Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: How’s Your Energy Efficiency?

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
2 Comments » | Published in Green Design, Green Products  |  2 Comments

It’s getting chilly outside. Winter is the time of year where it’s too easy to waste all kinds of energy and it can cost you a lot of extra dollars. There are a few quick and easy things you can do that will save you a big bucks. Start with an online survey from The U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver. If you have a few more bucks set aside now to save a lot later, consider having someone audit your house. The Building Performance Institute Inc. can help you find a local contractor who has been certified to audit your home here.

If you are raring to put a few items on the honey-do list this weekend here are a few quick and easy energy saving moves you can do yourself:

1) Install a programmable thermostat.

2) Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket (this will run you about $20). Make sure your water heater is at a low setting (usually a little lever near the bottom – even I was able to find this sucker, and I’m terrible at this stuff).

3) Add weather stripping to your windows and doors where needed (you know where you’ve felt a draft coming in – every time you feel it, imaging the dollars slipping right out those cracks.

4) Have your HVAC equipment serviced. Last time I had someone out, they let me know that some shrubs around my A/C unit were making it work twice as hard and once they were gone it saved me a ton.

5) Purely a money saver: If you are not locked in at a good per-therm rate and you use natural gas, call the gas company to lock in a good rate per-therm. Call around to a few to find out their best deal – if you don’t want to switch, your current company will likely match the lowest rate you find in order to keep your business. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t locked in last year; when I finally locked in a rate, I cut my gas bill by 50%!

About Becky

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!

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  1. Emily says:

    October 19th, 2010 at 2:47 pm (#)

    As someone who just recently had an energy audit done (for free! paid for by the energy company, through a 3rd party!) and got a lot of free junk (plastic for the windows, CFLs, water heater blanket, foam for behind outlets, foam to put around pipes, on and on), I’m looking forward to trying to save some $$ this winter on heating. Because my place is old and the furnace is ancient and Montana winters don’t come cheap. The programmable thermostat that we just installed will be free after a rebate. We’re well on our way.

    But one word of caution – don’t turn down the water heater TOO low. Apparently some genius was trying to save money at some point and turned ours down too low to kill bacteria in the tank. Ew.

  2. Becky says:

    October 19th, 2010 at 3:18 pm (#)

    Ew! Thanks for the tips and the WARNING! I do have mine on the second-lowest setting, otherwise my showers are tepid at best!

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