Let the Sun Shine In

When we think of energy-saving investments to our homes, most of us think of big projects, like solar panels or a new, more efficient heat pump/air conditioning unit. Indeed, there are some big-ticket items that can increase the energy efficiency of your home, but there are also many smaller projects that can go a long way in cutting energy costs and helping the planet too. Small steps will add up and let the savings work for you.

Close air leaks in your home - A tube of caulk can save as much as 30% of your energy bill. A silicone seal will help eliminate gaps around window and door frames and hold up longer with extreme temperatures.  Check weather stripping around windows and sliding glass doors, and the door sweeps to see if they need to be replaced. A leading cause of air leakage is through recessed can lighting in an insulated ceiling. The best solution is a fire resistant hat installed on the attic side.

Maintain heating and air conditioning systems - Air filters that are clogged with dust degrade the performance of heating and air conditioning systems—change them often. A yearly maintenance service agreement can help keep these systems running at top performance. Keep furniture in your home away from air vents to allow free air movement. A ceiling fan will make the room feel 10 degrees cooler than it is.

Have energy efficient windows and doors. Replacing old single-pane windows with double-pane, especially double-pane metallic-coated “low-e” glass windows, can reduce your energy consumption. You should also consider replacing your exterior doors. Not only will you benefit from the energy savings, but you will increase curb appeal. New windows and entry doors can save you several hundred dollars per year in heating and cooling costs, depending on where you live.

Develop good energy “habits” - There is the obvious, turn off lights when you leave a room, and don't just stand there staring into the refrigerator, but did you know a typical household has 40 products continually drawing electricity, and most are not in use? The main energy vampires are the entertainment center appliances: the TV, DVD player, cable box, etc. Plug them in a surge protector that has an on and off switch, and develop the habit to turn them all off when not in use.  

Use good energy settings.  Utilize sleep mode on your computer. Have a programmable thermostat for your heating and cooling. Lower the setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees F. Ideally refrigerators should run at 36 degrees, and freezers at 0-5 degrees. Keep your refrigerator and freezer well stocked so it will run more efficiently.  Place gallon containers of water to fill up space if needed.

Launder smart Use cold or warm water to wash when possible. Use a full load in the dryer. Hang clothes to air dry--they'll last longer with less friction (where do you think all that lint comes from?) and can have fewer wrinkles. Keep the lint catcher clean.

Not sure what to do? Contact your home improvement professional for additional information and ideas specific to your home.

 

My son, pay attention...listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. Proverbs 5:1

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