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If you want to save money this fall by being more energy efficient, you can also reduce your carbon footprint by making changes right at home. A variety of home improvement projects can have a positive impact on your wallet while conserving energy. However, knowing what’s right for you and your home can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Find the Culprits
Conducting a quick home energy assessment will help you discover problem areas throughout your home. Be sure to check for air leaks which are a main source of energy loss. Sealing air leaks and insulating your home in cost effective locations can save up to 20 percent a year in heating and cooling costs. Gaps that leave an incomplete building envelope can be found in every room in the home, so be sure to look around window and door frames, electrical and gas service entrances, outdoor water faucets, where dryer vents or cable lines pass through foundation walls, and where basement walls meet the ceiling or floor. You should also check insulation levels in the attic and basement ceilings, inspect heating and cooling equipment and replace old lighting with energy efficient bulbs.
Once you know what needs to be done, research the projects you plan to tackle. Learn the difference between specific products, understand the steps involved in making the improvement and plan for expenses. The website www.sealyourhome.info offers a “seal it” house tour that shows sources of common air leaks in the home and gives step by step instructions on how to seal them along with suggested products to use. The site also offers an Energy Star calculator that compares your home’s energy consumption to national averages and based on the results, homeowners receive a list of ways to improve their home’s energy efficiency. By knowing where and how to properly seal your home, homeowners can make an informed decision on which simple do-it-yourself projects to tackle and thereby decrease their heating bills. Helpful information is also available from Energy Star (www.energystar.gov) and your local utility company