Tips for shaving residential energy costs
Stacey Bergman is serious about cutting energy costs. She replaced old appliances with more energy-efficient ones. She got a new hot-water heater, too.
Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico says those are all good moves but there's even more residents can do to cut energy bills.
About 50 percent of residential energy bills go toward heating and cooling.
Consumer Reports says residents can save about $550 a year in energy costs by eliminating leaks around doors, windows and electrical outlets.
"You can check for air leaks with an incense stick. First, turn on an exhaust fan in your home. Then, light the stick, and hold it up to any openings. If smoke starts to blow horizontally, you've got a leak," DiClerico said.
Insulation is another area to focus on.
Only 12 percent of homeowners have added or upgraded their insulation in the last three years, according to a Consumer Reports survey.
"A good place to start is in the attic. Look for missing insulation where heat can escape, including above the attic hatch door," DiClerico said.
Residents should also make sure insulation is thick enough. For fiberglass or rock wool, residents want at least 11 inches of insulation. For cellulose, eight inches or more is good.
And don't forget to insulate plumbing and ductwork, too.
How and when you wash your laundry can also make a difference.
It turns out only 38 percent of people surveyed by Consumer Reports always wash their clothes in cold water.
That can save up to $60 a year.
Most people - about 73 percent - do wait to run a full load in the washing machine. That's another way to cut costs.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen.