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Energy efficiency tips for acreages

Living the Country Life Radio Program

Listen to this extended radio story about energy efficiency in the country. (MP3 audio download)

Radio interview source: Rodney Welch, energy auditor, Georgia Power

If you're wondering what changes you can make to save energy and money, start with a free energy assessment. Most energy companies will send an auditor to your place to evaluate windows, doors, outside seals, lighting, and other factors, then suggest more efficient means of conservation.

Rodney Welch is an energy auditor with Georgia Power. He says 52 percent of your power bill comes from heating and cooling, so it's important to have HVAC units serviced twice a year and to routinely make minor repairs.

"Make sure that all your ducts are sealed, seal your air handler with mastic at the prinums, the takeoffs and the other high pressure areas," Welch says. "It is at those high pressure areas, for example at the coils or supply prims, to where the ducts, over time, may become a little loose, the HVAC tape may become raveled a little bit, thus what it does is not get the air that you need to the designated ducts."

Welch says these repairs may save an additional 30 percent on your bill.

Insulation plays a huge role in energy efficiency, too. Install the R-level rating insulation recommended for your state in all buildings. Even if you have a barn or workshop with a high-ceiling, there are options.

"If you're not able to put in the rolled-back or blown-in insulation, a lot of people are going in with 'icening' insulation, they actually go in and spray to the top of the roof, which is real great," Welch says. "It may be a little bit more expensive, but it still works fine in cases like that."

Many insulation manufacturers have products designed specifically for steel buildings and poll barns, too.

Other quick fixes for energy efficiency include caulking up air leaks, installing rubber gaskets behind switch plates and outlets on exterior walls, and replacing outdoor lighting with motion-activated sensors and compact florescent light bulbs.

Learn more:

Exterior caulking tips: In addition to keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, plugging exterior cracks will help make sure no insects or rodents decide to pay an unexpected visit.

Solar water heaters: Solar water heaters provide instant hot water, work in any climate, and can provide 50% to 80% of a home's hot water needs.

Watch this video for tips on integrating solar energy in your workshop:

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