Factors For Energy Efficiency When It Comes To Air Conditioning

How An Air Conditioning Unit Affects Your Energy Bill

Do you realize that during the summer months, your air-conditioning may be the most expensive thing that you use every day? Those that live in extremely hot climates, may use their air conditioning every day, throughout the day or nonstop. If an air-conditioning unit runs constantly, it will keep a home very cool, but it may be killing your energy bill. When it comes to air-conditioning, this is something that is necessary, for those who live where the weather can get very hot, but there are ways to lessen the impact on your energy bill. There are certain things to factor in when you purchase an air-conditioning unit, in order to make sure it’s efficient.

How To Make An AC Energy Efficient

If you’re going out to purchase a new AC unit, then you have the best possibility of getting an energy efficient one. An energy-efficient A/C unit will have an energy star on it, indicating that it will save energy, as well as money. Purchasing just any AC unit that you see in the store, can end up costing you big time, later on. You want to ask all the questions necessary, before making an AC unit purchase, especially if it will be cooling the entire home. You want to make sure that the AC is energy-efficient, it can automatically be shut off when a room is cool, and that it’s the right size for the home you have. Getting the wrong sized AC unit, means that it may run for a longer period of time, which can end up costing you more money, instead of saving you money.

You’ll want to work with your thermostat, in order to make an AC energy efficient. Keep your thermostat at 70°, which means that the home will never get warmer or cooler than 70°, any time of the year. You can keep your home cool, but your AC will not constantly run, which is what will drive your Reliant energy Dallas bills up. Whenever your A/C is running, if it’s an Energy Star labeled unit, then you can ensure that you are saving on the cost of AC usage. Also make sure that your windows and doors are closed and sealed, in order to keep out drafts, and to prevent using the AC too often.


Cross-Country Move: Tips for Shipping Your Stuff

Moving locally is easy. At least when you compare it to moving to another state or across the country. All you have to do for a local move is rent a truck, call up some friends, and haul your stuff across town.

A cross-country move, on the other hand, takes a whole lot of planning. It’s a logistical nightmare and can easily wreak havoc on your nerves. In addition to finding a new place to live (whether owning or renting) and vacating your old place, you must figure out how to get your stuff from point A to point B in the first place.

Cross-Country Move: Tips for Shipping Your Stuff

Below are a few of the best tips on shipping your stuff across country. Though they won’t make the moving process a walk in the park, they will help make it a whole lot easier and less stressful.

1. Start Early

The key to a successful cross-country move is to get started early. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your stuff and explore your shipping options. Beginning your moving plans a month or two in advance will give you the time needed to compare different shipping options for your household items. It will also greatly reduce the stress you feel as your moving deadline approaches.

2. Get Rid of Stuff

Do you really need to move every single item you have in your current home to your new one? Chances are that you don’t. Most people tend to accumulate a lot of “junk” and unneeded items over time. Spend the time to sort through all of your stuff before looking into your shipping options. Even getting rid of a minimal amount of stuff, can help big time with shipping costs.

You might also consider getting rid of anything you can easily replace at your new location. This is especially true the farther the distance of your move. Oftentimes, you can replace big furniture items for less than it costs to ship them. Consider donating unneeded furniture, clothing, and other household items to a thrift store like Salvation Army before taking it to the dump. Listing unneeded items for free on Craigslist is another handy option.

3. Fill Your Car

Once again, the less stuff you ship during your cross-country move, the better. So if you’re taking a car, pack it up with whatever you can. Fill up the truck and whatever seats aren’t going to be in use. This is also the ideal time to consider whether or not you want to rent and tow a trailer. Several moving companies have affordable trailer rentals. Depending on the circumstances of your move, it might be a good idea to use a rented travel trailer to move at least some of your stuff. It is an especially good idea to pack and ship your valuables yourself rather than trust them to a moving company.

4. Explore Your Shipping Options

Shipping is one of the best ways to transport your stuff across country when you’re moving. There are a ton of different options of companies out there to choose from. Better yet, some of these companies offer special deals and prices on moving particular types of items. For instance, prices for media related items like books, DVDs, CDs, and video games often go for far less, so make sure to look into this.

