Missed Home Energy Savings

4:46 PM, Oct 30, 2009   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Stacey Bergman is serious about cutting energy costs. 

She replaced old appliances with more energy-efficient ones.  She bout a new hot water heater, and opted for more energy efficient CFLs.

"Our bills have gone down," she says.

Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico says those are all good moves, but there's even more you can do to cut your energy bills.

He says, "Roughly 50 percent of residential energy bills go towards heating and cooling."

You can save about $550 a year in energy costs if you know where to look.

First, focus on eliminating any leaks around the doors, windows and electrical outlets.

"You can check for air leaks with an incense stick.  First, turn on the exhaust fan in your home.  Then, light the stick and hold it up to any openings.  If smoke starts to blow horizontally, you've got a leak."

Next, the insulation.  A Consumer Reports survey found only 12 percent of homeowners have added or upgraded their insulation in the last three years.

"A good place to start is in the attic.  Look for missing insulation where heat can escape, including above the attic hatch door," he says.

Also, make sure your existing insulation is thick enough.  For fiberglass or rock wool, you'll want at least 11 inches of insulation, eight inches or more for cellulose.

And, don't forget to insulate your plumbing and ductwork, too.

Dan says, "In our survey, only five percent of people insulated their heating and cooling ductwork.  Now, it could cost you about $500 to hire someone to do your ducts, but you could end up saving $400 a year.

Also, how and when you wash your laundry can add up to more savings, too.

It turns out 38 percent of survey participants always wash their clothes in cold water.  And, that can save you up to $60 a year.

But most people, 73 percent, cut their full costs by waiting to run a full load to wash.

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