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Does My Roof Need Ventilation?

One of the most overlooked aspects of installing a new roof on homes today is the need for roof ventilation. Whether you deal with extreme heat or extreme cold for some or all of the year or whatever part of the country you live in, you need roof ventilation in your home.

Cold Climate Ventilation Needs
In cooler climates, where winters are long and cold, you need roof ventilation as a preventative tool for avoiding ice dams, which can cause a great deal of damage to your roof in the winter months. This damage includes  moisture entering your home in addition to the structural damage ice dams can create.

Hot Climate Roof Ventilation Needs
In hot climates, roof ventilation is an essential tool for eliminating excessively stifling air that is often trapped in your home’s attic space. This super-heated air often forces your air conditioning to work harder than necessary shortening the life of your air-conditioning unit and generating much higher utility bills throughout the dog days of summer.

In humid climates, moisture is another problem that plagues homeowners – especially when roof ventilation is inadequate for the task. These are all things you need to keep in mind when building, buying, and updating your home.

Other Reasons to Invest in Roof Ventilation
Additionally, roof ventilation helps to reduce condensation and moisture that builds up on the underside of your roof’s sheathing. This helps to prevent mold and mildew from becoming problems that plague your family’s health and damage the structure of your home. Secondly, adequate roof ventilation can help your shingles last longer – saving you thousands of dollars in roof replacement costs.

Getting Proper Roof Ventilation
Since most homes in the United States are in climates that are either warm or cold – and in many cases both according to the season – it is a wise idea for all homeowners to consider innovative ways to improve roof ventilation when building or making energy efficient upgrades to the home. The key is to get the right amount of ventilation in your roof for the size and location of your home (specifically the climate in which you live) and to supplement the roof ventilation with other tools to help clear the heat and moisture from your attic spaces like insulation and an attic fan.

Combining the power of adequate roof ventilation with other tools like insulation and an attic fan can help you save countless dollars in roof replacements, roof repairs, air conditioner repairs, and utility bills year after year – enough to make your investment pay for itself in short order.

10 Ways to Winterize Your Garage

When cold weather hits, most people take all the necessary precautions to winterize their home so the warm air stays in and the cold air stays out. However, what about your garage? The garage is often forgotten space, but if you don’t winterize this space as well, it can impact the temperature of your home dramatically.

Below are 10 ways to winterize your garage from the effects of winter.

  1. Insulate your Garage
    Garages aren’t built to keep the heat in and this can cause problems for some people during the winter. Some garage temperatures can even get as cold as the outdoor temperatures and this isn’t good if you store things in your garage. One way to keep the heat in your garage when it’s freezing cold outside is to insulate its walls and doors.
  2. Fix or Replace Weather-stripping
    The job of weather-stripping is to create a seal between your garage door opening and your garage door. But, weather-stripping can become cracked and brittle over time which allows air to seep in between the frame and door creating cold drafts. Remove old weather-stripping and scrape the remaining off using a putty knife or scraper. The smoother and cleaner you make it, the simpler it will be to add new weather-stripping, and you’ll create a better seal.
  3. Cover Exposed Pipes
    You may end up with additional unwanted problems inside and outside your house if you have a water pipe burst. Wrap your exposed pipes with foam or plastic pipe wrap to insulate them. Save a little money by wrapping them up with old towels or newspapers instead and securing them with duct tape. Shut off pipes that travel from inside or outdoor water lines and purge them before the temperatures outdoors get below freezing.
  4. Check for Debris in your Garage Door Track
    Get rid of any grease, debris, or dirt buildup from your garage door track. You may want to check things like the handles, hinges and latches for rust build up or loose screws.
  5. Install a Heater
    Although a costly item, you can regulate your garage’s temperature by installing a heater. It’s a good investment if you store temperature-sensitive items in your garage or you work in your garage often.
  6. Waterproof the Floor of your Garage
    The minute you see flurries falling from the sky this winter, you’re just around the corner of dragging in snow, sludge, and salt into your garage. Consider waterproofing your garage floor before this happens to protect it.
  7. Caulk around the Door of your Garage
    Although it may seem intimidating to you if you haven’t done it before, caulking around your garage door is pretty much the same as caulking your windows.
  8. Install a Weather Seal
    Consider installing a seal at the threshold where the ground and your garage door meet. Not only will you keep the cold out of your garage, but you’ll keep out all the insects, rain and any other thing that can make its way underneath your garage door.
  9. Installing a Garage Exhaust Fan
    A garage is a common place for many home improvement projects. Therefore, you should protect your hard work by installing a garage exhaust fan. This fan will provide the proper ventilation your garage needs for those upcoming winter snow storms that will likely leave your garage filled with gasoline odors from your snow blower.
  10. Get Organized
    To alleviate stress later, get organized now. Put away your summer and spring gear and get your cold-winter supplies ready. Take out your snow blower and shovel. Do you have that bag of salt ready? Being organized can really help get you ready for the upcoming winter months.

