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Energy Efficiency | August 27, 2010

Five easy strategies for making your home more energy efficient

Reduce air leakage around windows, doors and vents to make your home more energy efficient.

Throughout the summer and winter months we tend to use more energy at home whether we realize it or not. In the summer, we turn to air conditioners and other appliances to keep our houses cool and in the winter, we’re doing the same to keep our homes warm.

The value to following easy measures to reduce electricity use often results with lower electricity bills. Here are some quick tips that I would like to share about how you can save energy at home during all times of the year.

Adjust your thermostat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than half of all the energy we use in our homes is used for heating and cooling alone. The recommended setting for summer is 75 degrees. My wife and I often let our thermostat go up to 78 degrees, and higher when we know we’re not going to be home for a little while.

Think about how your blinds and curtains are used. When curtains and blinds are open, they let the sun in, which in turn can heat up a room in your home. If you close them during the day, you’ll keep rooms cooler. So in the summer, you may want to consider keeping them closed and in the winter, you may want to keep them open.

Use less hot water. Lower the temperature setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. According to Constellation Energy’s affiliate, BGE Home, water heating is the third largest energy use in your home, typically accounting for up to 13% of your monthly energy costs.

Check for air leakage. Look around windows, doors and vents. Seal cracks with caulk and use weather stripping around exterior doors and windows. According to BGE Home your sills, walls and ceilings are the top sources of air leaks, followed by ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans and vents, and electric outlets.

Light your house adequately. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that up to 11% of our energy use at home is used for lighting. Remember to turn lights off when you leave a room. By changing out incandescent bulbs and replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs, you can use 75 percent less energy and your bulb can last 10 times longer than when you use an incandescent bulb.

To view the DOE’s chart showing how we use energy in our homes, go here. Check back for more tips, I have more to come!

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