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Comprehensive Ways to Save Money

Contact a Home Energy Rater.

You can save energy through energy efficiency improvements. Contact a home energy rating professional to schedule an energy audit for your home. Visit the Illinois Association of Energy Raters website for more information.

Check your insulation.

Check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meets the levels recommended for your area. Insulation is measured in R-values-the higher the R-value, the better your walls and roof will resist the transfer of heat. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends ranges of R-values based on local heating and cooling costs and climate conditions in different areas of the nation.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Insulation Recommendations: State and local codes in some parts of the country may require lower R-values than the Department of Energy recommendations, which are based on cost effectiveness.
  • Zip Code Insulation Calculator: Check out the zip code insulation calculator for more customized insulation recommendations. It lists the most economic insulation levels for your new or existing home based on your zip code and other basic information about your home.

Increase your attic insulation.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of insulation. If there is less than R-19 (6 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 5 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more.

Consider insulating exterior walls.

If your attic has ample insulation and your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls as well. This is a more expensive measure that usually requires a contractor, but it may be worth the cost.

Keep your furnace operating efficiently.

Have your heating or cooling equipment checked each season by a qualified technician to make sure it is operating properly. Heating and cooling account for about half of the energy costs for the average home. Ask them to perform temperature-rise check to be sure your furnace is operating in the range set by the manufacturer.

Look for the ENERGY STAR®.

Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace. If your gas water heater is over 12 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. The best indicator of a water heater's efficiency is the Energy Factor (EF). The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater. If your furnace is over 15 years old, consider replacing it with an newer ENERGY STAR rated model that is about 15 percent more efficient than standard models.