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Winter renovations to boost home energy efficiency, add value

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Updated: 2/03 12:11 pm

(BPT) - It's that time of year again, when the cold wind blows outdoors and your home works as hard as it can to keep you warm and comfortable indoors. