Make home comfort a priority

RBC I The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge checklist is available at various locations in the community. Let’s continue to look at the nice and easy “Do Right Away” action items in the Energy Diet Challenge checklist.
n Install motion sensors on outdoor porch lights.
We all leave outside lights on for extended periods even though we may be not home or have gone to sleep. Any outside lights (porch, garage mounted, etc.) can be turned into a positive for both energy usage and home security by installing motion sensors. Installing motion sensors provides savings and security. The light goes off when timed out by the sensor (the savings) and will turn on the light when motion trips the sensor (the security).
n Install weather-stripping on exterior doors and windows.
Complicated and labor intensive best describes the tasks undertaken by any one serious about stopping the air leaks into and out of the home. The simple rule of “hot goes to cold” gives an easy way to understand window and exterior door leak issues. In an average 20-year-old home that has not been checked for air leakage, wintertime air leakage is equivalent to having a fully open lower window at all times.
Conduct a simple test: Stand by any closed door or window with a candle moving along the sealing area. The candle will move easily with any air motion at the seal, the more the motion from the candle flame the greater the leak. Some sealing leaks air in and some sealing leaks air out dependent on the exterior wind direction and side of the home being measured. Air leaks are the primary reason for the cold drafts felt within a home, especially when the wind is strong and constant.
http://www.efficientwindows.org/energycosts.cfm – Efficient Window Collaborative
This web site provides a concise and complete explanation of why windows leak and what to do.
http://www.drenergysaver.com/air-seal/blower-door-test.html
This web site provides a technical explanation of testing to verify leaks in the average home.
http://www.inspectapedia.com/interiors/Air_Seal_Project.htm
This web site provides an example and photographs of the process for insulation of windows in older homes.
n Install ceiling or circulating fans
Many homes do not feel uniformly warm throughout the house. Much of this problem can be addressed by putting ceiling fans in the highest ceiling areas and in the hallways. Warm air rises to the ceiling thus being trapped in this higher space unless forced to circulate around by a fan within that space. Hallways are a primary area for trapped warm air. Air circulation in the hallway will aid in the balance of heat in the adjoining rooms. For bigger rooms and stairways a ceiling fan in the room and stairways will move the air between multiple floors and out into the home for a more uniform heating effect. Floor fans can be effective as an intermediate action, however, ceiling fans are the best solution.
n Use a power strip when turning off computers, TV stereos and appliances.
The discussion for this item is limited to a few words of caution before taking action. Not all appliances, TVs, stereos and computers can just be turned off at the switch on the power strip. Proper shutdown and boot-up procedures should be followed to avoid data loss or warrantee noncompliance.
n Replace or clean the filter on your furnace monthly.
Forced air heating systems circulate warm air much more efficiently when the air is not blown through dust, dirt, pollen, cat and dog hair trapped in the filter. By changing or cleaning your filter regularly your heating system will work more efficiently thus saving you money.
The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse or chamber or at YampaValleyDataPartners.com.