Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Making Your Home Energy Efficient Room by Room: Basement

Is your basement cold, drafty or damp? Do you have appliances that may be costing you more money than they need to? Would you like to improve your comfort while saving energy and reducing your utility bills? These energy saving tips for your basement just might be the solutions you need to make your basement more cozy and energy efficient.
Reduce Humidity in the Basement
Does your basement smell musty? Is there mold or mildew, condensation on windows, or rotting wood? If there is, you most likely have a humidity problem. Increased humidity can make your space uncomfortable, and cause or aggravate allergies from mildew, mold and mites. The ideal relative humidity level for comfortable and healthy living is between 30 and 50 percent. If your relative humidity level is outside that range, you may experience problems.
If you are experiencing high levels of humidity, check that the vent from your clothes dryer is venting to the outside, and not into your basement. Make sure that the ground outside slopes away from the house and that all downspouts release water at least three feet from the building. If you're still experiencing high humidity, you can use a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture from the air. Look for one with the ENERGY STAR logo, which uses less energy than standard models and can save you over $200 in energy costs over the life of the unit.
Energy Saving Tips for Your Water Heater
·         Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120F (many are set to 140F) or lower, and save over $350. You won't notice a difference in the heat of your water, but you'll save money on your energy bills.
·         Touch the tank on your water heater. If it feels warm, you can save energy - and money - by installing an insulating "jacket" or "blanket". Easy to install, it costs around $10 to $20 and will pay for itself in energy savings within a year (you'll save over $30 a year). Choose one with a minimum R-value of 8.
·         For additional savings, insulate the hot water pipes coming out of the water heater to keep the water hot until it reaches its destination - the tap. This is especially important where pipes travel through uninsulated areas like crawlspaces.
·         Why pay to heat water when you're not home? Before leaving on vacation, turn off your electric water heater, or turn down your gas water heater.
·         If you're buying a new water heater, save energy with a tank less water heater. Unlike traditional water heaters that continually heat water and keep it on reserve in a tank for whenever you may need it, tank less water heaters supply hot water only on demand. You won't waste money heating water 24/7, and you'll always have hot water when you need it.

Old Fridges Suck Energy
Do you have an old fridge running in your basement (or garage)? If you do, it's costing you $90 or more to operate each year. Can you survive without it? If you absolutely need a second fridge, consider getting a new, smaller bar-sized fridge. New fridges are far more energy efficient than those manufactured before 1993. How much is your old refrigerator costing you?
For maximum efficiency, keep your fridge and freezer as full as possible. Unplug the fridge when it's empty and remember to keep the fridge and freezer doors open when the fridge is unplugged.
Seal Your Basement to Save Energy

A common place for air to escape your home, or for drafts to occur, is around vents, ducts, pipes and electrical wires that lead to the outside. To increase your home's energy efficiency and lower your energy bills, seal small gaps with caulk, and fill holes up to three inches with spray foam. For gaps or holes larger than three inches, cover with foam board and seal with spray foam. Be sure to seal all areas between the sill plate and the foundation, and in the spaces between rim joists. Basements are a common place for significant air leaks. You can really improve your home's energy efficiency. Save money on your energy bills, and help the environment by sealing all the leaks in your basement and the rest of your home.

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