8 Energy Upgrades for Your Home

Enjoy a more comfortable home this winter and reduce your utility bills with these energy efficiency upgrades.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

Silicone caulk provides an exceptional airtight and watertight seal to keep warm air inside the home. Because it's not water based, there's minimal shrinking or cracking. Water-based acrylic caulk may shrink up to 25 percent, leaving cracks and gaps for air and water to move through.

GE Silicone II Window & Door Caulk
Approximate retail cost: $5 per tube

Wrap Your Water Heater

Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. Adding insulation to water heaters can reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent. This will save you on average between 4 and 9 percent in water heating costs. NOTE: Not all water heaters require blankets. Check your manufacturer's Web site for more information.

Water Heater Blanket
Approximate retail cost: $19

Turn Down Your Thermostat

Adjusting your water thermostat takes little time and effort. Many manufacturers set thermostats at 140 degrees F., but 120 degrees F. is usually hot enough for most heaters. You'll save 3 to 5 percent in energy costs for each 10 F. reduction in water temperature.

Install Low-Flow Showerheads

High-efficiency showerheads can cut hot water demand by an estimated 40 percent, using only 1.6 gallons of water per minute (gpm) as opposed to the standard 2.5 gpm. They're also inexpensive, stylish, and easy to install.

Delta Water-Efficient Showerhead with H2Okinetic Technology
Approximate retail cost: $55.15

Wash in Cooler Water

About 80 to 85 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is used to heat the water. To cut your load's energy use in half, only wash full loads and switch the water temperature setting from hot to warm.

Install an Electronic Thermostat

Many homeowners turn the heat on and off during the day to save more energy. This on-and-off technique uses significantly more energy than maintaining a steady temperature. A programmable thermostat is easy to install and can save a homeowner more than $100 a year when used properly.

RiteTemp Seven-Day Programmable Thermostat
Approximate retail cost: $39.97

Use ENERGY STAR Lightbulbs

ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. These bulbs will save you approximately $38 in energy savings over the life of the product.

GE Energy Smart CFL
Approximate retail cost: $4

Add an Insulating Additive to Paint

Increase the power of your paint by making it more energy efficient. Mix in this insulating paint additive to both indoor and outdoor house paint to reduce heating and cooling costs. This ceramic paint additive's unique energy-saving properties reflect heat, providing a unique and highly effective radiant barrier.

Insuladd ceramic paint
Approximate retail cost: $14.95 (1 gallon kit)

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