If you have questions about the QuietCool GA ES-1500 garage exhaust fan, give us a call at 1.888.229.5757

Is Your Roof at Risk for Ice Dams this Winter?

Winter is almost upon us, and in some parts of the country, it already feels like it is here! This makes it a good time to talk about ice dams.

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the edge of your roof preventing melting snow from properly draining. When the sun shines onto your roof or heat escapes from the inside of your home through the roof and begins melting the snow trapped behind the dam, the water that is backed up behind the ice dam can leak inside your home. This can cause a wide variety of damage in your home including mold, mildew, poor air quality, and structural damage caused by rotting wood.

If your live in an area where snow is a common occurrence, your home is at risk of ice dams. The good news is that there are things you can do that will reduce your risks and help prevent the financial damage, not to mention labor intensive damage, caused by ice dams.

Preventing Ice Dams
When it comes to ice dams, prevention is always the best cure. If you prevent them from happening to begin with, you’ll never need to worry about the destruction they can bring into your home.

Insulate Your Attic
Of course, the other side of that coin is that you need to make sure there is proper insulation between your home and attic to prevent this solution from simply pulling warm air out of your home and into the attic – promoting the formation of ice dams.

Install Attic Fans
Attic fans are essential tools for creating well-ventilated attics. Since adequate ventilation is one of the keys for preventing heat from building up in your attic (aiding the creation of ice dams), they are an outstanding solution for most homeowners.  The added benefit of attic fans is that they create affordable solutions that can help you maintain the structural integrity of your home.

Vent Your Attic
When you have adequate attic ventilation it will draw in cooler air from the outside while releasing the warmer air through the vents. The process serves to cool the attic and the roof in the process.

Act early to prepare your home for winter and prevent ice dams from becoming a problem in your home. If you live in a cooler weather climate where ice and snow are common occurrences, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of prevention, first; and fast action to repair and correct ice dams, second. Keep ice dams away for a happier, healthier home this winter and in the future.


Preparing Your Attic for Winter

When starting to prepare for cooler weather, your attic may not be top priority and you may not even give it a thought. Still, preparing your attic for winter should be one of your first parts of your home improvement efforts to get your home ready for the winter months. Below are some steps to ensure you prepare your attic properly.

Check Insulation
Many people think that ventilating your attic in the cold winter months releases your warm air and decreases your heating efficiency since heat rises. Usually, this happens when you have poor insulation. Your furnace shouldn’t be heating your attic unless your roofing system is designed without ventilation and there’s insulation on your roofing deck. Even worse, when you don’t have adequate insulation, you’re filling your attic up with moisture-laden air.

As moist, warm air hits your roof, there’s a good chance that condensation is going to further deteriorate your wood rot and insulation. If you’re concerned about this, measure your attic temperature when the sun goes down. Hopefully it’ll be fairly close to the temperature outside.

Another fact in winter weather is ice dams; however, you can reduce or eliminate them with proper venting and insulation.

Caulk The Cracks
As you’re inspecting your attic, check out the exterior to see if there are holes, crevices or cracks where air is escaping. It only takes a small hole to place a huge burden on your HVAC system. You should fill attic areas that show the sun shining with caulk. This is an easy and fast solution that prevents thermal energy from escaping your home.

Clear Off Debris
It’s essential that you remove pine needles, leaves and other debris from your roof’s surface and gutters. Even smaller amounts of debris can hold moisture and potentially cause mold or rot breaking down the material of your roof. If you’re experienced and comfortable walking on your roof, you can go up there and blow off or broom off the collection of debris your roof collects. Be sure to get into the valleys since they’re most susceptible to water damage.

