Simple Steps to Save Money
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5 Tips to Live By
Saving money on your energy bill is easier than you think. By following some
or all of the following energy saving tips, you'll see that conserving energy
is not only good for the environment, it's good for your wallet.
Seal the Duct Work
In eight out of ten houses in the South, leaky ducts waste more energy than
any other problem. To stop this energy loss, your ductwork should be made
airtight -everywhere ducts attach to vents, each other and the heating/cooling
unit. Use mastic (preferred) or foil tape. Some do-it-yourselfers can handle
this job; other homeowners may want to hire a professional.
Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Every home has lights, and new compact fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot
of energy. They cost more, but they last much longer than regular incandescent
bulbs. In fact, compact fluorescents can save enough energy to pay for
Add Attic Insulation
About half of all homes have attics with insufficient insulation. A good rule
of thumb is that if you have less than six inches of insulation, you need
more. In general, you would benefit from up to 12 inches of attic insulation.
Insulation is rated by "R-values." In the attic, you should insulate at least
to R-30, or six to eight inches. Insulate walls as much as their thickness
allows, and floors to at least R-19, or six inches. Cellulose insulation is
Wrap your Water Heater
In most homes, insulating your water heater and the pipes that lead to and
from it is the single most cost effective improvement you can make. A water
heater jacket can be purchased for as little as $10 to $15, and you can
install it yourself.
Seal other Air Leaks
Air infiltration from the outside is another huge energy loser. In a drafty
home, the air may "turn over" several times an hour, meaning that the home's
entire volume of air must be reheated or recooled that often. A tight house
sees a complete air exchange only once every two to three hours.
Caulking and weather-stripping are the keys, and here are some of the biggest
offenders to look for:
• Fireplaces. Caulk everywhere the brick or stone meets the walls
and ceilings. Cover the opening with tight-fitting glass doors.
• Attic Fans. If you have an attic fan that you don't use, seal
the opening with a temporary or permanent cover.
• Recessed Lights. A lot of heat can escape through the openings
cut for recessed lights. Newer models can be covered with insulation. Older
models require a makeshift cover like a bucket turned upside down in the attic.
• Windows and Doors. Install weather-stripping on any that do not
• Attic Entrances. Insulate and weather-strip any entrances from
your home into the attic. With a little detective work, you may find a lot of
other leaks. Feel for air coming in through cracks and around windows and
doors. For a more sensitive test, hold a lighted candle near cracks.
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