Five Steps To A More Energy Efficient Home This Winter

As the temperature outside plummets, your home’s energy consumption climbs higher and higher. In order to keep the house comfortable, your furnace has to work overtime. In the modern technical age, the natural inclination is to think that the only solution is to upgrade your furnace. Fortunately, a few simple fixes can power up the effectiveness of your heating system with ease, creating a more energy efficient home at a fraction of the cost.

Fix Air Leaks

As the walls of your house expand and contract each season, little gaps will eventually begin to form in certain spots. This occurs most frequently where there are gaps in the wall, such as door frames, windows and outlets. On a cold, windy day these gaps will be easy to spot. Simply run your hand slowly along the frame of every door and window, and put a piece of tape at any spot where you feel cold air leaking in. Then, purchase a cheap caulking gun and seal every leak. This caulking will allow the house to better retain heat, thus reducing the number of times the furnace comes on each day.

Clean Air Filters

One of the biggest keys to an energy-efficient home is proper airflow. Dirty air filters restrict airflow, preventing the warm air produced by your filter from circulating effectively. Check your filters every month and change them at least once every three months to promote the best possible air circulation.

Seal Duct Leaks

Have your ductwork checked for leaks along the seams leading to the vents. This will ensure that no airflow is lost before the warm air enters your living space.

Programmable Thermostat

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, you are throwing money away each time you fiddle with the temperature. Programming allows the thermostat to keep the house comfortable during the times when people are active, and then give the unit a break when everyone is at work or asleep. Additionally, be sure to have the thermostat hold a lower temperature when you will be gone for longer than 12 hours.

Proper Pan Size

Creating an energy-efficient home extends beyond the heating system. Your stove has different burner sizes for a reason. When you use a smaller pan on a large burner, you are wasting the energy of any burner space not completely covered by the pan. Furthermore, if you use a large pan on a small burner, you will dramatically increase the cook time. This means that the burner will be on longer, consuming more energy.

Remember that energy efficiency is about the long term investment. Each small step you take may only save a few dollars this month, but that money adds up over time. Also keep in mind that when machines run more efficiently, they last longer. Getting a few more years out of your furnace could be a difference of several thousand dollars over your lifetime.

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The Benefits of an Energy Audit For Your Home

If you are looking for ways to save money on your monthly energy bills, consider an energy audit. This process involves a thorough inspection of your home, determining how, why, when, and where energy is currently being used. From there, the information collected is used to develop your home’s energy efficiency. These improvements can reduce the amount of environmentally hazardous greenhouse gas emission, save money, and more. Here are reasons you should have your home inspected:

Reduce Costs

The information that will be obtained from this inspection can be used to help your home consume energy more efficiently. Finding and fixing leaks and drafts and reviewing lights will drastically help you reduce the amount of money you spend on energy bills.

Safety

If improper ventilation is the cause of your home’s energy inefficiency, the poor indoor air quality may be harmful for you and your family members to inhabit. Improving your home’s ventilation will make the air much safer.

Improved Resale Value

When you’re ready to resell your home, an energy audit can help improve your home’s value. Buyers are always looking for homes that are equipped with energy efficiency that will save them money over the years.

 

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Save Money This Summer With These Warm Weather Tips

Summer is finally here and with each passing day the temperature keeps rising. Due to this heat some people seek refuge indoors and the only relief one has to the hot temperatures outside is the cool temperature inside their homes. The question is how do you manage to keep that cool temperature inside without over exerting your air conditioner and increasing your monthly energy bills? Here are some helpful tips.

Fast and Free Energy Solutions

 

Turn up your thermostat. Set your thermostat up when you are away from home, at night and during peak times. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room.

Turn down your air conditioner. One-degree change can affect your cooling energy use from 3% to 5%.

Use your appliances wisely. Try to avoid running your appliances during peak hours, from 4pm to 6pm.

  • Run exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom when cooking and/or showering, these activities add heat and moisture to the home.
  • Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold-water settings.
  • Line dry clothes whenever possible.
  • Run full loads in the dryer as well as in the dishwasher.

Eliminate wasted energy.

  • Close blinds and drapes during the hottest part of the day to reflect sunlight and heat away from your home’s interior.
  • Don’t let heat circulate. Close doors to rooms you aren’t using, this will avoid the need to cool them down with air conditioning.
  • Aerate your space. If there’s a breeze outside open the windows slightly on either side of you home to allow the breeze to enter. This will enable you to turn off your fans, which are other big energy users.
  • Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use.

Inexpensive Energy Solutions

  • Inspect your air conditioner filters and replace when needed.
  • Change out incandescent lights to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They reduce electric use for lighting which also reduces the heat produced.
  • Choose Energy Star products when possible.

Energy-Saving Investments

Install Energy Star windows. If your windows are due for replacement choose Energy Star windows such as Polar windows. They will make your house more comfortable and save on energy costs year round.

Install window shading. Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. You can also consider planting trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home.

Invest in other Energy Star products. If it’s time to replace large appliances such as your air conditioner or your refrigerator, look for the Energy Star model. This will ultimately save you on your monthly energy bills.

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