Ensure Proper Ventilation
Heated moisture-laden air in the winter from showering, cooking or other everyday activities can find its way inside your attic and can condense on the cold roof structure underside. Sometimes, heat that becomes trapped in your attic ends up melting snow that’s on your roof causing ice dams.

Moisture is the main issue that affects attics in the wintertime. Temperature fluctuations can allow condensation and moisture to form in your attic space and cause damage to your home and personal possessions you store in your attic. Attic fans properly ventilate and remove moist, hot air while introducing drier, cooler air into your attic. This helps prevent the build-up of condensation and keeps your attic dry and clear, avoiding fungus, mold and rot development.

Attic fans improve passive air circulation in your attic if you have sufficient openings for the air to get into your attic. An attic fan will enhance air circulation with proper placement and bring the temperatures of your attic to around 10 degrees of the temperature outdoors.

Hire a weatherization contractor or energy auditor to evaluate the ventilation and insulation in your attic, inspect it and make modifications if needed.


2018 Winter Weather Predictions

Winter is coming. It’s beginning to sound like an endless refrain, but for some people in the U.S. it means it’s time to take heed and begin to prepare – especially if current 2018 winter weather predictions hold true.

The consensus, at this point, is that there will be a La Nina event this winter resulting in above average temperatures for the bulk of the country – with the exception being northern portions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and portions of Minnesota where temperatures will be cooler than normal.

Additionally, however, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a much wetter winter for a fairly significant portion of the country. This means that that snow and ice may become big problems this winter for more than half the country – even in areas where temperatures are slightly above normal. In fact, AccuWeather is predicting above average snowfall for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

Preparing for a Harsher than Average Winter
So what does this mean for homeowners? With so much of the country facing above average snowfall this winter, it is a wise move to review the things you can do to prepare for the frigid days ahead, including the things listed below.

Prevent Ice Dams. It sounds like such a simple thing – and it can be surprisingly simple. The key is to keep the air in your attic spaces circulating well. One way to do that is to install an attic fan. Moving the air in your attic reduces the chances of ice forming on your roof, which can lead to destructive ice dams.

Reduce Energy Expenses. There are several ways you can go about this, including installing a programmable thermostat and adjusting the temp when you’re sleeping and out of the home for the day to save on heating.

Eliminate Drafts. Cover windows and outlets with plastic film, use heavy, wind-blocking drapes, and seal air leaks located around utility outlets and around plumbing.

Stock Up on Winter Essentials. There are some items that are simply essential to have in winter climates. This includes things like extra blankets, socks, hats, gloves, sidewalk salt, kitty litter, etc.  Don’t forget a few extras, like candles, bottled water, convenience foods, and other essentials should the power go out during winter storms.

Preparing your home and your family for a long winter ahead can help you survive the coldest of days should these 2018 winter weather predictions come true. The more you do to prepare ahead of winter, the better placed you will be when the first snowflakes begin to fall.

Pre-Winter Roof Inspection Checklist

Getting ready for winter can be a lot of work. One thing that often gets left off the list of things to do as winter approaches is a thorough inspection of your roof to make sure it is ready for whatever Jack Frost has to throw your way. These are some of the things you need to check for.

Inspect Attic Insulation
The goal is to ensure that the insulation in your attic doesn’t cover vents in the eaves, soffits, or overhangs.  Also make sure any ridge vents are free of debris, leaves, etc. and that rodents haven’t removed the screens that protect your attic vents.

Having ineffective or inadequate attic insulation can lead to a different problem, ice dams. Prevention is the best cure for this particular problem that can not only damage the soundness of your roof, but also cause damage to the structure and interior of your home.

Clean Out Your Gutters
Gutters can collect leaves, limbs, and other debris that will cause the water to back up in the gutters. When this occurs, winter weather can cause the water to freeze and become too heavy, leading the gutters to break and damage your roof.

While you’re cleaning out your gutters, it’s also an appropriate time to seal your gutters, flashings, and downspouts. This adds yet another layer of protection for your home and helps to prevent those oh so damaging ice dams.

Check Your Shingles
If your home has a shingled roof, it is wise to inspect your roof carefully for missing shingles, that could lead to unwanted leaks, as well as to look for signs of leaks, mold, or mildew.

