw out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers every day, making electronic waste one of the fastest growing components of landfill waste. And while that huge, old computer monitor may seem innocent enough, it’s packed with lead and other toxic chemicals, which isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for us too.

Perhaps you received or purchased a new electronic item for Christmas, replacing an older, less-advanced device. So what can you do when they’re no longer of use? Here are a few environmentally friendly options.

Safety First
Whether you’re offloading an old cell phone to a recycling service or selling a laptop to a friend, you need to wipe any and all electronic devices that store data. When it comes to your cell phone, you need to ensure that your account has been terminated. If you aren’t sure how to wipe an electronic device you may want to consult a professional or tech-savvy friend for advice.

Sell It
If your old devices still work, you could try selling them on eBay or Craigslist. There are also several services that are willing to pay cash for certain gadgets. Nextworth, Gazelle and ReCellular all offer such programs. Some will only buy devices that work, others will buy things that are broken. If you can’t find any takers for a device that still has some life left in it, you could try to find a new home for it on Freecycle.

Trade It In
Many electronic retailers and manufacturers are now offering trade-in programs for retired electronics. BestBuy, Target, RadioShack, Apple, and Sony, among other retailers, all offer this type of service. If you’re looking to replace a device, this might be an option worth considering.

Donate It
There are many charities, schools, and community centers that will happily accept working computers, printers, and other electronic devices. Others will take electronic devices in any condition to refurbish or recycle.

For devices that no longer work or that are undesirable recycling may be the only option. Consider using agencies such as Call2Recycle, Earth911, ECycling Center, Electronic Industries Alliance and GreenerGadgets.

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Ask The Energy Expert

There is an odd smell coming from my vents. What should I do?

A variety of causes could be to blame for unusual smells in your home. If you suspect gas or another potentially dangerous substance is the source of the smell, contact an appropriate professional immediately.  Leaky duct systems are sometimes the reason for odd smells in a home. If the ducts that carry conditioned air through your attic or crawlspace and into your home have leaks in them, then bad smells from those areas can infiltrate your living space. Aside from odor, these leaks can be a major source of energy waste since the ducts are leaking conditioned air into unconditioned spaces.

The best way to determine whether or not you have a duct leak is to have a duct test performed. DME offers free duct testing through the Energy Audit program. There are two methods to perform duct testing. One is a Duct Blaster – using a specially designed machine to help
measure how much air is lost throughout the duct system. The second is a Pressure Pan – a tool used during an energy audit to identify where in the duct system you have a leak.

DME offers a home energy audit free of charge to our customers. This complimentary energy audit pinpoints specific areas in the home that can waste energy including the attic, ducts, HVAC systems, lighting, and air leaks. A certified energy auditor will identify areas of inefficiency in your home by using tools to measure your home’s air tightness, detect thermal flaws and, if necessary, measure air leakage in the duct system.

To schedule a free energy audit or ask questions related to home energy efficiency, please call 940-349-7137 or visit dmepower.com.

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Ask The Energy Expert

Ask The Energy Expert

I was on vacation for two weeks last month, why is my utility bill still so high?

This is a hard question to answer.  Since your utility’s personnel rely on the meters to record your energy consumption, it is difficult to identify what in your home is consuming the energy.  There are a number of reasons why your utility bill is higher than you expected.  Figuring out what those reasons are can be easy if you know how to read your meter accurately.  Taking periodic readings will help you track your energy consumption and enable you to identify when your personal “peak” usage may be occurring and, what appliances may use more or less electricity than you might believe.  Whether you take readings daily, weekly, or monthly – it should be done consistently at the same time each day, or same day of the week, or date of the month.  Keep track of the kilowatt hours, more commonly expressed on your utility bill as “kWh” usage, to compare it to your previous consumption history to determine how it fluctuates depending upon what appliances you use and when you use them.

Most meters are digital now but, if you still have an analog meter; here is how to read it:
The meter runs much like the odometer of your car.  Start with the first dial on the right and write down the last number passed by each dial pointer.  Remember that some dials turn clockwise and others counterclockwise.   Subtract your previous meter reading (or the reading from your last utility bill) from this reading.  This will show how many kilowatt hours of electricity you have used since the last reading.

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