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Reduce Your Ecological Footprint: Ways to Use Less Energy in Your Home

HannahWhittenly

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When you want to reduce your carbon footprint, the best place to start at home is with the HVAC equipment and your water heater. These two use the most energy in the typical home and with maintenance, can use measurably less. You can also make a lasting improvement by air sealing your home and increasing its insulation. 

Maintain Your HVAC System 
Chances are, your furnace and air conditioner are the most energy-hungry appliances in your home. You can easily reduce how much energy they use by keeping the air filter clean on a regular basis. A dirty filter slows the air flowing through the air handler and increases your bills. Professional maintenance also helps. As your HVAC system run, it creates vibrations that loosen some of the parts. Dust also collects inside, especially if you don’t change the filter. An HVAC pro will clean and adjust all the parts and make sure everything is working as it should. Not only will it cut your power and fuel bills, your system will last longer. 

Don’t Forget the Water Heater 
A lot of homeowners aren’t aware that they need to maintain the water heater by flushing a few gallons from the bottom of the tank twice a year. If it’s equipped, you also need to monitor the sacrificial anode rod inside the tank. The rod attracts the same substances that eat away the metal in your tank, protecting it from corrosion. If yours has such a rod, you’ll see a nut at the top of the tank that you can loosen. When you pull up the rod, you’ll see how much is left. If it’s short and thin, it’s time for you or your plumber to replace it. Upgrading to a tankless water heater may also allow for greater energy efficiency as newer appliances are more up to date on latest technology.

Seal the Air Leaks and Add Insulation 
Until you make your home draft-free, you’ll be spending more necessary to keep it comfortable year-round. Look for cracks around the window frames and daylight between your exterior doors. Acrylic caulk and weather-stripping will stop the air infiltration. Expanding foam will seal larger holes around pipes and wires. Additional attic insulation prevents heat from leaving your home in the winter and entering in the summer. Homes in this region should have at least 10 inches in the attic. Some do-it-yourselfers are comfortable working in the attic to add more. But even if you have to pay a contractor, both air sealing and enhanced insulation have high paybacks and last for years. 

Bottom Line 
Paying attention to the condition of these major appliances will cut your ecological footprint and keep money in your pocket. Each of these tips also helps you save money and energy on a continuous basis.

Make sure to recycle and keep the Earth clean. This is the only planet we have, and we must take care of it if we want to survive as a species.


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