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Home energy improvements

Posted October 02, 2013 in Advice Column, Perry

If you’re looking for a way to cut expenses — and who isn’t these days — look no further than your home. The average household spends more than $1,300 a year on energy bills. You can reduce your energy costs with a few basic home improvements.

Stop leaks
Small cracks can lead to big air drafts. Applying weather stripping to windows and doors and caulking around openings for dryer vents, outdoor faucets and crawl spaces doesn’t take a lot of time or money, but can save you money in the long run.

Hot and cold
Heating and cooling accounts for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. Reduce your energy cost by controlling the temperature of your home with a programmable thermostat. Adding insulation can also help maintain the temperature you want inside.

Upgrade to green
If you’re in the market for new appliances, consider the advantages of purchasing energy-efficient models. While the initial cost may be more expensive, you’ll save substantially more during the years in energy costs. You may also qualify for tax credits, or rebates from your local energy provider for increasing the energy efficiency of your primary residence.

Creating a safe home
A safe home is a happy home. But if you’re a parent, you know that accidents do happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 more than 30 million non-fatal injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments across the country. Here’s a refresher on a few basic home safety measures that could help keep your family out of the ER:
•    Place non-slip mats under rugs and consider taping down corners that curl up and could be a tripping hazard.
•    Store all poisons and chemicals in a cool, dry place well out of reach of children and pets.
•    Put a safety covering over all electrical outlets to prevent children from exploring them with their fingers.
•    Secure heavy television stands, bookshelves and dressers with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
•    Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit so your hot water won’t burn you or others in your home.
•    When cooking on the stove, keep pot handles turned to the back or center of the stove.
•    Keep window blind cords out of the reach of children.
•    Install safety gates securely at the top and bottom of stairs to keep children from playing there or climbing unsupervised

Use these simple steps and inspect your home regularly for other hazards. Your home will be a safer place for you and your family to live.

Information provided by David Finneseth, agent, Farm Bureau Financial Services, 1009 Willis Ave., 515-465-2005,

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