Heating and cooling a home accounts for more than 44 percent
of the average home's utility bill and is typically the
largest energy expense. To cut down on climate control costs,
homeowners should consider replacing older, less efficient
furnaces or air conditioners with new, state-of-the-art
equipment that surpasses minimum government standards for
energy efficiency. For example, Lennox recently introduced the
Dave Lennox Signature Collection G61V variable speed gas
furnace and the XC21 air conditioner, both of which run at a
low speed 80 percent of the time for maximum efficiency and
can reduce annual energy bills by hundreds of dollars.
Programmable thermostats are another way to maximize energy
efficiency. These devices automatically control the
temperature to use less energy at certain hours of the day,
such as nighttime or when homeowners are away from home.
2) Appliances: Design Matters
Household appliances are responsible for about 20 percent of a
home's energy bill. When shopping for appliances, it's
important to look for Energy Star-labeled products, which
significantly exceed minimum efficiency standards. It's also
important to take design into consideration. For example,
refrigerators with freezers on top use 10 to 15 percent less
energy than side-by-side models. And doing a single, large
load of laundry in a large capacity clothes washer may consume
less energy than multiple loads in a smaller washer. Finally,
when shopping for a clothes dryer, look for one that features
a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine
when the clothes are dry.
3) Water Heating: How Low Can You Go
Heating water is another major energy expenditure and accounts
for approximately 17 percent of a household's energy bill.
Consider insulating the water heater with a water heater
jacket that can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Homeowners also can lower the temperature setting on the water
heater to save energy. Some water heaters come from the
factory already set at 140 degrees or higher, but a setting of
115 degrees can provide comfortable hot water for most uses.
Finally, consider replacing a water heater if the existing one
is more than 10 years old, as it probably is operating at an
efficiency level of 50 percent or lower.
4) Windows: No Pane, No Gain
The energy lost through windows can account for as much as 10
to 25 percent of a home's heating bill. And during the summer,
sunlight streaming through windows can make an air conditioner
work two to three times harder. To maximize a home's energy
efficiency, single-pane windows should be replaced with
double-pane windows. In addition, look for windows that
feature energy efficient high-performance glass. For example,
windows with low-emittance (low-e) coatings can reduce heat
loss, while spectrally selective coatings can reduce heat
5) Lighting: The 25-50 Rule
Switching out traditional incandescent lights with more
efficient fluorescent lighting is a quick and easy way to save
on the electric bill. In fact, by replacing 25 percent of
lights in high-use areas with fluorescents, homeowners can
save about 50 percent on lighting-related energy expenses.
Energy Star-labeled fluorescent lamps also last six to 10
times longer. For exterior lighting, be sure to use compact
fluorescent or high-pressure sodium fixtures, which are more
efficient, and consider motion sensors that operate lights
Lennox Industries' home comfort, indoor air quality and
fireplace products are designed to deliver maximum comfort,
efficiency and functionality, with the most innovative and
reliable features available. In 2005, Lennox Industries was
named Energy Star Manufacturer of the Year by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency for the third consecutive
year. Lennox is the only heating, ventilation and air
conditioning manufacturer to ever be chosen to receive the
award. For more information about Lennox home comfort
Winter Vent Adjustment I have a tip for the winter months. Check the "dryer hose" that's connected to the outer wall. If you disconnect it, you will find quite a breeze that comes into one's home. I disconnect it and cover the outside opening for the cold months. When using the dryer, put an old stocking over it and it will heat and add humidity to the basement or utility room during the dry cold winter months. In spring, place the hose back on the outside opening with duck tape. Note that this is only safe for electric dryers.
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