Trim Trees and Limbs
Winter can bring heavy snowfalls to some regions and snow or ice-laden branches can do their own share of damage to your home and its roof. Trim tree branches hanging over your home that may cause damage to your roof if they break and land on top of it.

If you are afraid you don’t know what to look for when conducting a pre-winter roof inspection, considering hiring someone else to come out and inspect your roof for winter. While you’re at it, have them inspect to ensure that you have proper and adequate roof ventilation, such as an attic fan, to help combat much of the damage that can happen to roofs in winter.

Remember, a little helping of prevention before winter hits can save you from very expensive cures when spring comes along.

Signs It’s Time to Replace My Roof

Extreme temperatures, severe weather and old age can all cause wear and tear of your roof. When your roof has damage, it can cause leaks, rot and mold, lower the value of your home or even collapse. By inspecting your roof regularly, you can keep minor problems from turning into bigger ones.

You’ll also avoid having to replace a roof prematurely. However, at some point you’ll need to replace your roof and it’s a good idea to know what signs to look for.

What Are The Signs You Need To Replace Your Roof?
Some signs that it may be time for a roof replacement include:

It’s Old
Often roofs last for around 20 years. Therefore, if it’s been over a couple of decades since you replaced your roof, you may want to start considering putting up a new one. In some cases, roofs can live out their natural lives without experiencing any failures. But if it looks worn and old it’s time to replace it.

Shingles Are Curling
There are two ways that shingles can curl. The first is cupping, which occurs when the shingle edges turn upward. The second is clawing and this is where the middle of the shingles starts coming up and the edges remain flat. Both of these are indications of weathering and that issues are pretty close to occurring.

If your roof is leaking into your attic, you have problems. You may see signs of light streaming in from the sun or water coming in after snow melts or a rainstorm. When you don’t need light to see inside your roof, it could be time to replace your roof.

Roof Valleys
If your shingles on your roof are missing in one area or falling apart, it’s a good sign it’s time for a replacement. Important areas of your roof are valleys. Rain and snow flow through valleys and into your gutters. Your roof may become vulnerable to leaks if the valley becomes compromised.

Your Energy Bills Spike
A roof in good condition should insulate your home against the cold and heat. If it isn’t, your utility bills will likely increase since your heater or AC unit will have to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

What The Roof Inspector Looks For
Every spring and fall you should have an inspector come in and inspect your roof. Even the most durable and strongest roof may have flaws and weaknesses. You can avoid home structural damage by having your roof inspected twice annually. It’s important that you hire a professional since you may not be able to notice damage with your untrained eye.

Some things the roof inspector may look for include:

Improper flashing
Rot and Mold
Shingle deterioration
Structure damage
Age of roof
Storm damage
Broken seals or shingle lifting
Missing ceramic granules on shingles

Replacing your roof is an expensive investment you’re putting into your home. Therefore, it’s essential you have it done right. When it comes time to replace your roof, be sure you hire only an experienced roofer who stands behind their work and is upfront with their fees. Don’t wait to replace your roof if needed since that could result in more damage to your home.

Also, when getting a new roof, add some extra protection with proper ventilation like an attic fan for example, and insulation.


Fall Energy Saving Tips

Fall is all about getting ready for winter in many parts of the country. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t things you can do to conserve energy and save money on your utility bills – even in the fall. These things will help you as you prepare for winter and to meet certain goals you may have to save money.

Find and Seal Leaks
Windows, walls, and even areas where there is plumbing are notorious inlets for the heat or cold of the outside air to invade your home. Fall is the perfect time of year to explore these air leaks and eliminate them with caulking, insulation, weather stripping and other essential tools.

Have a Furnace Inspection
Scheduling yearly furnace inspections is a terrific way to extend the life of your furnace. Doing it in the fall means that you can take care of potential problems that may be found before you are forced to deal with it during the coldest part of winter.

Change Furnace Filters
Keeping your filters changed on a regular basis also helps your furnace operate more efficiently and extends your furnace’s life. Fall is the ideal time to begin a new routine of filter changing and get on schedule if you are not already.

Remove Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioning units are notorious for allowing frigid air to stream into your home when the temperatures start dropping. You’ll begin to notice the effect in the fall, but it will really hit hard when winter comes knocking and the frosty winds begin to howl.

