This Winter Keep the Heat Indoors with Five Easy Energy Star TipsWASHINGTON - With cold weather setting in across the United States, homeowners are looking for ways to heat their homes while reducing their energy bills to save money. The average family spends $2,200 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star program offers five easy energy saving tips that can help families stay warm while keeping money in their wallets. In addition to saving money, reducing energy use at home can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change.
This winter season, follow these five tips to help you save money on heating bills, keep your home comfortable, and protect the environment:
1. Assess your home @ energystar.gov. Start with the Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home's energy use to similar homes across the country and see how your home measures up. Then, use our Home Energy Advisor to get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.
2. Seal air leaks in your home. Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation.
3. Maintain heating equipment. Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of heating system failure. To maintain your equipment, check your system's air filter every month and change it if it is dirty. At a minimum, change it every three months. Schedule pre-season checkups for your equipment with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.
4. Use a programmable thermostat. Control your home's temperature while you're away or asleep by using one of the convenient pre-programmed settings on a programmable thermostat. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 every year in energy costs.
5. Look for Energy Star qualified products. Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, Energy Star qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Also, look to EPA's Energy Star program for advice on other ways you can save at home such as using power strips as a central turn-off point for electronics and office equipment, making sure computers and monitors are powered down when not in use, and reversing the blade rotation on ceiling fans to help spread warm air around a room.
If every American household followed these heating and cooling tips, they could save $14 billion in annual energy costs and prevent more than 160 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the annual emissions from 14 million cars.
More information: http://www.energystar.gov/heatingtips
Posted: December 9, 2010
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