This is the second in a three part series with some tips from Fidelity National Home Warranty on things to consider when going green. 

Dishwasher 

  • Consider replacing the dishwasher with an ENERGY STAR® dishwasher. These require an average of 4 gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink. Using one will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time each year. 

Refrigerator 

  • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need adjusting, the seal may need replacing, or you might want to consider buying a new energy efficient unit. Consider replacing the refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® unit. Most any refrigerator made before 2000 is an energy waster compared to today's most efficient models. 

Oven and Cooktop 

  • Check the seal on your oven door for cracks or tears. Even a small tear or gap can allow heat to escape. 
  • Replace old and worn cooktop burners with new ones—they will reflect the heat better and save energy. If you need new ones, buy quality. The best on the market can save as much as 1/3 of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove! 
  • Consider using gas. A gas stove costs less than half as much to operate as an electric one, provided it is equipped with electronic ignition instead of a pilot light. The electronic pilotless ignitions reduce gas usage by about 30% over a constantly burning pilot light. 
  • If you don’t have one, consider buying a self-cleaning oven. They use less energy for normal cooking because of higher insulation levels. 
  • Consider a convection oven. Convection ovens distribute heat more evenly than ordinary ovens, so cooking time and cooking temperatures can be reduced, cutting energy use by about a third, on average. 

Heating, Cooling and Lighting 

  • Replace as many light bulbs as you can with compact fluorescent light bulbs. You’ll get more light and use less energy. 
  • Install a programmable thermostat. You can save as much as 10% on heating and cooling bills a year. 
  • Install ENERGY STAR® ceiling fan/light combination units. ENERGY STAR® rated ceiling fan/light combination units are about 50% more efficient than conventional units and can save approximately $10 per year. 
  • Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap, or use mastic sealant. 
  • Insulate ceilings to R-30 standards if your attic has less than R-19. 
  • Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air leaks in or out. Do not caulk around the water heater and furnace exhaust pipes. 
  • Weatherstrip around windows and doors. 
  • Replace old windows with new high performance dual pane windows. Select windows with air leak ratings of 0.3 cubic feet per minute or less. 
  • If your old air conditioner/heating unit is on its way out, replace it with an ENERGY STAR® labeled energy efficient model. 

Around the House 

  • Install Solar Panels. You can also invest in a small solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system. This system has solar panels that collect the sun’s energy and convert it into usable electricity for your home. Solar panels are advanced enough to follow the sun throughout the day, but in general, they produce less energy when there is less sun. 
  • For indoor paint jobs, use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints to create a healthy and attractive home. More and more paint lines are ordering selections to meet every aesthetic.

 

Before purchasing any of these items for your home, check with your local gas and electric company for possible tax credits and rebates. Also check with federal, state, and local government agencies. Estimate your potential savings by using one of the many online free energy audit calculators and if you need to buy appliances consider ENERGY STAR® rated appliances. You can get more detailed information about the ENERGY STAR® program on their [web site] as well as a list of products that qualify for rebates. 

 

Please don't hesitate to contact the Kelsey Lane Real Estate team if you have questions or if you would like some guidance on which home improvements will be best for you. 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GOING GREEN:

 

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Information provided by Fidelity National Home Warranty: www.homewarranty.com