Cross-Country Move: Tips for Shipping Your Stuff

It is also worthwhile to look into shipping services that give you the option of packing and unpacking the shipping container yourself. These services are often far cheaper than services where your boxes are loaded and unloaded for you. You simply pack and load, the service does the driving, and then you unload and unpack. Self-pack moving services also give you the ability to pack and unpack at your own pace. You do not need to work off of a specific time schedule as much as you do with a regular shipping service.

5. Consider Independent Shipping

Independent shipping options are becoming more popular and more common as of late. One big reason for this is television shows such as “Shipping Wars” on A&E. Independent shippers are individuals or small companies that operate as independent carriers. Though many of them specialize in transporting items that traditional carriers cannot haul, it is an option worth looking into for standard household items. You might be able to score a lower price on shipping for your cross-country move than a more standard route.

6. Gather Your Own Packing Material

Buying material specifically for packing gets expensive. It is a much better idea to make the rounds at local grocery stores, paper stores, and big box stores to gather up boxes. Most have extra boxes lying around they are happy to give away from free. Additionally, wrapping fragile items in towels and linens is a much cheaper option than buying packing peanuts or bubble wrap.

Cross-Country Move: Tips for Shipping Your Stuff

7. Select the Best Time to Move

Moving companies offer cheaper rates at certain times of the year. For instance, most people want to move in the summer. To attract business during off-peak times, many companies that specialize in shipping for movers offer rates as much as 10% or more.

8. Keep Taxes in Mind

Are you moving for work related reasons? If so, then you might be eligible for certain tax benefits. Moving to within 50 miles or less of a new office means that you are likely eligible to deduct certain expenses from your taxes at the end of the year.

Final Thoughts on Shipping Across Country

What shipping your personal belongings across country all boils down to is getting started early. Start thinking about your move as soon as possible so you can make use of all the tips above. A little planning can net you huge savings on shipping rates at the end of the day. And when it comes to a service that can be as expensive as shipping, it pays off big time to cut down your moving expenses as much as possible.


Top Tech Products That Benefit Truckers

Truck driving is constantly changing. New advancements are always being made to the trucks themselves and drivers are constantly implementing new devices to make long days on the road easier and more cost effective. But no single aspect of trucking is changing as quickly as technology.

Top Tech Products That Benefit Truckers

It seems like there is always some new gadget or tech product that is picked up and used by truckers from coast to coast. Some of these are the obvious including smartphones and portable WiFi. Others are a bit more under the radar like on-board tools to boost fuel economy. What can’t be denied is that they are changing what goes on behind the wheel.

Below are a handful of the top tech products for truck drivers explained. These are the gadgets, devices, and applications that are changing the face of the trucking industry.

Top Tech Products That Benefit Truckers

1. Smartphone

Let’s start with the basics. Smartphones have changed the entire landscape of trucking. They make it far easier for truck drivers to get in contact with loves ones at home. They are also essential to have close at hand in emergency situations.

But the benefits of smartphones do not stop there. A whole slew of mobile applications make them even handier to have on the road. A few of the best mobile apps for truckers include:

  • Trucker App – Gives you GPS and allows you to alert people along your route.
  • Trucker Jobs App – The industries first recruiting app. Helps truckers find jobs.
  • Gas Buddy – Helps truckers locate the nearest and cheapest fuel stations.
  • Fuel Dawg – Similar to Gas Buddy, but specifically designed for diesel fuel users.
  • Skype – Lets you make free calls to any user worldwide. Allows video calls and calls to phone lines.
  • Co-Pilot Live Truck – Acts as a virtual co-pilot, giving voice-guided GPS navigation. Specialized for truck drivers providing legal routes based on vehicle size, vehicle weight, and load type.
  • FleetSafer Mobile – Blocks text messages, emails, and web browsing while driving. Responds to texts and emails with “I’m driving.”
  • Trucker Tools – Similar to Groupon, it allows you to find coupons from over 5,000 truck stops across the United States. Also helps find the lowest diesel prices and provides turn-by-turn GPS.
  • FatSecret Calorie Counter – Every truck driver knows how hard it is to eat right on the road. This app lets drivers look up nutrition info and track daily calories, fats, and carbs.

