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There are a lot of benefits to making your home more energy efficient. First and foremost, an energy efficient home will save you money, both in terms of the cash you'll save on utility bills and the increased resale value of your home. Moreover, energy efficient buildings are more environmentally friendly, as they tend to use less power and resources. Further, in the event that you're ever without power—such as during a blackout caused by a storm or natural disaster—energy efficient houses will stay comfortable for longer. 

That being said, the process of weatherizing or making your home more energy efficient can often be a little mystifying (and expensive). Keep reading for a basic home energy efficiency checklist

  • Replace or service your appliances. Air conditioners, furnaces, washers and dryers, and refrigerators can be a huge drain on energy if they're not functioning properly. If you're able to, consider replacing old appliances with ENERGY STAR-rated products; however, if you're not ready to shell out for new appliances, even a tune-up or cleaning for your current machine can help. Cleaning the lint from your dryer exhaust vent and vacuuming the coils on the back of your refrigerator are easy ways to service your dryer and refrigerator.

  • Let there be (natural, LED) light. Relying more on natural light during daylight hours decreases your energy use and also reduces the heat output from lightbulbs. And for times when you do need electrified light, using LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs will help you further reduce your energy burden.

  • Seal everything. Reduce the loss of warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer by making sure that air ducts, window frames, and doors are properly sealed and insulated.

  • Hang-dry laundry. If you have the space and time to do so, allowing your laundry to air-dry rather than putting it in a clothes dryer can reduce your energy usage. Bonus: your clothes and linens will have that wonderful sunshine-and-fresh-air scent!

Fortunately, not all energy efficiency measures require spending money—in fact, it's possible to reduce your energy usage by changing a few simple habits. However, particularly if you live in an old home, it's unlikely that you'll be able to improve your energy efficiency without incurring some cost. For low-income households, this can sometimes turn into a big financial burden. For people in this situation, Spectrum's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and weatherization program can provide free assistance and make a big difference. Submit an application or contact us today to see if you're eligible!

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance, outreach programs, and services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or to download a copy or our energy assistance application.