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Plug the Holes. Stay Cooler.

Save money while you stay cool this summer. Air sealing, insulation and modest changes in lifestyle can make your home healthier, more comfortable, and less expense to heat and cool.

Those same cracks and gaps around your home that let cold air in, let cooled air out in the summer. With heating and cooling accounting for 50% of our fuel expenses, you’ll want to know about these tips from energy-efficiency expert,  Jean Hamerman, Founder of NeighborGreen.

Tightening up your home: Caulk around exterior wall baseboards and window frames. Look for holes under the sink. Weather strip your doors and install plug gaskets on exterior-wall outlets. Do it yourself, or hire a contractor for a $300 rebate for eligible Con Edison customers.  The impact: like closing a window.


Stay cool, efficiently. If you have central air conditioning, make sure the ducts are clean and well connected; change your filters, mastic duct joints so more air gets delivered. Seal in Energy Star-rated window air conditioners. For savings, use your programmable thermostat to control temperatures.

Get Curtains. They are decorative and offer a low-cost way of blocking the sun. 

Easy savings.  Turn down the temperature knob on your hot water heater until the water's hot enough for your shower- about 120° F. When you go on vacation, turn the dial to vacation mode.

High-performance. Get your home a “check up” so it can perform at its peak to keep your family warm and cool seasonally. Insulating basement rim joists, attics, knee walls and garage ceilings are cost-effective measures that pay for themselves in savings. It's not just for summer, but for year-round comfort and health.

And the coolest not-so new thing: heat pumps (mini splits) for ducted or un-ducted air conditioning.

NeighborGreen offers customized air sealing and insulating plans
for all budgets. FREE, no-obligation home survey. Financing options available- no money down. www.neighborgreen.com or 914-368-9150.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

ManUp June 11, 2012 at 02:12 AM
A sealed house is not healthy. Neither is air conditioning. A well placed house is cool in the summer when shaded by trees and open to natural breeze. Thinking of houses this way is modern and very unhealthy.
Ross Revira June 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Do not patronize NeighborGreen.
John Taggart June 11, 2012 at 07:33 AM
I noticed with nuclear know it all guy, who answers conforming questions and deleats non-conforming comments and questions, local voices might be more accuratly called " local agendas ". I believe heat pumps are considered inefficient in the north.
Dan Thaler June 11, 2012 at 09:46 AM
Heat pumps have come a long way and are now suitable for our climate year round. When coupled with a properly sized solar array it can really cut your electric, gas and/or fuel oil bill. http://homepower.com/view/?file=HP149_pg90_Wilson
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) June 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM
I take your point, ManUp. Still, issues of energy efficiency and cost concern those of us in houses modern or old who use air conditioning. These tips remind me of the January blog post on Ossining-Croton Patch in which the guy used an infrared camera to show all the places heat was escaping. http://patch.com/B-3RS
Joanie D June 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM
ManUp, you've got the right idea about shade being the first line of defense and you are so right about an overly sealed up house not being healthy. Note the word overly, that is why home energy auditors like NeighborGreen use a Blower Door test to determine air flow. The US dept of Energy explains it here http://1.usa.gov/3wOLr7 Basically anytime you are paying for energy (heat or a/c) you want as much as is healthy to stay inside rather than heating & cooling the outdoors. Stay cool bro :)
Joanie D June 11, 2012 at 05:21 PM
John, heat pumps for heating were not the best solution in the past but times they are a changin'. They are definitely a great solution for cooling in any clime as they can dehumidify first, sometimes precluding the need for the a/c at all. The best Japanese brands are working at 400% efficiency in heating mode and can be counted on down to 0 degrees F. Best results for any HVAC system happen of course when you make sure the building envelope is as tight as is healthy. Materials (cellulose vs. foam vs. fiberglass) matter so do your legwork :)

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