2. Durabook

Durabook is one of several mobile tablets designed specifically for those on the go. Designed by Gamma Tech, the Durabook is waterproof, shock-resistant, and durable all around. It sports a 10.1-inch LCD display and eight hours of battery life. Additional features including GPS, a bar-code scanner, and a credit card reader make it an even more useful tool for truckers. Many companies use the Durabook for fleet management.

3. ZoneGuard+

Eton has a long history as one of the best emergency supply companies around. Their new ZoneGuard+ features an AM/FM radio and alarm clock. It also comes with S.A.M.E. technology and NOAA weather alerts. It’s one of the best emergency weather radios for truck drivers. The screen angle and numerous mountain options make the ZoneGuard+ a great check for those that are on the road often.

4. RoadMate

The RoadMate Commercial 5370T-LMB GPS is becoming increasingly common in truck driving circles. It features a convenient small screen that is easily mountable. It is customized for truckers with a driving status log, multi-destination routing, state miles report, and Bluetooth. The gadget helps truck drivers stay better organized and plan their trips more effectively.

5. Garmin Fleet Management

Garmin is known far and wide for its GPS units. Only recently have they introduced a portable unit specifically designed for fleet management. The device, dubbed the Garmin Fleet 590, features a 5-inch touch screen, cable, antenna, and black box. Owners install the unit in their trucks to monitor their drivers while they’re on the road. The Garmin Fleet 590 also allows owners/truckers to monitor fuel efficiency and wear and tear.

6. Fuel Efficiency Tools

New technology constantly allows trucks to become more intelligent. In addition to fuel monitoring devices like the Garmin Fleet 590, numerous other products are hitting the market that take truck monitoring to all new levels.

Most of these devices monitor fuel consumption and act as road-speed governors. They limit the speed at which a truck can travel – in the U.S. this is most often right around 60 miles per hour – to reduce fuel consumption and increase safety. Some of them even help trucks shift at the right time and brake at the right time to further maximize fuel efficiency and minimize wear and tear.

The best fuel efficiency devices for truck drivers are also developed with safety in mind. The snazziest even include retinal observation to detect signs of driver fatigue.

7. Futuristic Trucks

The trucking industry is not only changing thanks to new devices and gadgets. The trucks themselves are also undergoing a major transformation.

Top Tech Products That Benefit Truckers

The trucks of today are a whole lot different than the trucks of just a decade ago. And they’re only set to continue evolving. New prototypes from several major companies feature high-tech dashboard consoles, centered driver’s seats, sliding doors, and more. Carbon fiber construction serves to maximize aerodynamics and reduce drag on the road. Many of the newest machines are also hybrid-powered. All of these things add up to highly fuel-efficient trucks that can serve customers more quickly, safely, and efficiently.

The Future of Truck Driving

The future of truck driving is already here. Every year a slew of new products, devices, and technologies hit the market that largely benefit truck drivers. Some of these things benefit the driver directly – smartphones, mobile applications, charging devices, and more. Others tend to benefit the company instead – fuel efficiency monitoring devices. It will be interesting to continue to watch the developments in trucking technology over the next several years.


Top Tips for DIY Towing

Most people don’t know that there is a right way and a wrong way to tow a trailer. And the right way is a little more complicated than it seems at first. Below are the top tips for towing a trailer like a pro.

Top Tips for DIY Towing

Know Your Tow Rating

You need to make sure your vehicle is capable of pulling the load you need to tow. Be mindful of your vehicle’s tow rating, gross combined weight rating (GCWR), tongue weight, and the weight of any passengers in the vehicle. All of these figures – except passenger weight – can be found in your owner’s manual.

Top Tips for DIY Towing

Use the Right Hitch

It is essential to use the right size hitch ball when towing a trailer. Even measurements that are off by 1/8 inch can spell disaster.

Top Tips for DIY Towing

Understand Trailer Braking

If you are hauling a heavy load, you need electronic breaks. Don’t invest in the cheaper options as these often don’t perform well. It’s best to spend a little extra money on great breaks and stay safe on the road.

Top Tips for DIY Towing

Be Smart on the Road

Driving with a trailer can be difficult. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room behind other vehicles. The additional weight of a trailer means that it takes longer to break. You should also later and sharper on corners (to square off the curve) so the trailer does not clip curbs or other cars.

