Category Archives: Energy Efficient

Discounted CFLs: Save money and energy.

We’ve partnered with  District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) to offer discounted GE CFLs in our DC stores* through Sept. 30, 2012. This program lets you stock up on CFLs and truly realize energy savings (about $42 or more in energy costs over the life of the bulb).

Not sure exactly what kind of CFL you need? Check out this lighting guide or stop by one of our stores and talk to an associate about what will work best in your home.
*This promotion is only at Tenleytown Ace, Glover Park, Logan and 5th Street Ace Hardware, but we carry CFL bulbs at all of our stores.

Save energy with discounted CFLs

Mercury Thermostat Recycling Here!

mercury thermostat

Don't throw mercury thermostats away. Recycle with us.

We’ve partnered with Covanta Energy to expand our recycling program to include mercury-switch thermostats. Just drop off your old mercury thermostat at any store location at no charge. That’s all.  We’ll take care of the rest. (Meaning we’ll ship the mercury materials to Thermostat Recycling Corporation for proper disposal.)

A couple things:

1. Thermostats turned in for recycling should be intact (thermostats leaking mercury aren’t accepted).

2. We can only accept mercury thermostats and not any other product that contains mercury.

Reason to recycle mercury thermostats: Mercury is a heavy metal that  presents a health hazard to humans and animals both through immediate contact but also when not disposed of properly and subsequently released into an ecosystem. Mercury has been almost completely removed from the trash, but is still found in some items, such as thermostats.


Brita Saves the Date

Brita water filter

Brita Filtration Systems: Not just for drinking anymore. 6063986 / $24.99

One morning last week, 5th Street Ace Hardware associate Jacqui, woke up to no water. Blame it on the heat wave. Blame it on DC. This wouldn’ t have been a total crisis for Jacqui (she’s a low maintenance gal and we love her for it), except there was this date she’d planned for the night. A first date. And second-day hair just won’t do, as she’s not only a hardware genius, she’s also a brilliant hair stylist. (Represent!)

What’s a girl to do?

Well, Jacqui sat for a moment and contemplated. Go second-day hair all the way. Bike to work and stick her head under the faucet in the employee bathroom. (Mmmm, no.) Thirst ensued over her deliberation, and she quickly remembered the FULL Brita water pitcher in her fridge. It would be cold water, but it would do. And after a few stifling 100+-degree days, what a relief.

With head over the bath and pitcher in hand, Jacqui’s shampoo technique was a study in water conservation that these guys would applaud:  Just enough to wet her hair. A nice lather. Another trickle to rinse (no conditioner) and still enough for tooth brushing.

Look at those shiny Brita locks!

Just another inventive Ace employee doing what she does.

Other ways to conserve water.

Products that can help:

  1. Low-flow shower head. (WaterPik’s EcoFlow, 4302915, $29.99)
  2. Outdoor irrigation systems w/timer. (Ace Electronic Water Timer, 7198476, $44.99)

Vacay Checklist

Things to do & products that can help before the whisper of the ocean comes calling. DOWNLOAD.

while you're away

Battery & Bulb Recycling

Recycle dead rechargeable batteries, CFLs and mercury thermostats at our stores.

We’ll take your hazardous waste off your hands. Just drop off your dead rechargeable batteries, CFL bulbs and mercury thermostats to any of our locations. That’s all. No strings attached.

Rechargeable batteries: The addition of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals in some rechargeable batteries leads to topsoil contamination and water pollution. (Alkaline and lithium batteries are not toxic and can go straight in the trash.)

CFLs: Awesome at energy savings, but these babies contain mercury. Mercury=poison=bad.

Mercury-Switch Thermostats:See above. Our program allows us to accept intact mercury thermostats (we can’t take units that are leaking mercury). Also, stores can only accept thermostats and not any other product that contains mercury.

Snow glare got you down?

This woman knows nothing of glare with her Architella Easyrise by Hunter Douglas.


Well why don’t you put up some blinds already? We always recommend buying the best products you can afford because, as with all things with moving parts, they start to not work so well after a while. That, and you get better coverage and sometimes even some insualting properties for cold- and hot-weather months. 

We just got Hunter Douglas window treatments for 5th Street Ace Hardware, Tenleytown Ace Hardware and Old Takoma Ace Hardware when it opens in the spring 2010. They are very pretty – our favorites include the energy-efficient Duette Honeycomb Shades, Silhouette Window Shadings and Luminette Privacy Sheers, as well as Provenance Woven Wood Shades and Country Woods Wood Blinds.

