A Place to call Home
Lovely homes lining the streets of Northwood offer a warm and inviting place to raise a family. Northwood has attractive, affordable housing in a clean environment. Northwood citizens take great pride in their housing and community.
Many homeowners don't realize that when they improve or remodel their home, they can save money on energy bills, improve comfort and help protect the environment. Each year, as homeowners spend more than a hundred billion dollars on home improvement and home repair projects, many miss the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reap the rewards. EPA wants to change this and has developed an interactive web-site that provides practical advice and tools for homeowners undergoing home improvement projects.
Key features include:
- Home Energy Yardstick - Allows homeowners to find out how their energy use at home compares to that of other U.S. households. If a home receives a score of five or less, it may be time to consider making some improvements.
- Home Energy Advisor - Helps homeowners determine the most effective improvements for their home. Providing the answers to 15 questions results in a customized report of potential home improvements, ordered by effectiveness.
- Solutions to Common Home Problems - Problems like uncomfortably hot, cold or drafty rooms, high energy bills and the growth of mold and mildew are often the result of energy inefficiencies. This tool offers solutions that will not only help fix the problem, but also help save energy, save money and increase comfort.
- Remodeling Guide - From a kitchen overhaul to a bathroom quick-fix, ENERGY STAR offers energy-saving solutions for many popular remodeling or renovation projects. Upon selecting the projects of interest, consumers are shown where to include energy-efficient features and products in home improvement plans.
Heat & Cool Efficiently
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills and your comfort. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. For more information, see our Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling
Change your air filter regularly
Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool without wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $150 every year in energy costs.
Seal your heating and cooling ducts
Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent and sometimes much more.
Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap the ducts in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, seal ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.
See our Duct Sealing brochure (1.13MB) for more information.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment
If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, you should have it looked at by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency heating and cooling units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.
Remember that getting the proper size and a quality installation is essential to getting the most from your new equipment. When replacing HVAC equipment, bigger doesn't always mean better. If the unit is too large for your home, you will be less comfortable and might actually have higher utility bills. Oversized equipment will operate in short run cycles, not allowing the unit to reach efficient operation and remove humidity from the air resulting in an uncomfortable home. Your contractor should determine the right size for your HVAC equipment by using ACCA/ANSI Manual J or an equivalent sizing calculation tool that takes into account specific information about your home.