Towing a trailer behind your car looks easier than it is. But the four top tips above will help you do it just as easy as it looks. With the right equipment and an understanding of the towing process, you’ll be able to pull your trailer from point A to point B without cause to worry.


Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Sure, it’s expensive, but hiring a professional auto carrier to ship your car is a fast, convenient, and reliable way to get it across country. These services are most often used when people relocate, move a car out of storage, or buy a new vehicle from someone at a long distance. Below are a few of the top tips to keep in mind before you ship your car across country.

Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Compare Pricing

Give yourself enough time to compare the pricing offered by several auto transport companies. Focus on ones that give you an upfront quote and have a reliable history.

Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Check Online Feedback

Customer reviews of every major auto carrier are available online. Taking a look at the Better Business Bureau is also a must.

Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Confirm Liability

Each auto carrier has a different limit of liability. This is usually in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 in coverage (some go as high as $250,000).

Protect Your Vehicle

Make sure to request fully enclosed or top loaded transport if you are shipping a classic, vintage, or luxury vehicle. These services cost more but protect your car from road debris and auto fluids.

Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Inspect Your Car Beforehand

It is essential to check your car over before the carrier arrives. While you are doing this, take photos of your car from different angles. Make sure they are well-lit and dated. If your car is damaged during shipping, these photos will help you make a claim.

Top Tips for Shipping Your Car

Shipping a car across country is made easy with the top tips above. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get everything in order before your car hits the road.


What is an Independent Truck Driver?

Most truck drivers that you see on the road are employed by trucking companies to haul their loads. The majority of these are company drivers that drive trucks provided by their employers. A smaller percentage own their own trucks and are under contract by trucking companies. The smallest percentage own their own trucks and are not under contract with a specific company. These truckers are known as independent truck drivers and maintain the authority to drive for whomever they want.

What is an Independent Truck Driver?

Independent Truck Driver Basics

Independent truck drivers are actually self-employed contractors. Most own and drive their own tractor-trailers, dump trucks, or cargo vans. They specialize in transporting either specific goods or transporting goods to a specific region. Numerous companies, especially distribution and manufacturing firms, that do not have drivers on staff seek independent truck drivers to deliver their goods for them.

What is an Independent Truck Driver?

Freedom of Independent Trucking

One reason that many experienced truck drivers turn to independent trucking is because of the freedom that it offers. As an independent driver, you are able to choose who you work for and when you work. This leads many independent truckers to keep standard business hours. However, there are those that prefer to work primarily on the weekends or early in the mornings.

Disadvantages of Independent Trucking

Unfortunately, even independent truckers spend long periods of time away from home. It is not uncommon for a driver to be on the road for several weeks at a time. While some clients compensate independent truckers for motel rooms, fuel, and other business expenses, the majority do not. Independent truckers are forced to absorb these expenses themselves since they are not employed by a company that will. Truck maintenance costs also fall fully into the pocket of the independent truck driver.

What is an Independent Truck Driver?

Working as an Independent Truck Driver

There are advantages and disadvantages of working as a self-employed independent truck driver. But at the end of the day, the job is a lot like that of any other trucker.

The big difference is that independent truckers need basic business sense. You must understand business management, marketing, advertising, and accounting principles to succeed. Without these, you are unlikely to maintain a steady flow of work.

Independent truck drivers must also keep diligent records of their dealings with suppliers and distributors. Failing to do so means a chance that proper payment will not be made. Careful records also allow truckers to defend themselves against legal claims if they come up.

So how does an independent truck driver get clients? Most already have a long history in the industry and know a number of companies that need trucking help already. In addition to this, there is nothing better than word-of-mouth referrals. Some independent truckers also take out advertisements in newspapers and trucking publications, post on websites such as Craigslist, and include their resumes on truck driving forums. You must do whatever you can to get work if you’re an independent trucker.

What is an Independent Truck Driver?

Final Thoughts on Independent Trucking

There are many truck drivers out there that have made a great living as self-employed independent truckers. It is a big decision – especially after you factor in buying your own truck – but with hard work and diligence, you can build a strong company. The sheer number of independent truck drivers out there that run profitable businesses is testament to this fact.

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