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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogSpring brings sunshine and warmer weather, and this means it is a good time to evaluate your home for energy efficiency. Drafts and other issues can mean higher electric and gas bills all year long, but there are steps you can take to ensure your comfort and savings. Here are things to do right away. Check your Water Heater Turning the temperature down just a few degrees can save you money. In addition, if you haven’t had the tank flushed in a while, now is a good time to do it. Sediment in the bottom of the tank reduces efficiency because it can block the heating element, in addition to other problems the sediment can cause. Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Schedule a seasonal preventive maintenance visit with a local HVAC company such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. A technician will inspect your AC to make sure components are clean, and in good repair, which is necessary for the most energy efficiency once the cooling season is in full swing. Dirty or poorly maintained systems use extra energy to keep your home cool. Check Your Windows Wet your hand and move it slowly around the window frame to check for drafts. Sometimes winter weather causes things to shift, including weatherproofing, and you might need to re-caulk or add weather-stripping. For even more energy efficiency, purchase solar curtains if you don’t already have them up. They help block any residual drafts and they keep the hot afternoon sun from raising indoor temperatures too much. The cooler you can keep your house through methods like this, the less electricity your air conditioner will use. Check the Attic A hot attic leads to a hot house if you don’t have the right amount of insulation or the insulation has been damaged through pest activity or moisture. Even if you had it checked before winter, it is a good idea to recheck it in case the roof leaked or other problems occurred. Invest in Fans Fans make the air feel cooler because they help move heat away from the surface of the skin. This allows you to put off using your air conditioner for longer or keep your thermostat set higher to reduce energy usage. Ceiling fans are best, but any fan will help. When you do all you can in spring to make your home more efficient, you will have less to do in the heat of summer. In addition, you should see energy savings quickly. It is easy to imagine all the other things that saved money can be used for this season.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogWhen the weather cools down, the inside of homes starts heating up. At least, that's how it's supposed to be. If the only thing that seems to be getting hotter in your home is your heating bill, it might be time to take a look around and see where you can make room for more energy efficient heating. Is Your Home Letting Heat Escape? No matter how powerful your heating system is, your home is still cold if all that heat keeps escaping. Odds are good your home isn't as heat-efficient as you think; leaky walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows all allow heat to escape. Caulk, foam or weather-stripping can be used, depending on location, to secure any suspected leaks. Is Your Furnace Working Like It Should? If you use a furnace to heat your home, make sure it's in good working repair. A faulty, dirty or old furnace isn't just a possible culprit of poor home heating, it can also be a danger to the home via fires or gas leaks. Companies like Customs Services have professional furnace repair technicians available to review the condition and safety of a furnace and provides any necessary repairs and tips to keep your furnace working well all winter long. Are You Using Solar Heating? The sun is an always-on source of heat that never breaks down. South-facing windows let in warm sunlight, and interior surfaces such as concrete floors and plaster or brick walls absorb the heat and gradually release it during the evenings. If such modifications aren't possible, just apply thick curtains to your windows and leave them open during the day and shut them at night. Warmth comes in and doesn't blow back out. Are You Losing Heat from Mini-Drafts? If you have a mail slot, a pet door or just a large gap under an exterior door, you're losing heat in mini-drafts. Line door flaps leading to the outside with thick fabric, like wool or fleece, to prevent this. Door gaps are still best handled by an old-fashioned "sausage dog", or wrapped tube of fabric that blocks the gap. It's easy to make your own with some tights and old socks, if desired. While major modifications are one way to approach getting huge energy savings and a warmer home in winter, don't feel like you need a renovation to stay cozy. Simple tricks and awareness of how your home collects and retains heat go a long way to keeping the cold outside where it belongs.