16th Sep2010

Do you know who the Southeast Dallas community coordinator is??

by dhna

Mr. Corey Morgan resolves community issues such as informing of city ordinances, issues between the resident and City of Dallas.

If you live in Southeast Dallas/Fair-park area. Contact information: 214-671-8913.

To report a code violation: Contact Ms. Marilyn Ford @ 214-670-1955

08th Jun2010

Handy Hint: Avoiding Hot Water Blues

by dhna

If there was a constant in my years working at Sears, it was water heaters. There were always prospective customers that came around for price quotes, technical-oriented customers who wanted to compare new water heaters to theirs at home, customers that came in for warranties or replacement, and those that wanted advice and diagnostic analyses of their water heaters in disarray. Of course these latter ones were the most difficult to deal with because they wanted professional advice, but I wasn’t a licensed plumber—I wasn’t even at their home to diagnose possible problems. However, the loss of a water heater at home is a major discomfort financially, physically, and emotionally, and no! I don’t bring this up to reminisce about my days in home consulting sales but to offer some practical advice about extending the life and efficiency of this useful apparatus, the water heater.

[The information below is from the U.S Department of Energy’s website on energy efficiency and renewable energy: http://www.eere.energy.gov/]

To lower your water heating bills, try one or more of these energy-saving strategies:

•      Reduce your hot water use

•      Lower your water heating temperature

•      Insulate your water heater tank

•      Insulate hot water pipes

•      Install heat traps on a water heater tank

•      Install a timer and use off-peak power for an electric water heater

•      Install a drain-water heat recovery system.

Draining the system once a years is also a proactive step in removing sediment from the system. Here are the steps to drain the system.

1. Turn off electricity and water to the water heater; allow heater to cool.

2. Drain water from the heater’s tank using a garden hose and pump.

3. Catch drained water in a bucket for inspection.

4. If water is filled with sediment, refill heater, and drain again.

5. Continue to fill and drain heater as often as necessary until the water runs clear.

6. Disconnect the hose and pump.

7. Turn on the electricity and water to the water heater.

These simple steps will keep the system lean and mean to better serve your household.

Jaime Peña, bcCORPS Coordinator & Contributing Writer

29th Mar2010

Handy Hint: Ceiling Fans

by dhna

Ceiling fans are fixtures that can impact the look and coolness of a room. A ceiling fan can keep you cool and provide most of the lighting in a room. To replace an existing light fixture with a fan is a simple task, since the wiring is already in place. But you can’t just hang the fan from the existing electrical box because it is not strong enough to support the added weight and vibration of a fan. Ceiling fan blade spans range from 29 to 54 inches – the most popular being the 52-inch model. To determine which size you need, I found a chart to help you choose the right fan for your space.

Room Dimensions Suggested Fan Size
Up to 75 ft. sq. 29 – 36 in.
76-144 ft. sq. 36 – 42 in.
144-225 ft. sq. 44 – 50 in.
225-400 ft. sq. 52 – 54 in.

* American Lighting Association

If you don’t have access to the ceiling fan from above, you must either use a rated hanger and box to mount the fan between joists, or screw a “pancake” box directly to a ceiling joist. If the joist is not located in the center of the room, a special ceiling fan mounting bracket with spiked ends should be installed between joists. Remember that ceiling fans can weigh as much as 50 pounds!

If you’re not in the room, turn ceiling fans off. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Turn off the ceiling fan to save energy. Also, remember to adjust your thermostat when using your ceiling fan. This can save a considerable amount of money per year on utility bills.

Jaime Peña, bcCORPS Coordinator & Contributing Writer

03rd Mar2010

Handy Hint: A Bright Idea

by dhna

CFL bulbs were recently installed in The Belay House in Dolphin Heights. Photo by Luis Gonzalez

More than a hundred years ago man invented the light bulb, lighting up the world. More recently, an energy efficient light bulb, known as a CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) was invented to replace the original. You have probably seen them—the swirly light bulbs? These integrated, spiral CFL bulbs have slightly reduced efficiency compared to tubular fluorescent lamps (due to the excessively thick layer of phosphor on the lower side of the twist), but although they are popular, I prefer the tubular ones.

Here’s the skinny: the average rated life of a CFL is between 8 and 15 times longer than that of an incandescent bulb. CFLs typically have a rated lifespan ranging from 6,000 to 15,000 hours, whereas incandescent bulbs usually have a mere lifespan of 750 to 1,000 hours. Regarding functionality, incandescent lamps give the same amount of visible light, but CFLs use less power and have a longer rated life. In the United States, a CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but it can save over twenty-two dollars in electricity costs. Compare this to the amount spent intermittently changing regular light bulbs, and it becomes clear that investing in CFLs pays for itself. It’s a good idea to wait some time—at least after winter—to change these bulbs. Compared to incandescent lamps, CFLs also reduce the load on the cooling system, resulting in two concurrent savings in electrical power. However, overall energy savings depend on the climate since increased heating demand offsets some of the lighting.

Worried about color or lighting irregularities inside your home? CFLs are available in a wide variety of shades of white light, ranging from yellow to blue, which allow you to customize the mood of your space. Many CFLs come in “warm” colors to match the yellow light of incandescent bulbs, but you can also choose “cooler” colors with whiter hues.

Jaime Peña, bcCORPS Coordinator & Contributing Writer

03rd Mar2010

Handy Hint: Faucet Aerator

by dhna

An aerator is often found at the tip of most indoor water faucets, and it’s also a simple way of saving on your water bill. Without an aerator, water usually flows out of a faucet as one big, wasteful stream. An aerator spreads this stream into many little droplets, which helps reduce your water and heating bills. It also prevents water from splashing around which saves you time. Aerators are also available for bathroom shower heads and bathroom faucets. Stop throwing your hard earned dollars down the sink. Save that money to load up on fajitas or steaks. No need to search for specialty plumbing shops. To get aerators go down to your local hardware store. Aerators are inexpensive, with some costing under $5, and they are easy to install. Unscrew the current faucet aerator and screw the new one on.

Jaime Peña, bcCORPS Coordinator & Contributing Writer