15 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

15 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/residence/maintenance/15-ways-to-make-your-home-more-energy-efficient/ bb3 Feb 28, 2013

By Staff Writer State Farm™ Employee

According to EnergyStar.gov a partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy the typical household spends $2,100 each year to heat, cool, and illuminate their homes. But reducing energy bills doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

Up to half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. By making some smart changes in your energy usage, you can have a big impact on your utility bills.

  • Skip pre-rinsing dishes. It's good to scrape food off before putting dishes in the dishwasher, but there's no need to rinse them. You'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.
  • Replace furnace air filters often. A dirty air filter can make your furnace work harder and use more energy. Replace the filter every two to three months.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). CFLs can last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy. LED bulbs are mercury-free and may last three to five times as long as CFLs.
  • Insulate water heaters and pipes. Covering your water heater with an insulated water heater blanket can help retain heat, so the unit uses less energy to heat hot water. Foam or rubber pipe insulation keeps cold pipes from sweating in the summer and reduces heat loss from hot-water flow in the winter. 
  • Seal doors and windows. Install door sweeps at the bottom of your front and back doors to keep heat from escaping. Remove old window caulk and apply a fresh seal to retain heat in your home.
  • Clean air ducts. Keep your air ducts clean to improve air flow and reduce stress on your furnace and central air conditioner. 
  • Upgrade your thermostat. A programmable thermostat can save you over $100 a year on your energy bill. 
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads. Toilets consume up to 40% of a home's average water use. Using low-flow toilets can save more than 9,000 gallons of water a year. A low-flow showerhead only uses 1.5 gallons per minute while most conventional showerheads use 5 gallons per minute.
  • Install ceiling fans. For summer use, ceiling fans can cool a room more efficiently than an air conditioner. For winter use, most ceiling fans have a reverse switch so that their blades force heated air down from the ceiling.
  • Hire a professional energy auditor. Using a blower door or infrared photography, a trained auditor can assess where your home is leaking energy. Some utilities even offer free audits.
  • Plant deciduous shade trees near the house. Leafy trees on the west and southwest sides of a house can keep your home cooler in the summer.
  • Replace leaky windows. Replace single-glazed windows with low thermal emissivity (Low-E) windows to reduce heat transfer and keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  • Insulate walls and attic. Heat escapes through the walls and attic of homes. Blown-in foam insulation can be a very cost-effective way to seal walls, with minimal structural intrusion. Replacing old attic insulation with fresh fiberglass cover can reduce your heating bills.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR appliances. Refrigerators, televisions, stoves, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners with this designation can save you a significant amount each month in energy bills. Start by replacing your oldest, least-efficient appliances first, before they have a major problem.
  • Install solar panels. Solar panels, which can be used to heat hot water or generate electricity, can save money on your energy bills over the long run, lower your fossil fuel usage, and may qualify for tax incentives. 
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantee of the results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.
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