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Energy Efficiency 1, 2, 3

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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Do you cringe when you open the electric bill? You’re not alone. Energy costs can create quite the sticker shock, particularly with new home owners. If you’re remodeling and looking for ways to reduce your energy costs, take a look around the house. (Also try this quiz from Energy Star to assess whether replacing your refrigerator is a must.)

As you review your energy efficiency, you want to examine the energy usage of your:

  • Furnace
  • Water heater
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Window air conditioners

You may be amazed how much you can boost your energy efficiency by upgrading to new appliances. Many furnaces and water heaters are now 90 percent efficient, compared with the 65 to 75 percent that was common 15 years ago. Today’s window air conditioners have programmable features that allow you to control the temperature (and, thus, energy usage) and turn the appliance off at a preset time.

While you need to spring for the new appliances…$1,200 or so for a water heater alone…the payoff will be there soon.

Home Appliances: What’s the Lifespan?

If you’re considering buying new appliances, you’re may be debating the lifespan. How long will this dishwasher last–9 to 12 years–and should I just replace it at the 8 year mark?

Here’s a good link from Appliance.net that gives lifespan estimates on major appliances and what you should do to maintain them.

Improving Energy Efficiency

There’s no doubt that buying energy efficient products is a good thing. The trick is knowing how much energy efficiency is enough to warrant springing for the new appliance. Here are some tips on the energy efficiency front, including how to cut your energy bill.

This is one case where the details win out. If you find a dishwasher that costs less to operate and offers several new features, the decision is made!

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  1. 2 Responses to “Energy Efficiency 1, 2, 3”

  2. Sep 29, 2010

    Allison, thanks for the great tips on 1, 2, 3 energy efficiency. The Obama Administration also wants you to make your house more energy efficient and they’re willing to pay you for it. That’s great news. Not only can you save money on gas and electric bills, but you can get a nice tax credit for it as well. The tax credits vary according to type of remodeling and how green the project is. Details are available at the Energy Star website.

  3. Jan 17, 2012

    Energy audits are an excellent way to find out where the majority of your home’s energy is being used(or wasted) and see if there are ways to cut down. Simply performing a blower door test will inform you of your home’s air-tightness.

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