ATLANTA, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Today, many Hispanic homeowners may be second-guessing home improvements because rising energy and other costs are simply pushing renovations out of their budgets. But they should realize that some improvements can actually save homeowners money in the long run — particularly those improvements that focus on improving energy efficiency.
“Hispanics have a passion for making home improvements and take pride in making things with their own hands,” says Nestor Esparragoza for The Home Depot. “Hispanics are very attentive to their homes, focusing on decor and taking on home improvement projects for beautification or room addition purposes.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) reports that heating and cooling account for 50 to 75 percent of energy used in an average American home. So the search is on for ways to spend home improvement dollars on purchases that are both economical and environmentally friendly. The Home Depot wants to help.
— Beef-up insulation: The DOE says that one of the leading causes of energy waste in the home is inadequate insulation. Adding more insulation is a relatively affordable investment for homeowners with a quick return. Climb up into your attic and check to see if ceiling joists are visible; if they are your home is seriously under-insulated. Homeowners should look for “Batt” insulation, which is a little more expensive but is not complicated to install correctly for the Do-it-Yourselfer. Choose, for example, R13 Mini Roll Fiberglass Insulation that can be installed right over existing insulation for an easy fix. If a home meets insulation recommendations of the US Department of Energy, a family can save up to 20 percent on energy bills.
— Seal out leaks: Another energy-wasting culprit are gaps around doors and windows that can let warm or cool air escape the home. Energy experts estimate that roughly 21 percent of a home’s energy loss occurs this way. Feel around areas for drafts and gaps, especially in known problem areas like the basement and attic. Plumbing and dryer vents, as well as recessed lights can also be sources of air leaks. A home sealant product can make the home more airtight. Great Stuff(TM) insulating foam sealant can be used to fill in gaps and cracks, including those around pipes, windows and doors. The polyurethane-based sealant, which is ENERGY STAR(R) qualified, forms a water-resistant skin and expands to thoroughly fill cracks and voids.
— Adjust cooling and heating habits: Homeowners want to stay comfortable and heating/cooling systems are designed to do that, but they can certainly be energy hogs. However, by making some lifestyle changes, it’s possible to save money and feel comfortable. For example, The Home Depot recommends installing a programmable thermostat that, when used properly can save you more than $180 a year by automatically adjusting temperature settings while you are asleep or away. A thermostat like the RiteTemp Flush Mount Thermostat or the Honeywell 7-day Programmable Thermostat is a good choice and can help save 33 percent on energy bills. Also, look for a ceiling fan to work in conjunction with the heating/cooling system. Depending upon the direction of the blade spin, you can create a cool downdraft or draw up warm air and save extra money on heating and cooling costs. The Hampton Bay 68 Inch Altura Ceiling Fan is just one of many attractive options.
— Changing Light Bulbs: Although heating and cooling make up the majority of your home energy use, lighting is a big chunk too — about 20 percent, or $400 a year. Replacing incandescent light bulbs in the five most-used fixtures in a home with n:vision(R) compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can save up to $65 a year in energy costs. If every American household did this, it would save close to $8 billion each year in energy costs, and would prevent the greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.
These are just a few of the many ways homeowners can improve and make their home more energy-efficient. An expert from The Home Depot can provide further guidance on other ways to save. For more information visit The Home Depot or log on to http://www.homedepot.com .