Find, fix problems to save on home utility bills

Consumer Reports offers tips to save on energy

SAN ANTONIO – Finding and fixing problems in your home is key to saving on home utility bills.

An energy auditor with high-tech equipment can pinpoint every energy leak in a home.

"When you heat your home, you want to make sure that heat stays in. This is measuring how much is leaving the house," Tom Brown, an energy savings consultant, said.

Even if a homeowner can't hire a pro, just knowing where most homes waste energy can tell them where to look in their house for problems.

"Most important is your heating and cooling systems, which are responsible for roughly half of your home's energy use," Dan Diclerico of Consumer Reports said.

To save on energy, Consumer Reports has the following suggestions:

  • Ensure that ductwork is sealed and insulated
  • Add extra insulation to the attic
  • Plug drafty windows with caulk and weather stripping
  • Upgrade the thermostat to a programmable type

Old and inefficient appliances are another source of energy loss.

Diclerico said swapping out a 15-year-old refrigerator for an energy efficient one could save homeowners $60 annually.

If the electric water heater is more than 10 years old, Diclerico suggests switching to a heat-pump style water heater.

Diclerico said another way to save energy is to switch to LED bulbs.

"They use 80 percent less energy than old style incandescents," he said.

LEDs can last 20 years, which reduces the need to buy light bulbs as often. 

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