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Ways to make your home energy efficient for fall/winter

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If your home or apartment is consuming more energy than your thinning wallet can afford, experts say now is the time to prepare your greedy abode for those costly fall and winter months.

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According to the U.S. Green Building Council, homeowners should make certain the attic and walls in their single dwelling are insulated well to reduce the amount of heat that is required to keep the home warm.

In the event of little, if any, insulation present, homeowners may want to consider cellulose insulation, a plant fiber blown into wall and roof cavities to provide some thermal buffering whenever Jack Frost or Old Man Winter decide to pay an extended visit.

If windows and doors are on their last leg, they should be replaced by affordable Energy Star-rated enclosures to save both power and money.

Should the household budget or personal situation dictate another option, the act of weather-stripping windows and doors remains a cost-effective alternative.

The professionals say homeowners and apartment dwellers need to also replace their 60-to-100-watt bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to save money in the long run. During their lifetime, the total lighting cost for a CFL is less than one-third the total out-of-pocket cost for an incandescent.

Since heating water is the greatest usage of energy in most homes, real estate agent Linda Black told The Argonaut she suggests homeowners wash their laundry in cold water and utilize a clothesline [during sunny days] or an indoor clothes drying rack [placed in a warm area to accelerate the drying process].

Black also recommends that homeowners [and tenants] invest in a water filtration system designed for the home and bottle their own filtered water, rather than depend on store-bought hydration.

And those areas of the home that house hungry plug-in appliances and energy-draining electronics represent perfect places for power strips and surge protectors. Some of these devices have an energy-saving feature that powers down the strip if not in continual use.

For more tips and to learn how to create a more sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings, follow this link.