The leaves are changing colors, the cooler air is blowing in, and it’s time to break out the jackets. It’s also a great time to evaluate the areas in your home that could be costing you money and wasting energy.

The first step in improving home energy efficiency is to have a home energy audit. An energy auditor will help you identify ways to make your home more energy efficient. The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Home Energy Saver (http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/) is a free online tool that uses data developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to make specific recommendations for energy-saving upgrades based on details you provide such as ZIP code, address, house size, type of insulation and number of occupants.

Another way to save energy around the house is to switch your current light bulbs to compact florescent lights or LED lighting. This can reduce lighting energy use by 50-70%. Motion and daylight sensor lighting can also reduce your lighting energy use because the lights are on only when needed.

A quarter to half of the heat leaving the furnace (or cold air leaving the air conditioner) leaks out of the duct system before it reaches the living area of a home. A professional can spray a special sealer into your duct system to prevent the waste of energy and heat. It works in a similar way that fix-a-flat does on a flat tire.  Use weatherstripping to seal areas around the doors and caulk can be used around areas such as the back splash and counter top.

Insulating the attic of your home will reduce the loss of heat from your home.

Stuffing the walls or attic with insulation — typically fiberglass, cellulose, or foam — will slow the heat that flows out of the house in the winter and into the house in the summer, thus reducing the energy required to heat and cool the house.  A home energy auditor can identify insulation needs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, though handy people can just as easily remove outlet covers and look at the wall to determine if there is insulation there and, if so, how thick the insulation is.  Then visit the energy department’s ZIP Code Insulation Program to find out the most economic insulation levels for your home. Source: nbcnews.com.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home doesn’t have to mean replacing windows, doors, siding, etc. By utilizing an energy auditor to pinpoint where your biggest energy losses are coming from, you can address those areas with less expensive updates.

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My name is Barbara Bottitta and I am a Realtor/Partner with Keller Williams Real Estate and team leader for the Barb Bottitta Team of Lehigh Valley Home Experts. Our team of professionals include a listing and closing specialist so that from the starting line to the dotted line you won’t find another agent or team that provides better service, works harder – or cares more – than my team. My husband, Lou, and I have lived in Lower Macungie for over 30 years; our grown children attended Emmaus High School and we feel fortunate that our grandson is growing up in the Lehigh Valley as well!

Contact me for your Lehigh Valley area questions and real estate needs, and like my Facebook Page  for area events, home ownership tips, real estate market updates, tips for home buyers and sellers, and so much more!

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