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RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeEven if you aren’t ready to spend a significant amount of money on renovations, there might be a handful of smaller upgrades that will make your home much more efficient. Carrying out a few of these projects could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a month on your electric, water, and gas bills. Here is a quick look at four steps that you can take to improve your home’s efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Install Low-Flow Fixtures In the average American home, showers account for just over 17 percent of all indoor water use. Installing low-flow showerheads throughout your home could reduce how much water your family uses by thousands of gallons a year. There are also hundreds of low-flow products for kitchen taps, bathroom faucets, toilets, and outdoor spigots. These devices are easy to install, affordable, and extremely effective. Switch to Tankless Water Heaters Traditional water heaters keep huge basins of water warm at all times, and that is very inefficient. If you have a larger family or use multiple fixtures at the same time, then it might take 15 minutes or longer for the fresh water to heat up once the basin has been emptied. Tankless water heaters use just a fraction of the electricity because they only heat up water as it is being used. Smaller tankless water heaters can be installed in strategic areas throughout a home or you can invest in a larger unit for the entire household. Update Your Windows Quite a bit of heat transfer takes place through a home’s windows, and that can wreak havoc on your energy bills. Modern energy-efficient windows are designed to prevent as much heat transfer as possible while still letting in plenty of sunlight. These windows also have a much tighter fit with the nearby walls to prevent unnecessary drafts. When combined with thick drapes, you might be able to reduce your energy bills during the coldest months of the year by a substantial amount. Upgrade Your HVAC System Working with a contractor who can help you optimize your HVAC system is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint. In most states, indoor temperature control accounts for around 48 percent of the average home’s energy consumption. Some companies, like Derek Sawyers Heating and Air Conditioning, know how important it is to maintain your HVAC system. In addition to upgrading your HVAC system as it gets older, one of these contractors can also help you carry out seasonal maintenance. This will keep your furnace and air conditioner running smoothly. One of the best ways to track your progress on this journey is to schedule regular home energy audits. An inspector can carefully look over your property to determine where improvements need to be made and what upgrades will have the greatest return on investment.
Many people are surprised to learn that the air inside of their homes can contain more contaminants than the air outside near a busy freeway or factory. According to Indoor Air Quality, Inc., 96 percent of homes have at least one indoor air quality problem. Ventilation Ventilation is essential to your indoor air quality. When cooking, use the exhaust fan on the range hood to disperse the steam and odors. It is also a good idea to turn on the fan or open a window when showering. Letting the steam out helps to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. If you do hobbies that involve volatile organic compounds such as glues and paints, open a window or use a fan to push the airborne pollutants outside. Do not allow anyone to smoke inside of your house, because the contaminants from smoking can stick onto your windows, walls, flooring, upholstered furniture and curtains. Charcoal Air Filters If odors are a problem in your home, charcoal air filters can help to eliminate them. These filters work well if you have pets in your home. You can buy activated charcoal air filters to get rid of musty smells in a basement recreation area. The charcoal filters fit into your home's air blower, furnace or air conditioning unit. Be sure to replace it every three months for the best results. UV Filters During cold and flu season, you and your family could share germs from sneezing and coughing into the air. Installing a UV light system into your air blower can eliminate the bacteria and viruses that make you sick. These lights eradicate germs as the blower propels the heated air through your air ducts and into the living spaces of your home. They can be used with any forced air heating system. Vacuum Filters If your home has any carpeting, vacuum filters are essential to getting rid of dust and dust mites. Dust and dust mites are a major contributor to indoor air quality problems. They may also trigger allergies and asthma. Make sure that your vacuum is outfitted with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Also make sure that people take their shoes off before coming in. This helps reduce the dirt and dust that gets on the carpet. Indoor air quality has direct impacts on your health. Using filters can help to get rid of many air pollutants. By cleaning up the air, you can breathe more easily.