The lesson from White River Valley Electric Cooperative’s home energy-efficiency makeover is clear. Basic improvements produce substantial savings on energy bills. Even if you don’t have the resources to do a total home makeover, simple, affordable steps reap great benefits. As an added bonus, some improvements, made prior to Dec. 31, 2007, qualify for federal tax credits.
• Seal gaps around windows and doors with caulk. Seek drafty spots in the interior by moistening your hand and running it along the edges of windows, doors, baseboard and inside closets and cabinets. Everywhere you feel cool air, apply clear caulk.
• Replace worn or leaking door seals, weatherstripping and thresholds.
• Replace old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer. The reduced heat from CFL bulbs also cuts air conditioning costs.
• Clean your furnace/air conditioner blower filter at least once each month. Clean the coils on your refrigerators and HVAC equipment regularly.
• Replace an older water heater with a high efficiency model. Set water temperature to 120 degrees. Install a special insulating blanket on water heaters made prior to 2004 (be sure to follow installation instructions).
• Fix any leaky faucets. Insulate hot water pipes.
• Set thermostat a few degrees warmer in summer and cooler in winter. Each degree change saves about 2 percent on your energy bill.
• Add insulation to attics — 12 inches is recommended. Cellulose insulation is best and can be placed on top of existing fiberglass bats.
• Seal leaks in duct work (duct mastic works better than tape). Clean insides of duct work to improve airflow. Reroute ducts out of hot attics.
• Replace your aging refrigerator or freezer. Today’s Energy Star-rated refrigerators use one third the energy of appliances made 15 years ago. Don’t continue to use your old refrigerator!
• Energy Star clothes washers use 40 percent less energy and water, and can cut costs as much as $100 each year.
• Replacing your heating and air conditioning system with the most efficient system possible. A high-efficiency heat pump will save hundreds of dollars a year compared to a forced-air furnace. Better yet, is a ground-source, or geothermal, heat pump, which uses one fourth the energy of a furnace.
For more information about ways to save energy in your home, contact your local electric cooperative.”