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Efficient and Effective Use of Energy

The confetti has settled on another holiday season. It’s still early, but if you’re still going strong with your New Year’s resolution, congratulations—they can be challenging. And there’s a phrase out there that says, “Good things don’t come easy.” But using energy efficiently is a good thing thatcan come easy. Here are some simple things you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

Lighting: Perhaps one of the easiest ways to increase energy efficiency. It can be as simple as changing a light bulb. Literally.

  • Upgrade to CFLs or LEDs. They come in a wide variety and are more versatile than ever. Both are far more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also last much longer, which cuts down on the chore of changing them out.
  • For outdoor lighting, use photocell units, which automatically turn on when it gets dark. Motion sensor lighting is another great option. A combined motion sensor and photocell unit is the best of both worlds.
  • Keep lighting levels low when brighter light isn’t necessary. Mood lighting is efficient lighting!

Heating and cooling: Avoiding air leaks can go a long way in keeping your home a comfortable temperature efficiently, especially as we find ourselves in the middle of the coldest months of the year.

  • Having proper insulation in attics, crawlspaces and other areas can help cut home energy bills significantly. Think of it as a blanket for your home!
  • Windows are frequent culprits of pesky air leaks. Stop the bleeding with caulk, sealing or weather stripping.
  • Clean or change your furnace filters once a month, or as needed.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use. Chimneys are designed to allow smoke to escape. Unless dampers are closed in the winter, it’s warm air that will do the escaping. Don’t let it.

Water heating: A hot shower or bath on a cold day is one of life’s simple pleasures. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your water heating.

  • Insulate the first six feet of the cold and hot water pipes connected to your water heater.
  • Drain a quart of water from your unit every three months. Doing so removes sediments that hinder in the way of efficient heating. Procedures vary among water heaters, so follow the advice of the manufacturer.
  • It’s to your energy advantage to wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. As a bonus, doing so makes it feel like you’re doing chores less often.
  • When the time comes to replace your water heater, choose an ENERGY STAR-qualified unit. This advice applies to a wide range of appliances, and other electronic devices.

This list is anything but comprehensive. Visit for more easy DIY tips and advice to get the most out of your energy. And of course, happy New Year to you and your family!