Tips and Products for an Energy Efficient Home Tips and Products for an Energy Efficient Home

An energy efficient home can help save on heating and cooling costs, and protect your health as well as the environment. According to ENERGY STAR, a average size household spends about $1,500 a year on energy bills. In colder areas of the country, the winter is when the most energy is being used in order to warm up a house. Many of us don't know how to make our homes comfortable without wasting money and energy. Here are some cost effective methods and products that can help you have an energy efficient house and save more on bills.

Air leaking out of your home is a drain on the energy operating your heating and cooling equipment, costing you quite a bundle. To prevent air from leaking out, it is a good idea to have your home insulated, especially doors and windows. A good product to have is 3M's Window Insulation Kit, which controls energy by acting like an extra storm window stopping drafts, preventing frost build-up, and reducing condensation. The film in the kit helps lower energy costs by increasing the R-value of a single-pane window up to 90 percent. The kit includes one large sheet of plastic and two rolls of double-sided tape. You apply the tape around the frame of the window you want to insulate, cut a piece of plastic and then apply it to the tape. Once you've done that, you just need to use a hair dryer on the plastic to get it to shrink and tighten in your window frame.

Humidity in the home can be a burden on your wallet and health. Humidity or any water condensation found around the home can lead to the growth of mold, mildew or musty odors. Humidity conditions can lead to rot, structural damage, premature paint failure, and a variety of health problems such as allergies, lung disease or breathing problems. A good way to control the moisture in your home is to have roof ventilators. LL Building Products carries a variety of roof vents - ridge, louvers, turbines and power vents - that will help control moisture levels in a home. In the summer, a properly ventilated attic can help reduce the load on your air conditioner by moving the heated air out of your attic before it builds up and causes damage. In the wintertime, a properly ventilated attic can help reduce the build up of ice dams and reduce moisture coming from bathrooms and kitchens. Proper attic ventilation systems allow a continuous flow of outside air through the attic, reducing heating and cooling bills.

Ceiling Fans are necessary to control the climate in your home and reduce energy bills. If a fan is run properly, it can save you about $15-25 per year on utility bills, plus any additional air conditioning or heating savings. When a ceiling fan is operating in a counter-clockwise direction, the airflow produced will create a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler during the summer months. In the winter, when a ceiling fan is reversed and set at a low speed, it can produce an updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling down and using less of the energy coming from your heater.

It's a good idea to have the water heater and pipes insulated to reduce about 25 percent of energy use. Insulation can decrease energy consumption and allow turning water temperatures down to a comfortable water setting for showers or faucets. Insulating pipes
can help minimize heat loss, and in colder climates, keep the pipes from freezing. A water heater blanket is used to insulate a water heater, especially water heaters that are more than 10 years old, keeping energy costs down. A water heater blanket is made of insulation contained in sheet plastic so that it can be attached to the water heater.

Check to see if the air filters of your HVAC systems, air conditioners, and humidifiers need to be changed or cleaned to save on energy. Having a dirty filter causes any equipment to work harder, break down sooner and cause air in the house to be dirty, which can lead to breathing problems.

Having a programmable thermostat to control your HVAC system can cut down 30 percent on energy cost. Check out Tips for Lowering Energy Cooling Cost and Tips for Lowering Energy Heating Costs. Programmable thermostats allow for different temperature settings (wake, leave, return, and sleep), making it easier for energy consumption to be kept low and the house feeling comfortable.

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can cut about 10 percent of your electric bills. Compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient and provide the same amount of light as incandescent. Although compact fluorescent bulbs cost a little more than regular light bulbs, in the long run, you will save more, and some utility companies offer rebates for buying CFLs. Of course, when lights are not in use, shut them off.

Appliances that are energy efficient help cut down on energy prices, emit less air pollution, and are an attractive selling point when a home is sold. A good way to tell if an appliance is energy efficient is to look for an Energy Guide label, which helps a consumer compare energy use, and the EnergyStar Logo. An appliance with an EnergyStar Logo is more energy efficient than other appliances because they cost less to run and lower utility bills.

There are more ways to cut down on energy bills, some a do-it-yourselfer can do with careful planning and preparing. One can also hire a contractor or specialist to give suggestions on how to make a home more energy efficient. For other ideas on how to make a home more energy efficient for the winter, check out Preparing Your Home for the Winter.

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