Evaluate your insulation. Look for a tag in the attic that shows the R-Values of insulation in the floors, walls and ceiling.

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1 There are many reasons to save energy whether to keep more money in your pocket or out of concern for the environment. The good news is, you don t have to sacrifice comfort and convenience to save. In fact, an energy efficient home is more comfortable, more affordable and can even be more healthy for you and your family. Fortunately, many of the things you can do to save energy require very little financial investment some only require an investment of your time. So let s explore the typical house and identify ways to save.

2 Let s start at the top and work our way down. While it may not be glamorous insulation and air sealing are your best lines of defense when it comes to controlling heating and cooling costs. The hotter your attic is the harder it is to cool the area below. One way to reduce attic temperatures is to use the lightest colored roof shingles possible. Passive ventilation should be provided by soffit and ridge vents. Mechanical ventilation is not recommended. Thoroughly inspect your attic to make sure light and air do not have pathways into the conditioned space below. Pay particular attention to recessed lighting fixtures and utility penetrations. Seal all cracks and leaks. Evaluate your insulation. Look for a tag in the attic that shows the R-Values of insulation in the floors, walls and ceiling. And as a general rule, caulk and seal all leaky windows.

3 Indoor humidity should not exceed 60%. Use exhaust fans when bathing or cooking, especially during the cooling season. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the room. Install low flow showerheads to reduce your use of hot water. And switch to new, LED bulbs especially in high use fixtures. The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today's most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technologies. Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting. Residential LEDs -- especially ENERGY STAR rated products -- use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

4 Don t block HVAC registers and return air with furniture and entertainment equipment. And never close off individual air registers and close interior doors in an attempt to divert conditioned air to one area of the house. The pressure imbalance will create leaky ducts, and conditioned air will be lost to your crawl space or attic. If you need more conditioned air in one part of your house have an HVAC company inspect your duct work. Think of your return air register as the lungs for your heating and cooling system. Better performance is achieved when a new, clean filter is installed monthly. And this is one time when cheaper is better. Buy the inexpensive filters and change them every 30 days. Avoid expensive pleated filters that tout better indoor air quality. Pleated filters restrict return air flow and leave the air handler gasping for breath. The best way to achieve quality indoor air is to keep bad air out by sealing all the leaks in your home including the ductwork. And of course turn off all electrical items when not in use.

5 Even the smallest drafts can create uncomfortable conditions. Insulate drafty exterior wall outlets and switchplates with inexpensive foam gaskets. An open hearth fireplace is great for ambience but you ll probably find your energy dollars going right up the chimney. For best performance install a fireplace insert with blowers and thermostats. When the fireplace is not in use close the damper. And for the safety of you and your family please have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Conditioned air has a direct pathway into the attic through your access hatch or drop-down stairs. You can easily insulate and weather-strip this yourself.

6 There are lots of ways to make your refrigerator more efficient. Start by making sure gaskets are clean and properly sealed. A well sealed refrigerator door will hold a dollar bill firmly in place. If your refrigerator has an energy saving setting use it. Allow cooked foods and liquids to cool before putting them in the fridge. And never put refrigerators and freezers near heat-producing appliances. If your refrigerator is old enough to drive, it s probably time to replace it. When you purchase new appliances look for the Energy Star logo. These appliances exceed minimum federal standards. Target leaky faucets and pipes for immediate repair. Pay close attention to your monthly water consumption. Unusually high energy bills can often be tied back to a hot water leak. Water pipes. Cable TV lines. Telephone lines. These all come into the home through holes. Fill smaller holes with caulk and larger ones with expanding foam. Remember, all the tiny air leaks add up to 2 open windows year round. Ceiling fans can contribute to energy savings when properly used. They should only be on when a room is occupied. Leaving the room? Cut the fan off.

7 The average home loses 15% of its heated and cooled air through leaky ductwork. In fact, 1 out of every 4 homes has at least 1 piece of ductwork that has become completely disconnected. Go to the source of the problem and seal leaky duct work with a mastic paste. Unlike duct tape, which loses it s adhesiveness over time, mastic produces a permanent seal. You wouldn t think of driving your car more than 12,000 miles without an oil change. So why would you expect anything less when it comes to your heating and cooling system? A certified technician should inspect and tune up your HVAC system annually. Not doing so increases energy costs and will likely result in premature equipment failure.

8 Keep outside HVAC components free of shrubs, fencing and outdoor equipment. And it s a good idea to make sure your dryer vent is at least 3 feet away so the unit doesn t accumulate lint over time.

9 Now it s on to the laundry room where we have loads of opportunity. Water heating accounts for 70% to 90% of clothes washer energy use. Cold water cycles should be fine for all your washables except for greasy stains. In fact, Clorox recently introduced a new cold water bleach. When buying a new washing machine look for the ENERGY STAR label. The clothesline is making a comeback and there s surely no cheaper way to dry clothes. But when you do use your dryer make sure the lint filter is cleaned between loads so clothes dry faster. At least once a year you should inspect your vent for lint buildup which could cause a fire. And if you re shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor to avoid over drying. If you have an older model water heater, add an insulating wrap, or blanket, especially if the unit is in an unconditioned area (garage). You and a friend should be able to have it installed in a matter of minutes. You also want to remember to turn the unit off completely whenever you are gone for several days (if ambient temperatures permit).

10 When warm, moist air enters your attic or crawlspace it causes wood to buckle and rot and leads to mold and mildew. Make sure vents exhaust to the outdoors.

11 Now let s talk about the all important thermostat setting. We recommend a setting of 78 degrees or higher during air conditioning season. Maybe you turn down the air conditioner to overcome warm sunlight pouring in through a large picture window or sliding glass doors. The quick and expensive thing to do is reach for the thermostat. Close curtains and shades to block out the hot summer sun. In winter, we recommend a setting of 68 degrees or lower. If these settings do not make you comfortable then it s possible that other problems exist. There may be cold winter drafts that cause you to feel chilly so you turn up the heat. Instead think about slipping on a sweater or socks to stay warm in winter. Hunt down those drafts and seal them up. If you have an electric heat pump it is important to avoid temperature swings during winter. Increasing your thermostat setting by more than 2 degrees in the heating mode could activate electric resistant heat strips which are very inefficient. So if you own a heat pump remember to set it and forget it during winter. If you heat with an electric furnace cut the temperature back to 55 or 60 whenever you leave.

12 If you think you have air leakage issues that cannot be easily detected and repaired call a professional. A blower door test will quantify all your air leaks and calculate your home s air changes per minute.

13 So there you have it: from roof to basement and all areas in between. And the truth of the matter is we ve really just scratched the surface when it comes to energy savings. I bet each of you could go home right now and find dozens of more ways to save. And honestly, the most successful way to save energy is to make it a priority. It has to be important to you and your family for whatever reason. Maybe you want to save money. Maybe you want a cleaner, healthier home. Maybe you want to conserve natural resources for your children and their children. Whatever the reason we want you to succeed. So we re providing you with this simple action plan that addresses all the things you ve seen in this presentation.

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