Whether you get blinds from us or another outlet, the most important thing you want to have in place are your window measurements. There isn’t much room for error here, so you want to get it right. Your best option: hire a pro to do it for you. We partnered with pro Roslyn Ashford of ra reDoes rooms, who will make house calls to conduct the measuring service. The fee is $50 and will be applied to the final cost of window treatments if an order is placed with us within seven days. (To set up an appointment, fill out the online form.)

Or, if you’re the consummate DIYER,  follow Hunter Douglas’ how to:

Inside Mount  

  1. Measure the width inside the window opening at the top, middle and bottom. The top measurement is critical because the headrail must fit. Record the actual dimension of the shortest width to the nearest one eighth of an inch.
  2. Measure the height inside the window opening at left, right and center. Record the actual dimension of the shortest height to the nearest one eighth of an inch. Also measure the window on its diagonals. If the two diagonal dimensions are not exactly the same, it may be necessary to specify an outside mount for optimal fit, light control and privacy.
  3. The ordered width should ensure a precise fit for the headrail and allow proper operation of the shade. If widths in the window vary, order the minimum width necessary to allow the shade to raise and lower properly.
  4. The ordered height should ensure clean operation at the base of the window as well as provide maximum privacy and light control.
  5. Be sure the window opening is deep enough to install the mounting bracket.

Outside Mount

  1. Measure the desired width and height. To minimize light leakage, the shade should overlap the window opening at least 2 inches on each side and at the bottom.
  2. When measuring the height, take into account the requirements for mounting the bracket attachment.

SAVE MONEY: Keep heating costs down

A Few Cool Hardware Stores owner Gina Schaefer talks shop about rising  heating costs and keeping them down.

3 reasons (and 6 stores) to avoid the Big Box.

Not too many cars in this scene. Back in the day, people walked to to the store. It was social. It was exercise. It was fun.

Yesterday, I made a very gratifying sale.  It was for 68 cents.  I happened to be riding in the elevator with a neighbor who said, “Hey!  Maybe you can help me.  But I doubt it.”  When I asked why she doubted it, she said she had already tried Home Depot and they didn’t have the screws she needed for her faucet-repair project.  She also said she preferred to go to Home Depot because she liked to drive to do her shopping. To this, I thought, “WHA??” When did we get to the point where driving in city traffic trumped walking 5 to 10 minutes to a store that has everything you need?

Up for the challenge and sure that I could help, I took a sample of the screw she needed to one of our locations and found the exact match in about 15 seconds.  Problem solved and no gas or time wasted on a trip to a Big Box. 

Here are 3 reasons why we can top a Big Box experience:

1. We carry a LOT of different products and are always surprised when our customers are surprised at how much we offer. We’re not just hardware. Indeed, we have absolutely everything you need for home-maintenance, DIY projects, kitchen and bath, gardening, storage, and even novelty and gift items. 

2. We have parking at several of our stores, so if you’re a drive-and-shop kinda person like my neighbor, this is good news. It’s generally short term with validation, but we’ve designed our customer service so you can get in and out quickly. One hour is TONS of time.

Glover Park: Behind the building, free for 15 minutes and $1 for the first hour.  

Tenleytown Ace: We validate 1 hour of free parking in the garage at

5th Street Ace: If you combine your trip to see us with your grocery shopping at Safeway, you can get free underground parking for 90 minutes through their validation.

In Baltimore, Waverly Ace and Federal Hill Ace both have outdoor lots.

At Logan, admittedly, there is not much convenient parking, but if you’re clever, you can combine your trip with a certain grocery store nearby and get their validated parking.

 3. 5th Street Ace also offers a free personal-shopping service as well as free delivery (call the store at 202-682-4570 to see if you’re in the zone).  Email us at by 2 p.m. and if we have the products in stock, they’ll be ready for you to pick up in the afternoon. 

And we can guarantee you won’t find that at Home Depot!

Weatherizing Your Home, Part II

Don’t let the latest Washington metropolitan-area weather fool you because it’s gonna get cold, and soon. We offered some weatherization tips a while back and now we’re talking  products. Gina Schaefer, owner of Ace Hardware stores in DC and Baltimore, covers her favorites including:

1. Rope Caulk

2. Window insulation

3. Draft dodgers

4. Outlet seals