Install a Whole House Fan
Whole house fans are ideal for use in fall months where the days are warm and the nights are cool. This fan helps to draw fresh, clean, cool air into your home during the cooler hours of the day while ridding your home of moisture and heat that would otherwise become trapped in your attic spaces.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures in your home for certain times of day so you can take advantage of lower heating and cooling costs during the hours when the family is sleeping or when the house is empty because everyone is working.

The more steps you take to keep your energy costs as low as possible in fall, the better situated you will be to handle the realities of winter when they arise. Each of these steps will help.

Planting Trees and Shrubs to Maximize Shade and Home Cooling

Shading your house can help you reduce the temperatures inside your home as much as 20°F (11°C), reports the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Trees and other vegetation provide effective shading. Landscaping is a beautiful and natural way to block out the sun and provide your home with shade. A well-placed bush, tree or vine can not only add to your property’s aesthetic value, but also deliver effective shade.

Below are some ways you can get the most out of your vegetation for shading.

Trees and Shrubs
When planting trees, place them on the northwest-southwest and northeast-southeast sides of your home. Don’t plant your trees directly to the south, unless you live in a year-round hot climate. Plant shrubs and trees so they direct the breeze. Don’t place a crowded line of evergreen trees in places they will block cool air from getting through or around them.

Even mature deciduous trees with their bare branches in the winter can reduce how much sunlight reaches your home significantly. When you plant shrubs somewhat close to your home, they’ll fill in quickly and start to shade your windows and walls within a few years.

To keep vines from attaching to the facade of your home and damage its exterior, set trellises away from your home. This also allows air to circulate. When you place vegetation too close to your home, it can trap the heat and cause the air around your home to feel even warmer.

Dead Spaces
Planting bushes, vines and shrubs next to your home creates dead spaces that will insulate your house in both summer and winter. You’ll want at least a foot of space between your home’s wall and full-grown plants.

Wind Breaks
Shrubs and evergreen trees planted to the northwest and north of your house are a common form of windbreak. Bushes, trees and shrubs that are planted together hinder or block wind from the level of the ground to the treetops. Combining evergreen trees with a fence, wall or earth berm (raised areas of soil or man-made or natural walls) can lift or deflect the wind over your home.

Don’t plant your evergreens too close to the south side of your home if you want winter sun warmth. Windbreaks reduce the speed of wind for a distance that can reach around 30 times the height of the windbreak. Plant your windbreak away from your house at a distance of two to five times the trees’ mature height.

To maximize your home’s cooling, complement the strategic planting of trees, vines, and shrubs with a whole house fan. You can use the whole house fan in the evening to draw in cool air and reduce your home’s temperature.

Benefits of Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is a system of climate control that takes advantage of natural forces, such as wind and thermal buoyancy to affect a comfortable living environment or workspace and keeping the air nice and fresh. It offers more benefits than many people realize and may be an ideal investment for your home or office space.

These are a few benefits that might make you consider installing a whole house fan so you can incorporate more natural ventilation into your home.

Low Maintenance
When compared to the cost of operating and maintaining an air conditioner that runs 24/7, the costs of natural ventilation are far more appealing to consumers. Not only does it save you money to operate a whole house fan, or other natural ventilation system, but it also takes less time and energy to maintain.

One of the beautiful features of natural ventilation is that it can be used in combination with other heating and cooling systems. You can have the benefits of all the systems while bringing fresh, clean air into your home and getting rid of tainted, stale air.

Improved Health
One of the most understated, and often unintended, benefits of natural ventilation is the health benefits it offers. Not only does it help to remove many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are notorious for harming health from the air, but it also helps to rid the air in your home of moisture that can lead to mold and mildew and a treasure trove of health maladies.

Ridding the air in your home of these things can improve your health and that of your family – especially elderly people, children, and those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

Plant Friendly
If your goal is to go greener in your home, then natural ventilation is a positive step to take. It involves using far less electricity, creates a substantially lower carbon footprint, and helps to make your home a far more earth-friendly space.

Cost Effective
Finally, operating a whole house fan or natural ventilation system helps to reduce the costs of operation when compared to air conditioners. Even if you only supplement the need for air conditioning by using the ventilation system at night and early in the morning, you can reduce your expenses substantially over time.

Now is the perfect time to begin making plans for a healthier, happier, and greener future by embracing natural ventilation to clear the air in your home and keep your family comfortable through every season.

