Tame the hogs

The Standard Journal - - FOOD - By ED­I­TORS Con­sumer Re­ports

Ever won­der where all of your en­ergy dol­lars go? Know­ing where your home’s big­gest en­ergy sucks are can help you fo­cus your ef­fi­ciency ef­forts, says Con­sumer Re­ports.

Here’s a break­down of en­ergy use and costs in the av­er­age res­i­dence, along with steps you can take to bring your costs in check.

F O RT Y- T H R E E PER­CENT: HEAT­ING

-- If you have a forcedair sys­tem, hav­ing your duct­work sealed by a pro can save you hun­dreds each year be­cause 25 to 40 per­cent of con­di­tioned air (hot and cold) is lost to leaks.

-- Plug drafty win­dows and doors with caulk or weath­er­strip­ping.

-- Ad­e­quately in­su­late the at­tic. The typ­i­cal res­i­dence needs 11 inches of fiber­glass or rock wool, or 8 inches of cel­lu­lose in­su­la­tion.

SIX­TEEN PER­CENT: WA­TER HEAT­ING

-- If your wa­ter heater is among the 41 mil­lion units in the U.S. that are more than 10 years old, con­sider an up­grade. This fall, En­ergy Star is work­ing with util­i­ties and re­tail­ers to of­fer re­bates to con­sumers who make the switch. Go to en­er­gys­tar.gov/wa­ter­heaters.

-- Wash your clothes in cold wa­ter. Con­sumer Re­ports’ top-rated de­ter­gents de­liver su­perb cool­wa­ter clean­ing in its tests.

-- In­stall low-flow faucets and show­er­heads through­out the home. They’ll save wa­ter as well as en­ergy.

NINE PER­CENT: AP­PLI­ANCES

-- Con­sider trad­ing in an older re­frig­er­a­tor. A cur­rent En­ergy Star model uses 50 per­cent less en­ergy than a re­frig­er­a­tor from 2001. Of course, you should re­tire the old model rather than keep­ing it run­ning in the base­ment or garage.

-- Older wash­ing ma­chines are also worth trad­ing in, es­pe­cially af­ter a tougher new fed­eral stan­dard that took ef­fect in March 2015. If your unit is more than 10 years old, it’s cost­ing you about $180 more per year than a new one.

-- Run the dish­washer only when it has a full load, and use the “rinse hold” fea­ture spar­ingly be­cause it uses 3 to 7 gal­lons of hot wa­ter each time.

SEVEN PER­CENT: COOL­ING

-- If your home has cen­tral air that’s more than a decade old, a new sys­tem could be up to 40 per­cent more ef­fi­cient. Work with a rep­utable con­trac­tor who will size the sys­tem cor­rectly; you might be able to down­size if you’ve made other ef­fi­ciency up­grades, such as new at­tic in­su­la­tion.

-- In­stall a pro­gram­mable ther­mo­stat, which can au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just the tem­per­a­ture in your home for max­i­mum sav­ings and com­fort (in sum­mer and win­ter).

-- Don’t re­place win­dows just to save en­ergy. But if your win­dows are fail­ing, choose new ones with a low-E coat­ing that re­flects heat yet lets light in. 15 PER­CENT: OTHER -- Plug your lap­top’s AC adap­tor into a power strip that can be turned off. That saves en­ergy be­cause the trans­former in the adap­tor draws power even when the lap­top isn’t at­tached.

-- If you have a stand­alone freezer with man­ual de­frost, still a com­mon fea­ture, don’t let frost build up more than onequar­ter inch, be­cause that will af­fect the ef­fi­ciency of the unit.

FIVE LIGHT­ING

-- Switch to high-ef­fi­ciency LEDs, which use up to 80 per­cent less en­ergy than tra­di­tional in­can­des­cent bulbs.

-- Place dimmable fix­tures on dim­mer switches. They’ll en­able you to save even more en­ergy by main­tain­ing lower light lev­els.

-- For out­door fix­tures, save en­ergy with a mo­tion sen­sor or a pho­to­cell that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

PER­CENT:

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