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Household Energy Efficiency

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There are a number of factors that affect your energy bill, including the weather, the size of your home, the efficiency of your appliances, the number and kinds of lights, thermostat settings for heating and cooling, even how much laundry you do. Making your home more energy efficient can reduce your utility bills.

Equally important, using less energy reduces air pollution and the release of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the fossil fuel burned to cover the energy requirements for a single home releases more carbon dioxide than operating two cars for a year.

There are simple solutions for saving energy throughout your home. Energy efficiency makes environmental and economic sense.

Caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. Air leaking into or out of your house around windows, doors, electrical outlets, light fixtures, and gaps between floors and walls can cause drafts and uncomfortably hot or cold rooms. You can save 10 percent or more on your energy bill by taking simple steps to reduce air leaks in your home.

Consider installing insulation or adding more insulation. The Department of Energy Insulation Fact Sheet can help you choose the right insulation. The guide discusses R-Values (measure of insulating power) for insulation and tells you how much insulation to install.

Set the thermostatat 68°F or lower in the winter and at 78°F or higher in the summer. Three to five percent more energy is used for each degree above or below these settings.

Use a programmable thermostat that lets you adjust heating and cooling to a pre-set schedule. The system can lower the temperature when you’re at work or asleep so you save on energy costs.

Replace your old major appliances with energy-efficient models. A ten-year-old refrigerator can use twice as much electricity as a new model labeled with the ENERGY STAR® logo

Maintain appliances. Keep your refrigerator’s condenser coils clean. Dust or vacuum them regularly so your refrigerator won’t have to work harder (and use more energy) to stay cool.

Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescents are highly efficient light bulbs that last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than a standard incandescent bulb, so they reduce your energy bill.

Set your water heater at 120°F or lower to save energy and prevent accidental scalding. If you have a dishwasher, check to see if it heats the water so you can use the 120°F setting; if not, you may need to leave the water heater thermostat at 140°F or “normal.”

Insulate your water heater and hot water pipes for additional savings.

Use low-flow shower heads and faucets to reduce the cost of hot water by using less.

Reduce heat loss by installing windows that are gas filled and/or have low emissivity (low-e) coatings on the glass. If you can’t replace the windows, install storm windows on the inside or outside to reduce heat loss by 25 percent.

helpful links about energy efficiency
heating and cooling

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