Thursday, September 22, 2011

6 Ways Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Seal your cracks and gaps now and save this winter

1. Inspect your Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are one of the biggest causes of energy leaks. Check all weather striping around doors for obvious tears or holes. Simply locking windows and doors makes an amazing difference on some home’s energy loss. It is hard to maintain energy efficiency when every door and window has the equilivilant of an inch hole in them from the seal not being pushed tight. Also, keep your dryer door closed and check your dryer duct for rips and holes.  Make sure it is sealed where it exits the house.

2. Turn down your water heater temperature
On the front of your hot water heater there is a metal panel, remove this and you will see a temperature dial. All homes and water heaters differ slightly but experiment with your unit, lowering the temperature to the bare minimum that you will need for a comfortable shower. This is usually just below average for the summer and just above or right on average in the winter. At the bottom of your heater there is a drain (typically for a hose to connect to) this is to drain the lime sediment out of your unit to prevent corrosion. The lime can damage your heating elements and cause them to fail and be much less energy efficient.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
This is a great way to save money when you are not home. You can also adjust your thermostat manually but it is much easier and more energy efficient to “set it and forget it”. For around $60 or so you can get a very nice unit and usually install it yourself with little trouble.  Before you purchase a new thermostat, just make sure you know what type of HVAC system you have.

4. Install Window Tinting
Similar to a very lightly tinted window in a car, the windows in your house can be tinted as well. Typically, it is so faint you won’t even notice the tinting was done. However, you will notice in the energy savings!  I have seen the average temperature in a room drop 8 degrees after being installed.  How’s that for energy efficiency!

5. Install an Attic Exhaust Fan
Attics can get very hot and humid which leads to the same for your house. Proper venting is essential for any attic but typically not sufficient to keep your attic cooled. Adding an attic fan with a built-in thermostat and humidistat will help to keep your attic cool all summer long. These fans are around $120 but depending upon your situation and skill level, you may need an electrician or handyman for installation.

6. Install Blown-in Insulation
Adding a foot or two of cellulose insulation to your attic is a great way to become more energy efficient. This is a big job but it can make a huge difference in your heating and cooling requirements.  If you buy the insulation from Home Depot or Lowes you can rent the blower for free.  Depending on the size of your attic, you could still easily spend over $1,500 on materials.  However, this energy saving project may qualify for a energy efficiency tax credit. 

For more details on Energy Tax Credits:

Tax Credit:10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 - $300
December 31, 2011
Must be an existing home & your principal residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify

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