Fall is the time for a home energy makeover

NEW YORK — Renovations that take inventory of energy use and strive toward efficiency have grown increasingly popular over the years.
Homeowners fed up with high utility bills want to conserve costs, and there are a number of ways to revamp a home to be more energy efficient.

Take closer look

The first step in a home energy makeover is to find out where your home is losing money. Certain municipal and environmental agencies offer home assessments, during which they will do a complete walk-through of your home and highlight areas that can be improved.

Private companies also perform energy audits on a home. They may be able to point out appliances, windows or landscaping issues that could be compromising the efficiency of a home.

These people may have a more intimate knowledge of insulation ratings and window efficiency ratings than the average homeowner.
In addition to having an energy audit on your home to save money on utility bills, a professional audit may make you eligible for tax incentives and rebates. That can mean even more savings and may even increase the value of your home.

Start here

Until a thorough energy assessment can be made, there are some easy and relatively inexpensive fixes any homeowner can undertake to help improve energy efficiency.

  • Clean air filters. Trapped dust and debris in a filter makes furnaces and air conditioners work harder. Once filters are free from dust, air can blow more smoothly through the system.
  • Plug leaks. Air leaks could be sucking energy out of your home and money out of your wallet. Once you find any leaks, you can use weather stripping and caulking to seal up breaches and save energy and money.
  • Invest in insulation. Install high-efficiency insulation in attics and between walls to prevent energy loss and keep more warm or cool air in the home. A well-insulated house requires less heating and cooling to keep the temperature indoors stable, and that translates to less money spent on utilities.
  • Swap out light bulbs. Switching bulbs from incandescent to more efficient LED or CFL bulbs can save money in the long run.

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