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A Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

A Comprehensive Listing of Ways to Use Less Energy and Save Money

© 2009 by all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

A typical electric meter; photo © 2009 KSmith Media, LLC

With electricity and gas bills skyrocketing, it’s more important than ever to make energy usage adjustments to the home and its appliances. Take control of your utility bills.

Yes, it’s a sad fact of life; the price of residential energy, electricity as well as natural gas, is going through the ceiling. No one is predicting that trend to turn around anytime soon. Middle eastern and Venezuelan oil suppliers have the world by the throat.

Hugo Chavez, the late perpetual president of Venezuela, was not your friend and the current despot is not either. This is why it’s extremely important to use your energy efficiency checklist. Every consumer benefits by taking measures to reduce energy consumption.

Free Ways to Conserve Energy and Money

  • The basic rule: remember mom and dad’s mantra; if you’re not using it, turn it off.

  • Conserve the hot water: try taking briefer showers. Wash your clothes using cold water. Remember, the cost of heating water averages 15% of your home’s energy bill.

  • Hang your clothes out to dry. The clothes dryer consumes more energy than any appliance other than your refrigerator!

  • Keep your home warmer in the summer and use ceiling fans. Keep it cooler in the winter; wear a sweater.

  • Tune-up and calibrate your thermostat.

Inexpensive Ways to Save Energy and Money

  • Replace your air conditioner/heater filter each month; put it on your calendar.

  • Replace old and damaged flex duct; it’s an easy DIY job.

  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and install LED lights for task lighting in work areas.
  • Only buy appliances displaying the Energy Star label.

  • Purchase a water heater insulation wrap; these are inexpensive and will recover the purchase price.

  • Change to low-flow shower heads: you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make in the long run.

  • Upgrade to a 7-day programmable thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation T200577 is one of the most popular ones on the market because it saves so much money.

  • Inspect and repair your door and window weather stripping.

  • Hang ceiling fans in your living room and bedrooms. The blades should rotate one way during the summer (blowing down) and the other way during winter(blowing up).

Higher Investment Ways to Save Energy and Money

  • Plant one or more shade trees where summer sun hits your home; leaves block the sun’s heat during the summer. When the leaves drop when fall arrives, the sunlight shines through the branches to warm your house.

  • Add more insulation in your attic and crawlspace if you’re not up to snuff. A minimum of R-49 is the magic number in many places; your’s might be different.

  • Apply radiant barrier paint to the bottom of your roof decking or or radiant barrier foil to your attic floor. You’ll find that it will pay for itself very fast.

  • Upgrade Energy Star-rated windows or storm windows. During the winter time, the home’s heat loss can be reduced by up to 50%.

  • Have a tankless water heater installed when your current one bites the bullet. This is a great way to save money. There’s no point heating water when no one is using it.

  • Are you putting in a new central air conditioner? Purchase one boasting a SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 13 or higher. Again, look for the Energy Star sticker.
  • If your home is in a low humidity area, go with an swamp cooler instead of an A/C. This technology adds humidity to your home; a conventional air conditioner removes it.

Don’t Make all Your Energy Efficiency Upgrades at Once

I know it’s tempting, but resist. Think seasonally. Your attic improvements are best done during cooler weather, especially if you are doing the work yourself. Research what will bring you tax credits. Do those home improvements before the end of the tax year.

Plant trees on Arbor Day and always turn off the lights!.

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