Make Your Home More Efficient this Fall

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home-1As cooler temperatures start to set in this Autumn, it’s a reminder that we’ll soon be spending more time indoors.  To increase your home’s efficiency and comfort levels in the upcoming winter months, there are a few things to keep in mind.  All around the home, from the heating system and the fireplace to insulation levels, there are ways to help take the “chill out of the air” and save you money on utility bills.  Plus, you’ll enjoy current Federal Tax Credits for many improvements.

    Let’s begin with some simple things that you can do:

    • Reduce drafts by placing foam inserts behind outlets and light switches that are located on perimeter walls in your home.
    • Seal air leaks around doors and windows with non-toxic caulks and weatherstripping.
    • Seal cracks, gaps, and holes in attic floorboards, basement ceilings, and around chimneys and recessed lighting, with a can of spray foam insulation.
    • Seal duct work in forced-air systems with a duct-sealing foil/metal tape (NOT DUCT-TAPE).  According to EnergyStar.gov, “In a typical house, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.  Make sure that the connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls, and ceiling.”
    • Insulate your pull-down attic door with an attic door cover or tent.  This will keep heated air in your living spaces in winter, and in summer months, will keep hot air out of your living spaces.
    • Install an Energy Star qualified programmable thermostat to avoid wasting heat while you’re away from home or asleep.
    • Wrap your hot water heater tank in a water heater blanket if it’s located in unheated space.  If it’s time for replacement, consider a tankless model which is more energy- and water-efficient.
    • Get your heating system inspected and maintained annually to keep it operating efficiently.
    • Get your fireplace ready for its next usage by following these tips.
    • Check the level of insulation in your attic (enter your zip code at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s website to find the proper amount of insulation needed in your area). It’s likely too low, especially if you live in an older home, so, add environmentally-friendly insulation like recycled cotton or cellulose insulation (be sure to seal air leaks first).

    Tag(s): Energy, Greening the Home, Money Saving

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