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The power of energy efficiency

Do energy-saving measures in my home really make a big difference?—Ethan 

For the average household, it depends on your home’s efficiency and your habits. To make energy-saving measures work in your home, it comes down to preventing energy waste while maintaining personal comfort. Here are some basics to start with. 

Replace filters

If your home has a forced-air system, it has a filter that needs to be checked regularly and replaced when it’s dirty. A dirty filter can cause heating and air-conditioning systems to use 15% more energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

Since heating and air conditioning make up nearly 50% of your energy use, replacing your filter when it looks dirty can reduce energy waste. 

Upgrade to LEDs

Upgrading your lighting to LEDs is a simple, low-cost way to cut energy use. Depending on your budget, you can do it all at once or change bulbs out over time. If you are going to replace a few at a time, prioritize the lights you use the most. 

I recommend 2700 Kelvin because it is similar to incandescent lighting; and ENERGY STAR-rated products use up to 90% less energy and last 15 times longer than standard bulbs. 

Adjust your thermostat 

It’s amazing how much difference a few degrees can make. By adjusting your thermostat to your home habits, you can save year-round on heating and cooling costs. Using a programmable or smart thermostat will enable you to set it according to your schedule. If you have a heat pump, choose a programmable thermostat that has adaptive recovery technology for less energy use.

MIRANDA BOUTELLE writes on energy efficiency for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

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