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BY Tali Aaron : December 21

Tips On Making Your Home More Energy Efficient!

Department of Energy


Heating and cooling account for 56% of the energy used in a U.S. home, making them a home's largest energy expenses. A wide array of technologies are available for heating and cooling and they vary in their efficiency. When looking to make your home more energy efficient, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gives the following pointers about Heating & Cooling:
- place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators
- bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season
- clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed and make sure they are not blocked
- clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed
- use fans during the summer to create a wind chill effect
- install a programmable thermostat
- get Energy Star products which can cut your bills by up to 30%
- insulate heating ducts in unheated areas

In addition to the above, heating and cooling costs can be reduced by as much as 30% if a home has proper insulation and air sealing.  An initial step in insulating your home is to undergo a home energy audit to find leaks and other energy inefficiencies within one's home.  Other Insulation pointers suggested by the DOE include:
- ensure windows do not have air leaks
- in cooler climates, select windows with a U-value of .35 or lower (such as Serious Windows or the Energy Star windows by Pella, Marvin and Milgard)- the lower the U-value, the higher the insulation
- install awnings on south and west facing windows
- install white window shades and drapes to reflect heat from your house
- plug air leaks and replace any inadequate insulation in walls, ceiling, attic or crawls spaces
- close fireplace dampers when not in use

Water heating can account for 14-25% of the energy consumed in your home. Water bills can be reduced by selecting more efficient water heaters and by utilizing water heating strategies such as the following listed at DOE:
- wash only full loads of dishes and clothes
- take short showers instead of baths
- lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120° F; lowering 10ºF can save you between 3%–5%
- consider a solar water heater
- consider a tankless water heater which can be 30% more energy efficient than a tank water heater
- consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system, which can save 25% to 30% energy
- drain a quart of water from your water heater every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers efficiency
- install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss
- reduce hot water use by switching to an efficient water saving dishwasher or clothes washer, such as the ones in Whirlpool's Resource Saver Line
- insulate your hot and cold water pipes which will reduce heat loss and can raise water temperature by 2ºF–4ºF
- insulate your hot water storage tank

To find out more about Energy Audits and how you can make your house more energy efficient, check out our CBPCA interview as well as the CBPCA website.  Also, check out our interview with a representative from the Department of Energy.

Any comments on these energy tips or want to share others?  We'd love to hear from you below.

8 Responses to Tips On Making Your Home More Energy Efficient!

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