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Cost effective ways to raise energy efficiency

Author: Marv Shidler
Last updated: April 5, 2009

Change furnace filter every three months or as specifierd

A clean filter allows better circulation of air and thus allows the system to work less aggressively to maintain your temperature setting.

Have furnace serviced once a year

Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Clean the refrigerator condenser coils and fan twice a year

The condenser coils are what keep the refrigerator cold. If they are clogged with dirt, they can't work efficiently, thus causing the motor to overwork, decreasing its life and increasing your electric bill.

Install a water heater insulation blanket

Water heaters are programmed to keep 40-50 gallons at between 130-140 degrees (24-7). Installing an insulation blanket will help it maintain that temperature longer thus requiring it to work less.

Inspect window sills, door sills, and jambs for air leaks

Up to 40% of heat loss is due to air leaking through windows and doors. Timely application of caulk and/or weatherstripping products can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

Make sure your home has adequate attic insulation

Up to 40% of a house's heat loss is through the ceiling and attic. Proper attic insulation (ie. R-49 as recommended for the Cincinnati area by the Department of Energy) can save substantially on your energy bills.

Note: As an example, for loose fiberglass to equal R-49, you need approximately 19-20 inches.

Other Tips

Install low-flow showerheads

Install a thermostat that will automatically lower nighttime temperatures

Use ceiling fans to circulate air in the house, keeping the air mixed

Seal flues in unused fireplaces

Visit the Department of Energy's website at www.homeenergysaver.lbl.gov and conduct an “energy audit” of your home to evaluate your heating system's efficiency.