5 Ways to Prevent Heat from Entering Your Home

When it’s hot outside, it can be difficult to keep it cool inside your home. You have the sun that beats down on your home and causes the temperatures in your home to rise to levels that aren’t comfortable. Sure, you get relief from your air conditioner. But you’re also probably dealing with a large energy bill because of it. Also, conventional AC units use refrigerants that are made of chlorine compounds. These are suspected to contribute to global warming and the depletion of our ozone layer. Fortunately, there are alternatives to using your AC unit.

Below are five ways to prevent heat from coming into your home so it stays cool.

  1. Apply a Reflective Coating to Your Roof
    Around a third of built up heat in your house comes in through your roof. And, with traditional materials, this can be hard to control. For instance, fiberglass and white asphalt shingles absorb around 70 percent of the sun’s heat. What you can do, however, is apply a reflective coating to your roof. There are a couple standard roof coatings you can get from the lumberyard or a hardware store. These are:

White latex: Apply this coating over fiberglass and asphalt shingles, metal or tar paper

Asphalt based: This coating consists of aluminum particles and glass fibers. Apply to your asphalt or metal roof

Often, manufacturers will offer you a 5-year warranty.

  1. Plant Trees and Vines
    Shade the exterior of your home with these green-house coolers and keep the sunlight out of your windows. West-facing walls are good places to plant them where the sun is strongest. Some good choices are deciduous trees and vines. Deciduous trees offer you shade in the summer and in the autumn, let in the sun as the temperatures begin dropping. This is because they leaf out during the springtime and then drop their leaves in autumn. Vines like Virginia creeper and ivy are also great for outdoor insulators.
  1. Power Down Appliances
    Reduce heat output and save money by powering down any appliances that you’re not using such as your television and computer. By connecting multiple appliances to one power strip, it’s easier to power them down. Avoid steam and heat-generating appliances like washers, dryers, ranges and ovens during the day when it’s hot.
  1. Create Cross-Ventilation
    Use doors and windows for cross-ventilation. Adjust location and size of the openings so you can ventilate various areas of your house.
  1. Use a Whole House Fan
    Use a whole house fan to cool your home at night (for a cooler next day in your home). If you live in a region that gets hot in the daytime and cool at night, you can keep the heat out effectively by doing a night air flush. An insulated and well-sealed whole house fan is a great way to do this. The fan draws the cool air in the evening through your windows while flushing out the hot stuffy air of the day. After cooling your home at night with a whole house fan, you can close your windows during the day and your home should stay cool and comfortable.



How Much Can You Save by Installing Energy Saving Improvements?

Saving money is a huge motivation for making energy saving improvements to your home. But, it’s extremely important to understand just how much you stand to save by making certain investments so you can improve your home with confidence that these improvements will ultimately pay for themselves. To determine that, you need to know just how much you stand to save when you make certain energy-conserving updates to your home.

Light Bulbs and Fixtures
If you only replace the five most frequently used fixtures or bulbs in your home with those that are designated as Energy Star items, you can save up to $75 every year – according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Imagine the savings if you replace all the bulbs and fixtures in your home.

Other considerations, if you make the switch to LED bulbs are the savings you’ll enjoy by replacing bulbs less frequently since one LED bulb can last up to 11 years. LED bulbs also burn cooler preventing you from needing to crank up the air conditioning in the summertime to compensate for your bulbs.

Energy Efficient Windows
House Logic reports that you can expect to save as much as 15 percent per year on your utility bills for installing energy-efficient windows with low-E coatings on a 2,600-square-foot home. Of course, these savings vary according to the climate where you live and other contributing factors.

Other Energy-Saving Improvements You Can Make
There are other, less expensive energy-saving changes you can make to your home that will offer an incredible bang for your buck. The Department of Energy suggests that simple things like installing power strips for electronics and turning them off when not in use can net you 12 percent savings on your electric bill each year. Planting shade trees can shave the costs of cooling your home by anywhere from 15 -50 percent per the same source.

One big change you can make for the sake of your home that will yield surprising energy savings results is installing a whole house fan. Lifehacker states that a whole house fan can save up to 10 to 20 percent on electricity compared to a central air conditioner and even more savings when compared to the costs of operating a window air conditioner.

The key is to combine low and higher cost methods of conserving energy to maximize your savings overall. These are fabulous changes to begin with.