Missed Home-Energy Savings

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A survey of more than 2,000 Americans by the Consumer Reports National Research Center shows nearly half of those polled don't make a habit of lowering their thermostat overnight or when they leave the house.

That's just one of several energy-saving moves that can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

"Roughly 50% of residential energy bills go towards heating and cooling," said Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports says you can save about $550 a year in energy costs of you know where to look.

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

"You can check for air leaks with an incense stick. First, turn on an 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," said DiClerico.

Next-the insulation.

A Consumer Reports' survey found only 12& 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," said DiClerico.

Also, make sure your existing insulation is thick enough.

For fiberglass or rock wool, you want at least 11 inches of insulation.

For cellulose-you want eight inches or more.

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

"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," said DiClerico.

How and when you wash your laundry can add up to more energy savings, too.

It turns out only 38 percent of people surveyed by Consumer Reports always wash their clothes in cold water.

That can save you up to $60 a year.

But most people-73%-do wait to run a full load in the washing machine.

That's another way to cut your costs.

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