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photo courtesy of Milgard
The ever-changing world of technology provides us with seemingly endless ways to increase our home's energy efficiency. However, considering all the available options is enough to make your head spin. Even if you don't have the time or money for a complete energy overhaul, there are a few things you can do now to lower your energy bills. Ranging from least expensive to most costly, here are a few ideas to get you started.
"Change light bulbs from incandescent to energy saving bulbs," says Jan Welch at Rosenberg Builders Supply in Tillamook. "New Compact Florescent Light bulbs offer different levels of light, both warm and cool, very bright and not so. Some CFL bulbs are even dimmable and have an instant-on feature." With lighting accounting for about 20 percent of the average American's monthly electrical bill, any reduction will help. Trade out those Edison bulbs for energy saving CFLs now; and you may want to think about switching to the even more efficient LEDs as prices come down. These energy saving bulbs will save you money on your electrical bill and can help reduce carbon emissions.
Advanced technology has also made it possible to save on hot water. Do you want unlimited hot water on demand, paying for only the amount you use, instead of paying for heating an entire reservoir of water? Consider buying a tankless water heater and save up to 50 percent on water bills, due to on-demand performance. Astoria Builders Supply carries the whole house tankless Bosch Aquastar 125HX. Here's the inside story: all water parts are solid copper or solid plastic. Unlike tank heaters, every part is replaceable or recyclable. Properly maintained, this may be the last water heater you ever buy, and they come with a twelve-year warranty. They are, on average, 30 percent more energy efficient than traditional water heaters. Check sizing, efficiency and cost before deciding what's best for your home.
Summer is the time to replace those drafty old windows with spiffy new ones that will enhance your home's looks and keep you warm and cozy in the winter; add screens to keep the bugs out and the summer breeze wafting through. This energy-saving option is not inexpensive, but you will get your money back over time. The 2009 Energy Tax incentive offers a rebate of $500 for installing energy-efficient windows. Also, check with your power company or state environmental agency; they may offer additional tax deductions or rebates for making energy-saving improvements to your home. According to Fred Higgins at Coaster Construction in Cannon Beach, "Milgard windows are what I recommend for our region. They come in wood, fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum and sound control materials." Milgard has evaluated every region, right down to the zip code, to provide maximum efficiency and savings for every climate. Higgins says summer is a great time to tackle a project like window replacement, "Don't wait for the rainy season to come again, get those new windows in while it's dry out there!"