Friday, October 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

On the money: How tightening your home can save you money

By
From page B7 | June 01, 2014 |

Jonathan Fahey

NEW YORK — That precious, cooled air that leaks out of your home every summer is money leaking out of your checkbook.

Electricity prices are expected to rise faster this year than they have since 2009, to a record average of 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the Energy Department. And prices are highest in the summer, just when you need more power to run the air conditioner.

But many residents are paying far more than they should to cool their homes because cold air is leaking out and hot, humid air is getting in. The air seeps through obvious places, like under doors, and not so obvious places, like cracks around plumbing that you can’t see.

“We accept a much higher level of bad performance in our homes than we would in our cars. You shouldn’t be uncomfortable.” says Jennifer Amann, director of the buildings program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “Homes don’t have to perform badly.”

To see if your home is a bad performer, try a thorough home energy audit. They are offered through utilities and local contractors and are often subsidized by state energy efficiency programs.

The audits can cost $100 to $400, but they can lower both summer cooling bills and winter heating bills by finding leaks and other sources of wasted energy. How much you save depends on how much repairs cost, the size of the leaks found, how big your home is, and your electricity price.

Knowing whether or not you need a home energy audit — and whether it will pay off — is tricky. Amann says you should get one if you feel like you are paying too much for electricity (who doesn’t!), and she suggests talking to friends and neighbors. Some utilities are making it easier to see how your usage compares with others nearby, either as part of your bill or with online tools.

If you opt for an audit, Amann suggests using a contractor who participates in the Department of Energy’s Energy Star home performance program.

A thorough audit — more than just a walk-through of your home — will include something called a “blower door test.” A device is attached to your front door that sucks air out of your home, allowing leaks to be detected. It also establishes a baseline to test the home again after leaks are fixed to determine how effective the repairs were.

Some repairs will be clearly cost-effective, like adding insulation or closing up cracks with caulk or weather-stripping. Others might not be. Windows and central cooling and heating systems are so expensive that the savings might not justify replacing them if they are still working well.

If a new central air-conditioning system costs $5,000, including installation, and it cuts power consumption by 20 percent, it would take 18 years for it to pay off for a typical power customer. If it is time to replace the system anyway, buying the most efficient one available usually pays off more quickly.

The auditors will have tips for reducing energy use in other ways, like unplugging devices that aren’t being used or replacing inefficient appliances and lighting. They’ll recommend changes in behavior, too, such as not running appliances like dishwashers that add heat and humidity to a home during the hot part of the day.

“These are simple, common sense things but sometimes people just don’t think about it,” Amann says. “We all have our habits.”

On the web:

http://www.aceee.org/consumer

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hpwes_for_homeowners

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
‘The Rocky Horror Show’ finds a home on stage

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
For sale: Solano home with Nike missile bunkers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Cassette tapes used for music and more

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Salvation Army debuts giant kettle for holidays campaign

By Robinson Kuntz | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

New survey details vast scope of teen dating abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Boosters seek to keep Bay Bridge light display

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Driver attacked after ice cream truck kills boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
$50,000 reward to find killer of Anaheim girl, 9

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Video shows bikers taunting California officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
California man guilty in wife’s stabbing death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown opens up spending in campaign’s final month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in girl’s 1984 killing was police employee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

PTSD argued in case of Marine jailed in Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
US tech firm fined for underpaying Indian workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Paintings in national parks spark probe, furor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Prisoner in Afghanistan to be tried in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US, SKorea agree to delay wartime control transfer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US officials: Iraqi army regrouping slowly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Gary killings put spotlight on abandoned buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lawmakers seek to end benefits to former Nazis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

For teen with passport, Syria trip can be seamless

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Border deaths drop to 15-year low

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Cremation fears leave empty Ebola beds in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Ex-Mountie hero of shooting at Canada’s Parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Canada gunman wanted a passport to go to Mideast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NYC mayor: Don’t be alarmed by doctor’s Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NK experts: US must apologize to free detainees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola: A crash course in fear and how it hurts us

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

NY doctor back from Guinea has Ebola, 1st in city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

 
Planning Commission not listening to the people

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

Not sure I trust government on Ebola

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
Is America prepared for Ebola or is threat overhyped?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband and I don’t share anything anymore, including a bedroom

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Oct. 24-30, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘John Wick’ delivers non-stop action

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘Rocky Horror’ a participatory treat

By Tony Wade | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Burns’ series gives PBS a ratings milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Q&A: Mick Jagger, the film producer, heads to work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
At 1-all, World Series moves to quirky Giants park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Giants’ Hudson to face Royals’ Guthrie in Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
College notebook: Cordes chosen to try out for USA national team

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Homecoming still on but no game for VCS

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Compton among PGA leaders at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Judge questions $75M NCAA concussion settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Arizona men near-unanimous pick by media to win Pac-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Raiders may lose Woodley to biceps injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

No. 6 Oregon looks to extend streak against Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
The Write Way: KC coach’s lineup cards are artful

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Prep football capsules: Week 8

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers, 35-21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Honda Fit becomes even more intriguing small car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Letting your car find a spot and park itself

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A blue Christmas for Amazon?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9