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Four Home Energy Inefficiencies You Can Remedy This Weekend for $100 or Less

Posted Aug 23 2012 6:00am

Turning a standard home into a pillar of energy efficiency is often thought to be an expensive and time-consuming process, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, there are plenty of easy ways to “green” a home that are both cost-effective and able to be done on any average weekend. Best of all, this do-it-yourself projects are almost too easy to complete, making them perfect for homeowners of all skill levels.

In particular, there are four quick and cost-effective ways to green a home and begin saving immediately on energy costs and the household’s overall carbon footprint.

Energy Efficient Home

Example of an energy efficient home.

There is perhaps no bigger energy inefficiency than a light left on in an abandoned room of the home. These languishing lightbulbs waste energy, create heat, and run up utility bills, largely for no reason other than one of the home’s residents forgot to flip a switch upon exiting the room. While most homeowners will try to teach their children and loved ones to be more responsible when leaving a room, most will turn to an increasingly affordable technology: motion detecting sensors attached to the home’s lights .

Whether used indoors or outside, these motion sensors now cost no more than $20 in most instances, and they’re as easy to replace as changing a standard home’s light switches. That means it will likely take no more than half an hour to turn a problematic lightbulb into an energy-efficient implementation.

The programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to save energy and lower utility bills when pursuing eco-friendly projects in the home. These thermostats have an internal clock, and they can be set to heat or cool the home to different temperatures at varying points throughout the day. If everyone is at work or school, they can stop heating or cooling a home.

Shortly before everybody arrives home after a busy day, the thermostat can begin heating or cooling the home to the ideal level, saving a day’s worth of energy without sacrificing any real comfort. Near this blogger, most new Bergen county construction has been designed specifically for programmable thermostats, saving customers large sums of money over the course of a typical year.

Leaking doors, windows, and even sink fixtures, can contribute significantly to how much energy a home uses each year. Fixing these leaks is actually pretty simple; homeowners will need to pick up some weather-stripping, caulk, and tape, and then search every window, door jamb, and sink throughout the home for any signs of trouble. Each quick will be quick and easy, and the savings on each utility bill will be dramatic and instantly noticeable.

Water heaters are excellent at keeping a home’s water ready for hot showers, perfect dishwasher results, and plenty of clean hands. But they’re also good and wasting a great deal of energy as they heat water and keep it at a suitable temperature. In addition to ensuring that a home’s water heater isn’t making things hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s also important to make sure that no heat is being released by the heater — and thus wasting energy.

The best way to ensure energy efficiency is to pretend the water heater is a person trying to keep warmth in. Typically, that’s done with blankets. It’s done this way with water heaters, too, which can be wrapped with a thermal blanket made of denim and foil. This will keep the water’s heat from escaping through the heater’s metal or fiberglass exterior. And, because the water heater has to spend less energy on the water’s temperature, it will save a great deal of money when homeowners get their next utility bill in the mail.

Turning a standard home into one with a much smaller carbon footprint isn’t all about wind-powered energy, solar panels , and recycled building materials. While those things are all good ideas, and they should be pursued by every homeowner, sometimes it’s the smaller fixes that yield much more immediate, appreciable results.

Whether it’s working to better insulate the home’s water heater, fixing its leaky windows or doors, or even replacing standard light switches with motion sensors, going green can be as quick and easy as a typical weekend project. With the right tools, a few extra hours, and the determination to go green, homeowners can find themselves saving a large amount of money — and energy — each year.

Image credit:  Attribution   Some rights reserved  by  ARNOLD Masonry and Concrete


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