Take Action to Reduce Energy Consumption
Energy Efficiency Helps Consumers 'Weather' Frigid Temps Amid Record Prices for Natural Gas, Heating Oil
Our nation's leaders have failed to implement a smart, pro-American energy policy. Meanwhile, those of us suffering from the current idiotic policy can still take some steps to reduce our own dependence on fossil fuels. Here is a set of tips being circulated by the Alliance to Save Energy.
Prices for home heating fuels – natural gas and heating oil – are at record or near-record levels, and there's no end in sight to the frigid temperatures gripping the Northeast and Midwest .
But an energy-efficient home is a strong defense against winter winds, rain, sleet, snow, and chill, says the Alliance to Save Energy, and can help consumers keep energy bills from reaching their own record levels. Energy efficiency measures around the house also protect the environment and increase national security by cutting wasteful energy use.
The Alliance offers consumers these energy-efficiency tips to cut energy bills and increase comfort:
Is Your Home Leaking Energy Dollars? First Plug Energy Leaks
Heating the outdoors? If your home is drafty, you are. Check your home's first line of defense against the elements – walls, floors, roof, windows, and doors. Seal leaks between moving parts (between door and frame) with weather stripping. Fill leaks between nonmoving parts (between window frame and wall) with caulking.
"Insulate" yourself from price shocks. Appropriate insulation for your climate based on R-values can increase your comfort and reduce your heating costs up to 30 percent. Start with attic insulation, followed by exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces. Insulate and seal attic air ducts. www.simplyinsulate.com
Upgrading inefficient windows, glass doors, or skylights? Ask your supplier for energy-efficient Energy Star windows with double panes and low-emissivity coatings to increase comfort this winter. In cold climates, such windows can reduce your heating bills by 34 percent, compared to uncoated, single-pane windows. www.efficientwindows.org
Refinancing your home or obtaining a home equity loan to remodel? Consider wrapping in energy-efficiency home improvements to your refinancing package. Interest could be tax deductible, and you could reduce your monthly energy bills comfortably.
Next Improve How You Heat Your Home
"Tune up" your heating system. Heating can account for almost half of the average family's winter energy bill . Make sure your furnace or heat pump receives a professional “tune-up” each year. Clean or replace air filters in your forced air heating system once a month to help your unit run more efficiently.
Forget to lower the heat when you leave home for the day? Or tired of awakening to a chilly bedroom? A programmable thermostat will remember for you. It will automatically coordinate your home temperature with your daily and weekend patterns to increase comfort and monetary savings.
Let the sunshine in to help heat your home. Keep blinds or drapes of sun-exposed windows open in the daytime and closed at night to conserve heat. Close unoccupied areas and reduce heat. Close the damper on fireplaces when not in use.
Cut your energy bills by 30 percent. Look for the Energy Star label, the symbol for energy efficiency, when replacing your heating and cooling systems – as well as appliances, lighting, windows, insulation, and home electronics. Find retailers near you at www.energystar.gov
Light Up Your Life – Efficiently
Fire hazard. Popular halogen torchiere lamps are relatively inexpensive to purchase but are expensive to operate and can cause fires. Consider safer, more efficient Energy Star torchiere lamps instead.
Don't like coming home to a dark house on short winter days? Instead of leaving lights on, put timers on a few of the lights in your home, or install motion detectors and daylight sensors. Motion detectors on exterior floodlights improve your home security at a lower operating cost.
“4 for the Planet.” Just replace your four most used 100-watt incandescent bulbs with four comparable 23-watt compact fluorescent bulbs to save $108 over three years. If all U.S. households did this, we'd save as much energy as is produced by 30 power plants annually.
Your mother was right. (“What do you think—we own the power company?!”) Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers.
Think Spring and Tap Free Alliance to Save Energy Booklet
Think “warm” thoughts – steaming apple cider, hot chocolate, and how you'll be sweltering again next summer and dealing with big air conditioning bills if you don't plug the air leaks in your home.
Obtain a free booklet, Power$mart: Easy Tips to Save Money and the Planet, by calling 1-888-878-3256. Preview the animated web version at www.ase.org/powersmart
The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.
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