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How Can I Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Home? (Part 2)

There are numerous things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home, from targeting your home's envelope — walls, attic, windows and doors — to replacing old windows and heating systems (all things we discussed in Part 1 of this series). But what if you're past windows and insulation, and still have more to gain? What comes next?

Update Your Hot Water System

All semi-modern water heaters have two key settings: hot and warm. Start by turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting, lowering it from 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, install low-flow fixtures for showers and baths. This is a meaningful way to reduce water use day after day.

Replace Old Incandescent Lightbulbs with Compact Florescent Lamps (CFLs)

Not to sound like a broken record, but this is one of the most cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades you can make.CFLs save a solid three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. That's an incredible difference!

Take a look at this example: the electricity required to run a lightbulb costs much, much more than the bulb itself. Where are CFL costs only about $2-3, it is designed to last 10,000 hours and use only 27 watts or so to generate as much as a 100-watt incandescent lightbulb. During its life, that incandescent bulb would cost you something like $22 to run.

On the other hand, a 100-watt incandescent bulb may only cost $0.50, but you'd need ten of them (usually $5 for a pack) to last the 10,000 hours of a CFL. In those 10,000 hours, you'd probably use 1,000 kilowatts of electricity — that's more than $80 at a national average price!

Looking for more advice on how to save energy at home? We post new content on this topic on a weekly basis, so stop by frequently. We'll be here!

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