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July 29, 2014
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Top tips for saving energy

By Kevin Kearney

Most, if not all, homeowners would fix a window broken by a wayward softball. What many people don’t know, though, is that there are often small air breaches in many different places of the home that, if combined, could easily be the size of a softball or bigger. As a result, much energy, and many dollars, can be lost.

This was just one of many facts presented by SEEDS and Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) during a recent workshop addressing techniques homeowners can use to be more energy efficient. “We’re just here to offer quick and easy ideas to save energy at your homes,” said Jocelyn Cramer, executive director of Honesdale, PA-based SEEDS, or Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support. About two dozen people attended the free workshop at the PPL Learning Center in October, which is Energy Awareness Month.

SEEDS is a nonprofit organization committed to developing a local renewable energy infrastructure and promoting more sustainable living. It also offers a free home energy assessment program each summer to residents of Wayne and Pike counties.

As for house windows, SEEDS volunteers Jim Sanders and Pete Snyder offered numerous tips that are both simple and inexpensive. They said homeowners should run their hands around windows and doors to feel where air is entering or escaping, and then use caulk to seal the spots.

“Caulking is extremely important,” Sanders said. He said caulk is inexpensive and easy and quick to apply. “None of this is very complicated,” he said. “And you’ll be saving energy and money.”

Another way to cut down on bills is to make sure a home is properly insulated. “Insulation is designed to keep heat in, not keep the cold out,” said SEEDS volunteer Phil Buckingham.

Buckingham talked about the importance of wrapping water pipes, which is “very easy and inexpensive to do,” especially with pre-made pipe wrap tubes. Wrapping hot water pipes will cut down on time waiting for hot water to reach the faucet. It also will reduce condensation and protect pipes from freezing, he said.

He also suggested homeowners wrap their water heaters in a water-heater blanket. Newer models have insulation inside the shell, but additional wrapping makes it cheaper to heat and can keep water hot longer in the event of a power outage.