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Infographic: 12 Days of Home Efficiency

Energy savings can be as easy as air-drying dishes and using florescent light bulbs. Follow these tips, and in 12 days, you can create a more energy-efficient home.

Energy efficient tips for holidays

Everyone knows the classic Christmas song, "The 12 Days of Christmas," but we can't imagine anyone being too thrilled about receiving a partridge in a pear tree as a gift. 

That's why we're celebrating the 12 Days of Home Efficiency instead. We don't have a song (yet), but you can still follow these 12 energy-saving tips to make your home more efficient this holiday season. 

1. Switch to compact florescent bulbs

If you're looking for a way to instantly improve your home's efficiency, switch out your light bulbs. According to energystar.gov, compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) use about 70 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. CFLs may be more of an investment up front, but they last much longer than other bulbs. 

2. Install a programmable thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is another simple way to quickly reduce your energy costs. You can program these thermostats to automatically raise or lower the temperature of your home depending on when you're away from the house.

3. Air-dry dishes

When you're load dishes into the dishwasher before bed, opt to turn off the heated dry cycle and allow the dishes to air-dry instead. This small step can really add up in terms of energy savings, and most dishes will be dry by morning without the extra heat. 

4. Unplug appliances when not in use

Did you know that your appliances draw energy from electrical outlets even when they're turned off? Unplugging items when they're not in use is one surefire way to make sure you aren’t wasting this so-called "phantom energy." Consider plugging multiple appliances or electronics into an outlet strip to make turning them all off a snap.

5. Seal windows and doors

To make your home more efficient year-round, reseal around your windows and doors and fix any cracks in your walls. This will help your home retain cool air during the summer and warm air during the winter.

6. Limit bath time Take less baths and shorter showers

Baths tend to use more hot water than showers do. Take fewer baths and make your showering times shorter to conserve water.

7. Use your fireplace

Lighting a fire in the fireplace doesn't just create a cozy holiday ambiance; it also makes a great alternative heat source that may help save energy. 

8. Take advantage of sunlight

Making the most of natural sunlight can help you cut back on heating and energy costs. Try rearranging furniture to take advantage of the natural light streaming into your home. For example, you might place a favorite reading chair in a sunny corner. 

9. Paint walls a lighter color

Lighter paint colors reflect light much better than dark paint colors do, which means you won't need to use as much electricity to brighten a room. Choose light colors for your walls to save on energy.

10. Wash laundry in cold water

Unless they're soiled, clean all laundry items in cold water to avoid using the water heater. Also, wait to run your washer and dryer until you have a full load for maximum efficiency. 

11. Clean or replace your filters regularly

HVAC filters must be inspected, cleaned and replaced regularly in order to perform at their peak. A dirty filter will drive up energy costs and may allow dust and pollen into your home.

12. Have your ducts inspected

Leaky ducts are an expensive problem to have. Inefficient ductwork makes it difficult for heat or cool air to reach your living spaces, so be sure to have your ducts inspected regularly.

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