Save Money and the Environment with DIY Energy Savers

Homeowners can save money and the environment by reducing home energy use. Homeowners can do this by utilizing several do-it-yourself (DIY) techniques that target the highest energy consumers in our homes. Since heating is one of our highest energy consumers, we will focus on that.

First of all, we’ll target our windows with respect to heat loss. In cooler climates, double-paned low-E windows are most efficient at keeping heat inside the house. If you have single-paned windows, consider replacing them. If your windows are double-paned, you can apply a low-E film on your windows (available at www.realgoods.com) to increase their efficiency.

Next, we’ll look at our water heater. First we want to insulate 50 feet of piping coming out of the water heater. We’ll also want to wrap the water heater with a thermal blanket, preventing heat from leaking out. Finally, reduce the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which not only prevents scalding water from coming out of the faucet, but it also saves energy and keeps bacteria out of our drinking water.

Third of all, lower your thermostat! Put on a sweater and set the heat at the lowest comfortable temperature. In fact, installing a programmable thermostat allows you to set the heat to automatically lower when you’re not home or during the night when you’re sleeping.

Woodstoves and fireplaces that are never used should be properly sealed. On woodstoves that are used occasionally, be sure to close the damper when not in use or your heat will escape out the chimney. In addition, use a fan to circulate the hot air around the room. Home Depot actually offers an “ecofan” which runs off the heat of the woodstove, so no electricity is required!

To save on water, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators should be installed. This could save up to 5 gallons for every minute you run water.

Replacing light bulbs with CFLs (compact florescent lights) will save as much as 10% on your electricity bills. But still be sure to turn off all lights when not in use!

Another way to save on electricity is to buy energy star appliances when they need replacing. In addition, be sure to unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Even when they’re off, but plugged in, they can still consume as much power as when they’re on. The easiest way to do this is to plug your electronics, like computers and televisions, into surge protectors, and power off the surge protector when not in use.

Last of all, one of the highest energy consumers in the house- our refrigerator. Set the refrigerator to 37 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, regularly clean the coils behind the fridge to maximize air flow.

Follow these guidelines, and homeowners like you can start saving money on their electricity and heating bills… and sleep better knowing they did their part to help the environment.

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