Go Green

Cut Utility Bills and Reduce Carbon Footprint

By Family Features

Want to cut your utility bills, enjoy a more comfortable home this winter and curb pollution with a few easy do-it-yourself energy upgrades? By spending about $100, you can expect to save hundreds of dollars in energy bills while reducing carbon dioxide emissions – or your carbon footprint – up to a couple thousand pounds per year.

“The benefits of taking an afternoon to do these small tasks are countless,” said Rodney Hawkins, General Manager of Momentive Performance Materials, an exclusive licensee of General Electric. Unsealed windows and doors and other inefficiencies translate into higher utility costs and more harmful greenhouse gas emissions released into the environment.  “An inexpensive product like GE Silicone II caulk can make a home cheaper to heat, more comfortable because the heat is staying inside and the cold air outside, and protected from wet weather damage.”

Consider implementing these easy and inexpensive upgrades that can be completed in a couple of hours.

·        Seal windows and doors with silicone caulk.

Air leaking through gaps and cracks can add up to as much airflow as an open window. Silicone caulk provides an exceptional airtight and watertight seal to keep warm air inside the home.  Because silicone caulk is not water based, there is minimal shrinking and cracking. Acrylic caulk is water based and some acrylics shrink up to 25 percent.  That shrinkage may leave cracks and gaps, allowing air and water to move through. A typical home can be sealed with four tubes of high-quality caulk like GE Silicone II.

·        Wrap the water heater with a water heater blanket.

Water heating is the third largest energy expense in the home. Insulating the water heater will save energy and money. Gas water heaters should be insulated carefully check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

·        Turn down the water heater thermostat.

Many manufacturers set thermostats at 140˚F, but 120˚F is usually hot enough for all hot water needs. Homeowners can save between 3 percent to 5 percent in energy costs for each 10˚F they reduce water temperature.


·        Install low-flow showerheads.

High efficiency showerheads can cut hot water demand by an estimated 40 percent. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

·        Wash full loads of laundry – at a cooler temperature.

Only wash full loads to use less water, and switch the temperature setting from hot to warm to cut the load’s energy use in half. 

·        Install an electronic thermostat.

 According to experts, turning the heat on and off during the day in an effort to save money actually uses significantly more energy than maintaining a steady temperature. An electronic thermostat is easy to install and can cut down on energy costs. 


Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

At $0.10/kwh, replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 13-watt CFL will save a consumer approximately $38 in energy savings over the life of the product.

For additional energy savings and how-to tips, and for information on home sealing, visit www.gehomesealing.com.


Courtesy of Family Features