Making Your House More Energy Efficient

Energy leaks, inefficient appliances, and bad habits can cost you a lot of money over the course of a year. This guide has tips and ideas for making your house more energy efficient.

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Check with your power company, your county, state, and nonprofit organizations to see if there are any free weatherization programs available. I did and had my house completely weatherized (insulation, solar attic fan, window repair and more) for free. These programs require an application process. In some cases, there are funds available for more energy-efficient appliances, such as a furnace. The weatherization is focused on making the house airtight, to plug up leaks around windows, attics, doors, and walls. There could be a 30% savings in energy with weatherization.

By Mary from Kensington, MD

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Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Energy for making your hot water use more efficient:

  • Fix leaks in your plumbing that waste hot and cold water.
  • Install efficient low-flow faucets and fixtures to use less water.
  • Upgrade your water-using appliances with new energy-and water-efficient models.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. New washing machines can clean as well in cold water as the older equivalents that needed hot water to get clothes clean.

We installed a tankless water heater that only heats the water as you need it. It heats the water instantly as you need it. My husband could install it himself, and we save money monthly on our electric bills.

Hope these tips work for you!

By Dorothy from New Creek, WV

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Now that the cold months are nearly upon many of us we wanted to share some ideas about how to make your house more energy efficient. As much as 60% of your energy bill can go to heating your house. Here are some tips to cut down on the amount of energy you are losing.

Simple Ways to Save on Your Heating Expenses

  • Set your thermostat on the lowest comfortable setting and leave it alone. You will adjust to lower temperatures and possibly sleep better as well. 68 degrees is a comfortible temperature.

  • Insulate and weatherize your home properly. This is not an easy task if you have an old house, but some little things you can do relatively cheaply are: Put plastic on your windows. Use form weather striping around your doors. Close off rooms that you are not using. Shut vents to rooms that you don't use.

  • Close drapes or curtains at night and on cloudy days.

  • When the sun is shining, open drapes to take advantage of the natural warmth.

  • Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to maximize solar gain.

  • Keep windows near the thermostat closed, or the furnace may think it is colder than it actually is.

  • Keep doors and windows closed. This may sound obvious, but many children tend to leave the door open when they go outside to get firewood.

  • Keep your filters clean and check them monthly in your furnace.

  • Contact your local energy department to see if they offer a free audit.

  • Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.

  • Close your chimney damper when the fireplace is not being used.

Tip: Looking for drafts? Hold a piece of tissue up around doors and windows. When the tissue flutters, you have a draft that is affecting your heating bill.

Here some other things you can do that require a little more money, time and effort.

  • Check your attic to see how much insulation you have. R-30 or R-40 insulation is recommended.

  • Install better windows and doors if you don't have storm windows.

  • Install an automatic thermostats that adjust the heat to your schedule.

  • Plant hedges or install fences to serve as wind breaks. Cold wind usually comes from the northeast.

  • Install foam gaskets and plastic plugs in all electrical outlets and switches on outside walls.

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The Home Energy Saver website has a useful tool for determining how much you spend on energy and how much having a more energy efficient house can save you.

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Home and Garden Home Improvement Energy EfficiencyJune 29, 2011
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