How to Make Your Two-Story Home More Energy Efficient

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Make a two-story home more energy efficient by using common sense and making wise purchases and smart changes throughout the home. Improving the energy efficiency results in small changes adding up to large savings over a year's time. Building energy-saving habits into your lifestyle may seem difficult at first, but once your family decides to work together in this effort, the changes will be worthwhile. Transforming your home into an energy-efficient space not only saves you money on utility bills, it also helps the environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Deciduous trees
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Whole house, ceiling or window fans
  • Weather-stripping
  • Solar energy panels and water heaters
  • Power strip
  • Switch your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs as they burn out. At first, the higher cost of the bulbs may seem detrimental in saving money, but these bulbs don't give off heat and last much longer than incandescent bulbs. In a two-story home, it is not as evident that someone left a light on upstairs when everyone is on the first floor. Persistence in building this type of habit eventually makes it second nature to everyone to automatically turn off lights when leaving a room.

  • Plant trees that are deciduous around the perimeter of your home. This type of tree loses its leaves during the cold winter months, thus allowing sunlight to heat your home. They shade your house in warmer months, thus causing your air conditioner to run less often. Over time the tree will grow to heights that make your two-story home more energy efficient.

  • Look for the Energy Star label when you purchase new appliances to replace worn-out models. The label tells you how much energy the appliance uses per year and also compares similar models.

  • Purchase a programmable thermostat for your two-story home. Keeping your home cool or warm during the day when it is unoccupied is a waste of energy, especially in larger homes. Program this type of thermostat to heat or cool your home to a comfortable temperature right before family members wake up in the morning and arrive home in the afternoon each day.

  • Invest in a whole-house fan, especially if you live in an area that does not experience much humidity. When the air is cooler in the evenings or early morning hours, raise your windows and turn the whole house fan on to draw cool breezes through your home.

  • Reduce how hot your home gets during the day by avoiding the use of heat-generating appliances. Run the clothes dryer, washing machine and oven during the cooler parts of the evening or morning hours. Use a slow cooker, toaster oven or microwave to prepare meals during the summer months. The less heat you generate in your home in warm months, the less energy the air conditioner must use.

  • Install ceiling fans or use window fans during the cooler hours of the day. Moving air makes the occupants feel cooler. Turn them off once you leave the room just as with the lights. These tiny savings of a few cents add up over a year's time.

  • Check the weather-stripping on your doors and windows to ensure that they are in proper condition. If not, replace them. Weather-stripping is inexpensive and uncomplicated to install. This prevents loss of heat or air conditioning through gaps in your home. It also prevents cold or hot drafts from entering the house.

  • Use the sun to provide heat to your water and home. Solar electric panels generate power to your home, and solar water heaters allow you to use the sun to heat the water in your home. Solar energy is free, sustainable and cost-effective within a few years. Rebates and state and federal tax credits can lower the cost of installing solar devices by as much as 50 percent, according to the Energy.gov website.

Tips & Warnings

  • Teach your family members to unplug appliances and electronic gadgets when not using them. Plugged-in appliances generate heat and use electricity -- even those that go into a standby mode when not in use. Connect gadgets near to each other into a power strip, so that you can turn it off with a flip of a switch.
  • Utilize sweaters, blankets and throws during the winter. These inexpensive accessories keep family members warmer without raising the thermostat. Use electric blankets to warm beds before going to sleep.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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