New devices available at Danville Library could help save Danville Utilities customers money

Devices use thermal imaging to show how energy-efficient your home is

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - A little device that plugs into your cellphone's charging port might just be the simplest way to lower your utility bill.

"It'll show you, in color, the heat index of the room," Danville Public Library director Joe Zappacosta said.

Once you've got your device, download the free app for it on your phone and you're ready to go.

"The idea is, you would take pictures of windows and doorways, places where things are coming in your house -- maybe an air conditioner in your window -- and that would give you some idea if heat is getting in on a hot day and cold air is getting in on a cold day," Zappacosta said

On Tuesday, he walked around the library and tested out one of the devices.

If you find spots in your home where hot or cold air is getting in or out where it shouldn't be, D&M Heating and Air Conditioning owner Dwayne Meeks has some suggestions.

"Weatherstripping, anything that would prevent some of your cooling loss through your windows and doors, would be of great benefit," Meeks said.

If you don't want to do the work or simply don't think you can, he has a suggestion for that, too.

"Someone that does carpentry, installs doors -- they would be a good person to contact," Meeks said.

Having your ducts and your HVAC system checked can also help lower your utility bill.

If your HVAC system is working properly and your ducts are clean, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system won't have to work as hard to keep you cool or warm.

"It's a good idea to keep the evaporator and condenser coils clean. It's always a good idea to have your refrigerant pressure checked. Keep your filter clean at all times," Meeks recommended.

Zappacosta said even though the devices were just unveiled on Monday, people have already been asking to check them out.

"We're always looking for opportunities like this because the library is more than books on a shelf," Zappacosta said.

Danville Utilities director Jason Grey said the devices can also save Danville Utilities customers money by saving Danville Utilities money.

"If multiple customers save on energy, it reduces our demand during peak and thus we can pass along those savings to our customers," Grey said.

Currently, there are two devices for Android phones and two devices for iPhones available for checkout at the library.

Anyone with a library card can check them out.

Grey said that if the devices prove to be very popular, more may be purchased to keep up with demand.

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