Monday, November 10, 2008

Save some Green by Being Green

Speaking of winterizing your home the other day, here are some tips I found to help keep the warm air in and the cold air out. By making sure that your home is more energy efficient, you can save some money on your gas bill and reduce your ecological impact. Here are some great ways to do this:

1. Find the leaks. Places such as windows, doors and piping entering the building are hot spots for leaks. Seal leaks around doors and windows with weather stripping or caulk, and check around piping and other entries into the building for other leaks to seal.

2. Update your windows! If you can, invest in a new set of insulating windows. If you have older
windows, a good way to insulate them during the colder months is to cover them with clear plastic sheets (inexpensive kits can be found at most hardware stores) or even blankets.

3. Get in the zone. Are there some areas of your home that are not used as much during specific times of the day? If you have multiple thermostats in your house, turn the heat down when you leave an area, or when you leave for work in the morning. Or even better, install setback thermostats. These are thermostats that contain a timer. You can set your heat to turn down when you go to work or are snug in your bed at night.

4. Check if your insulation is adequate. Attics that are not properly insulated are responsible for a large amount of energy loss. Check it out: if you can see your ceiling joists, you need more insulation in your attic.

5. Inspect your heating system. Have your heating system inspected. This should also include vacuuming your vents/ducts and replacing the furnace filter if needed.

6. Walk around. Check the foundation of your house and your roof (use binoculars) for cracks and gaps.

7. Keep it hot. Insulate your hot water heater by wrapping a blanket around it. Also, you can wrap your water pipes in foam pipe covers.

8. Keep it clean. If you have a chimney, have it swept annually and inspected for leaks. Make sure that damper or wood stove doors seal tightly and are closed (except when you have a fire!).

But don't forget that while you are keeping all of the warm air in and the cold air out, it is important to keep the air inside your homes clean and free of harmful particles and toxins. For some tips on how to do that, check out yesterday's post by clicking here.

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