Making Your Home Energy Efficient

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Fidelity Title Phoenix knows that buying or selling a home is a major undertaking, especially financially. We also know that with the rising cost of energy, homeowners are always looking for ways to save money on utilities.

The best way to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to think of your home as a series of systems that work together to create a comfortable living environment. If one system is lacking in efficiency, it can affect the all of the other systems. These simple tips will save you money on energy costs as well as reduce your carbon footprint.

System: The Building Shell

Air leaks in your home’s shell (doors, windows, walls, floors and ceilings) allow outdoor air to infiltrate into your home while conditioned air escapes.  What should you do to avoid this?

  • Seal around doors and windows with weather-stripping and caulk.
  • Seal large gaps around baseboards, light fixtures, vents and pipes with expandable caulk.
  • Install pre-cut foam insulators behind outlets and light switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Shore up the attic insulation to at least 15 inches of R-30 insulation.

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System: Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling your home accounts for about half of your annual energy costs. How can you cut costs?

  • Schedule preventive maintenance for the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. The annual tune-up improves efficiency, reduces emissions, and extends the lifespan of the operating life of the system thus preventing breakdowns.
  • Inspect your HVAC air filter every month and replace the filter regularly.  A dirty filter restricts airflow and allows dust to build up inside the system, reducing efficiency and damaging essential components.
  • Seal loose duct joints and insulate the ducts throughout the system. The typical home loses between 20-40% of air in the ducts through leaks (ACDoctor, 2014).
  • Install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature.  This simple task can save homeowners up to $180 a year on heating and cooling costs (Stuart Pro Air Services, 2014).

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System: Water Heating

Heating water makes up about 18% of your annual utility bill (Bluejay, 2014).  How do you conserve hot water?

  • Flush the water heater tank annually to remove sediment which acts as an insulator between the heating element and the water.
  • Insulate the water heater tank and water pipes to keep and set the thermostat to 120 degrees to save energy.
  • Install low-flow fixtures in your sinks and tubs to reduce hot water consumption.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water and use the shortest cycle on your dishwasher.

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System: Lighting

The type of lighting you use can cost you big bucks throughout the year.  How can you light your home properly while saving money?

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs, which use 75% less electricity and last up to six times longer than incandescent bulbs(Star, 2014).
  • Utilize three way bulbs to give you options on how much light you need.
  • Install dimmer switches controlling the light level of a room.
  • For outdoor lighting, use solar lights that will charge throughout the day and illuminate your landscape efficiently and for no cost to you.

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Improving the energy efficiency of your home and the systems from within will payoff for years to come, both in your utilities savings and in added value should you sell your home.

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