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57 Ways To Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself)
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52. Save Energy In Heating And Cooling

fireplace

To save energy in the winter, set thermostats wisely. A nighttime setback of 10 degrees may save as much as 7 percent in fuel. But don’t set back the thermostat in below-zero weather because reheating in the morning takes too long and uses a lot of energy. Also, when you’re on vacation, don’t set the thermostat below 50 degrees F. It can cause your pipes to freeze.

Close unoccupied rooms and partially close registers to keep these rooms cooler—at about 50 degrees F. Close the damper when the fireplace is not in use. Install glass doors on fireplaces to prevent heat from escaping up the flue. An outside opening for air intake to the fireplace will also reduce the amount of house air flowing up the flue when you use your fireplace.

caulking house

Caulk and weatherstrip the house. Sealing air leaks will not make your house too “tight.” There are enough pathways for the entry of fresh air in most homes to eliminate the need to open doors and windows. Also, vent fans in kitchens and baths can provide needed ventilation.
window airconditioner

In summertime, make sure the air conditioner’s compressor-condensor unit is shaded by a building, fence, or plantings. However, allow enough space for air movement around the unit. Shade windows to reduce the heat gain from solar energy. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but tree shade is the most effective.
basement

Close air supply registers in the basement. Also, when the air conditioner is running, close doors on stairwells and room doors on the upper levels to control the downward flow of cooled air. Leave storm windows closed except on windows needed for ventilation.
when does it pay to get a new furnace

Gas and oil furnaces manufactured since 1992 must be at least 78-percent efficient to meet federal regulations, and some units operate in the 90-percent efficiency range. As a general rule, it can pay to replace furnaces made before 1965 because their efficiency is 55 percent or lower. It is not easy to justify replacing a furnace that is 65-percent efficient or more.
window airconditioner

Both window and central air conditioners manufactured since 1992 are more efficient than older units. But as efficiency increases, so does price. Nevertheless, even if you have an older unit that is still operating, you may be justified in replacing it because you could save 30 to 40 percent in operating costs.
heat recovery ventilator

For the most energy-efficient way to ventilate your home, consider a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), also known as an air-to-air heat exchanger. During the summer, the HRV cools the incoming air, reducing the load on the air conditioner. By heating the incoming air during the winter, the HRV reduces the load on the furnace.
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