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Top energy-efficient home renovation projects

Ashley Phipps is an Interior Designer, NCIDQ #25242, living in the Indianapolis area. She is also the author, designer and creator of the blog Simply Designing. You can follow Ashley at her blog, and on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pin...

6 Energy-efficient improvements

Buying energy-efficient appliances can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your home electricity bill. However, there are many home improvements you can make to help keep your home energy efficient and to help lower your electric bill.

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Insulation

Insulation provides a barrier between your comfy cozy home and the brutal cold outside, or between the comfy cool inside and the blazing hot outside. Either way, adding extra insulation in the right spots — think exterior walls and attic — can significantly help to reduce heat transference between the inside and outside of your home, thus saving you money each and every day that the outside temperature is not an ideal inside temperature.

Windows and doors

Yes, there are energy-efficient windows and doors. If you are looking to upgrade or install new windows or exterior doors, consider energy-efficient options as a long-term investment in reducing your energy consumption.

Weatherstripping and caulking

If you're not ready to replace windows and doors, be sure your exterior doors have sufficient weatherstripping and all of your windows have caulking that is in good shape. If these need to be replaced, don't worry — these are simple, DIY, low-cost ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

Upgrade appliances

Don't just think about your refrigerator and stove. Remember that your water heater, air conditioning unit and furnace can all be energy hogs. Consider replacing an old and conventional water heater with an on-demand water heater. If replacing your water heater is not possible, consider turning the thermostat down to about 120 degrees F and insulating your hot-water lines. Upgrading your air conditioning unit as well as your furnace can also reduce energy consumption. If you're looking to purchase any new kitchen appliances, look for Energy Star efficient appliances to ensure your maximum energy bill savings.

Go low-flow

Installing low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads all help reduce the amount of water a family can use. Reducing heated water usage reduces your bill to heat that water.

Programmable thermostat

Probably one of the least expensive and easiest options to do yourself is installing a programmable thermostat. Depending on the model and features of the thermostat you purchase, you can pre-program the thermostat to one temperature when you wake up, another temperature when you leave for work, a third for when you return home and a fourth for nighttime. Remember to lower your temperature in the winter when you are away from home and increase the temperature during the summer when you are away from home. Many programmable thermostats also offer the option of specifying different settings for weekdays and weekends. Energy.gov recommends keeping your thermostat set at 68 degrees F during the winter when you are home and 78 degrees F in the summer when you are home.

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