Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Energy Efficiency Can Make Your Home Safer

How Energy Efficiency Can Make Your Home Safer: "

I’ll bet you didn’t know that a number of home energy improvements will actually make you and your family safer around the house. Think about it, 70% of clothes dryer fires—of which the US Fire Administration states that there are almost 13,000 of every year—occur because of unclean lint traps. By cleaning the lint trap in your dryer, you not only save energy, but you are doing your part to avoid being a number in that house fire statistic. For more dryer safety tips check out the National Fire Protection Association’s site. Also, see our dryer ideas for how you can get a little creative with that ginormous dust bunny.

Here are some other ways you can make your home safer with the added benefit of reducing your energy bill.

  • You can help to prevent fires by sealing air leaks around your home. Making sure windows and doors are air-tight will help safeguard your house from fire, as drafts can lead to more serious situations caused by furnace or combustion appliance – like space heaters, fireplaces, even those clothes dryers - exhaust not being properly vented from inside the home. Sealing up the cracks will also improve indoor air quality, and prevent mold causing moisture build-up. It just so happens that sealing up your house is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency at home. It can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

  • Similarly, proper ceiling and wall insulation can also help to prevent fire and reduce the energy needed to heat or cool your house. Well-insulated home “envelopes” reduce air leakage that helps fire to spread quickly and dangerously. Insulation also helps with moisture-related problems such as mold growth and moisture damage.

  • Sealing attic ducts can reduce the occurrence of dangerous ice build-up called “ice dams”. Ice dams are the result of rooftop snow melts refreezing once they hits the cold eaves of the house. Water then pools and runs under the roofing, soon damaging to the roof and providing dangerous conditions to those walking underneath. Sealing ducts helps to reduce energy loss common in a typical home. EnergyStar says that around 20 percent of air that moves through heating or cooling ducts is lost due to leaks.

  • Installing motion sensors on outdoor lights can scare away thieves while saving energy and reducing local light pollution.

  • Properly maintained heat vents will help you to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, which in low concentrations can cause fatigue or even chest pain, and in higher concentrations can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea. Carbon monoxide is fatal in very high concentrations.

--Rachel Tamigniaux


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