Thursday, February 17 2011
TRIMMING COSTS STARTS AT HOME
Many Americans have resolved to cut costs in 2011. One of the best places to start is in your home. There are several low-cost ways to create significant savings on your utility bills throughout the lifetime of your home.
Check for leaks.
Cold air seeping in through your doors and windows and weak spots in your insulation can have a huge impact on your energy costs. Test for these issues by taking infrared images, conducting a blower door test, or simply locating cool air by touch. You can save 10 percent on your energy bill by plugging air leaks with caulking, sealing or weather stripping.
Upgrade your attic insulation.
This simple, inexpensive solution can reduce your home's heating and cooling costs by as much as 30 percent. The recommended insulation level is 12-15 inches, depending on the insulation type.
Take a close look at your windows.
Windows can also account for 10-25 percent of your heating bill in the winter and can kick your air conditioner into overdrive in the summer by letting sunlight in. Consider installing energy-efficient windows to help block solar heat. If that’s not in your budget, simply modifying your window treatments with thicker or longer curtains can also help lower bills too.
Upgrade your appliances.
Swapping out all appliances isn’t realistic for most homeowners, but if you’re in the market for a new washer, dryer or fridge, consider an Energy Star product.
Check your filters.
Dirty filters slow down airflow, making your system work harder to keep your home warm or cool. Clean filters also prevent dust and dirt buildup – an issue that can lead to expensive repairs or system replacement. Filters should be replaced every three months.
Swap old light bulbs for new, energy-efficient ones.
Energy-efficient light bulbs require much less power to provide the same amount of light for a much longer time.
Make small adjustments
to your routine.
-Turn off lights and electronics when
they’re not in use.
-Do laundry and wash dishes in the
evenings instead of midday, when
usage is typically greatest.
-Wash clothes and dishes in hot water,
but rinse them in warm rather than
hot to save heating costs.
-Don't run the dishwasher until it's full
or consider washing dishes by
-Don’t use too many appliances at
the same time.
Picking up on small changes can make a huge impact on electric and energy usage. For more on what you can do to save on home costs, follow Energy Star’s Maintenance Checklist.
When searching for a home service agreement, check to see if plumbing stoppages are included. Sometimes they are not covered at all and other times you may have to pay extra. With a HomeTrust home service agreement, plumbing stoppages are covered under the standard coverage.