Going Green Is Not Just Cool But Will Save Major Money by Natalie Bergman

Reducing your home’s carbon footprint by going “green” is not simply socially cool, it will also save money on your utility bills. Start by performing your own energy audit: look for the culprits that can be causing a lot of energy waste.

Your energy audit should include the following evaluation:
1. Air leaks: look for cracks, openings or drafts that are causing cold air to seep in and warm air to leak out. Check windows and door frames, openings from outside where pipes and circuits enter the home and insulation in the attic.

2. Condition of water heater and heating/cooling compressors and filters

3. Ductwork for signs of cracks or wear and tear

4. Air filters for level of dust build-up

Remedies:

1. Patch and caulk around cracks and openings

2. Consider switching windows from single-pane to double-pane windows

3. Caulk and repair door framing and/or replace the door with a more energy-efficient model.

4. Switch to CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent bulbs) wherever possible throughout your home

5. Install low-flow kitchen faucets, shower heads and toilets

6. Turn off/unplug appliances when not in use

7. Ditch the old refrigerator in the garage that consumes ridiculous amounts of energy keeping your beer or soda cold.

8. Replace old appliances with new energy-saver devices. If you are in the market for a new fridge, stove, washer/dryer or dishwasher, check out the website http://www.energysavers.gov

9. Limit watering of your garden areas and water during the early hours of the morning or in the evening when evaporation is reduced.

10. Replace air conditioning filters 2 or more times a year depending on how quickly the filter gets filled up with dust. Keeping a functional air filter in place will maintain the life of your air conditioner.

11. When your water heater is reaching the end of its life, consider investing in a tankless water heater. These units have come down in price and provide you with virtually limitless hot water supply. They only heat the water you need as you need it, so there is no wasted energy spent on keeping a tank of water heated around the clock.

12. Hire an HVAC company to come in annually and clean the ductwork of your central air conditioning system to prevent dust buildup.

The website http://www.energysavers.gov provides lots of do-it-yourself options to go green and save money in your home.

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