Monday, August 3, 2009

Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t have to cost a lot

Improving your home’s energy efficiency doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, there are a number of home improvement projects you can do yourself with little to no cost. Here are just two simple ways to save on your energy bills:

Seal the gap.
Did you know a 1/8-inch gap around a door is equivalent to a hole in your wall the size of a grapefruit? Caulk, seal and weather-strip around all seams, cracks and openings. Pay special attention around windows and exterior doors, and don’t forget to check places where wires enter your home, i.e. behind your thermostat and wall outlets. Caulking, felt strips with adhesive backing or plastic V-strips with adhesive backing are available at hardware and home improvement stores.

Install ceiling fans.
According to the Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan allows you to raise your thermostat setting about 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort. The airflow from the fans creates a wind-chill effect that helps you feel cooler - by as much as 7 degrees cooler. Because of this, you could see about a 5 percent savings on your cooling bill for each degree you raise your thermostat above the recommended 78 to 80 degrees. And, remember to turn them off when you leave the room.

What projects have you completed around your house? Share your ideas here! Or, learn more about how to save energy by visiting


  1. My foyer is two story. Would a fan help the smaller upstairs unit keep up during the hot afternoons? If so, would it need to blow up or down?

  2. Thank you for your inquiry.

    A ceiling fan should certainly help your two-story foyer feel cooler. Keep in mind that ceiling fans do not cool your home or help your HVAC unit work any less, but only help circulate air and make you feel cooler. Fans create a wind chill effect. Therefore, blade rotation is all about your comfort. Some people prefer that the fan run in a clockwise motion during the summer to help circulate cool air downward. In the winter, a counter-clockwise rotation is often preferred to help circulate the warm air that has risen to the ceiling. Most importantly, since a ceiling fan only makes you feel cooler by circulating cool air, when you have left your home you should turn the ceiling fan off. Every little bit helps!


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