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Most of us are interested in saving energy. My wife and I have recently done some improvements to our home prior to this years cooling season.  The things we have done are all relatively simple things that we can all do. I’ll share with you some of the recent things we have done as well as things we will do in the next few months.

The first major improvement we did was to install a high efficiency heat pump.  This system utilizes a single-stage heat pump, variable speed fan coil and multi-stage electric heating elements. The result is more consistent temperature, greater air circulation and improved air quality. It also Thermidistat™ Control that controls our home’s humidity level even when the system isn’t actively heating or cooling.

During the process of the new install we also increased the size of the main return ducting and installed two additional returns. So instead of one return we now have three. The end result is a more balanced home and much quieter operation.  What also occurred with this update is the home feel cooler at higher temperatures because the air is dryer (the act of cooling is lowering relative humidity).

The next thing we did was install additional insulation in our attic spaces. We improved from an R-19 to an R-38.  We experienced a warmer house this winter and we should expect a cooler home this summer.

We also corrected our recessed lighting and improved the to IC Airtight Housing fixtures. These lower the amount air that migrates into the attic. Older recessed cans have large holes that simply allow conditioned air into the attic space. We also installed Compact Florescent bulbs in all the fixtures.  If you don’t want to go to the expense of changing out the fixtures themselves there are products available that you install over the can, up in the attic. See for an example.

I am currently investigating the feasibility of changing our existing electric (1992) water heater to a more efficient device. There are some water heaters out there (Propane and Natural Gas) (we have propane at home) that simply blow me away with their energy efficiency however I have not determined if the costs justify the change.  See: for an example. 

I am still thinking about it. It would be nice to be wealthy enough and save some energy and to simply do it, however, I’m not.   There are also innovative electric heat pump water heaters that work in the same manner as our air source heat pumps for heating/cooling. They take heat from the air and transfer it to the water. See: for an example.

There is one more item on my list and that is my front door and sidelights. Our foyer is always cold in the winter. I can feel the cold several feet away from the door. Its weather tight but it’s simply a non insulated wood door and non insulated glass sidelights.  So it will be changed to an energy efficient insulated door and insulated glass sidelights. 

In closing there are other things that I can do that are low cost and will increase the efficiency of my home.  Things like air sealing.  In my home there is no draft stopping. This means there are lots of holes in the walls and ceilings that need to be sealed.  Products like foam gaskets can be installed behind switch and outlet cover plates. This will stop air infiltration into our out of the home.  A cool place to get other ideas can be found here:

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