Thursday, December 29, 2011

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green -Winterizing the Home

Remember the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

With winter's arrival why not give some of these Do It Yourself (DIY) projects a try? The installation costs should easily be recouped with improved efficiency or later if you decide to sell your home. You'll be saving cash and going green at the same time.

1. Replace Your Showerhead

Install a new showerhead, and you could save more than 2,300 gallons of water annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Using less hot water will cut your energy bills, and your local utilities may provide a rebate, too. EPA vouches that models labeled WaterSense provide a satisfying shower. Your showerhead is a water-waster if it fills a gallon bucket in 20 seconds. Estimated Cost: $10 to $60

2. Add Aerators to Your Faucets

You can save another 500 gallons of water annually simply by replacing a standard aerator, which delivers more than 2.5 gallons per minute, with a low-flow one, with a flow of 0.5 to 1 gallon per minute. The low-flow aerators will cut water and energy usage while maintaining adequate water pressure. Estimated Cost: $2 to $10

3. Install a Water-Efficient Toilet

EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces a home's older toilets with WaterSense labeled models will, on average, save more than $90 annually on their water bill and $2,000 over the toilet's lifetime. For how to install tips go to ‘Bob Vila can help you’ online or you can hire a contractor for about $150. Estimated Cost: $200 or more

4. Switch to CFLs

As the days get shorter, we usually keep the lights on longer. If you have not already done this in your home now is a good time to switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Energy-Star qualified CFLs use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescents.

Start with your five most frequently used fixtures and you can save more than $65 annually. The good news is that the CFL bulbs last for several years and seldom have to be replaced.Estimated Cost: $2 to $15 for specialty bulbs

5. Install a Programmable Thermostat

With a programmable thermostat you can preset temperatures for your home that will automatically reduce heating and cooling when you don't need it as much. Energy Star says an average household can save about $180 annually on their energy bills by properly setting the programmable thermostat and maintaining those settings.

There is a low-voltage wiring installation that will involve 2 to 10 wires. If you don't feel comfortable following the instructions, a heating-and-air-conditioning contractor will probably charge you $75 to $150 for installation. Estimated Cost: $25 to $250

6. Stop Chimney Drafts

Even with the damper closed, in winter your home's heated air goes up the chimney and in summer hot outdoor air comes down. When you are not using your fireplace, plug the flue with a chimney balloon like the Draftstopper from Battic Door Energy Conservation Products.

For a really cheap alternative, you can make one out of an old seat cushion or a pillow placed in a heavy plastic bag. Stuff the cushion into the flue and tie a long tail to it, so you don't forget about it the next time you make a fire. J Estimated Cost: $55 for ready-made draft stopper

As we gradually change our habits of wasteful consumption we are simultaneously saving money and the environment.

”Don’t forget, “together we can make a difference!”


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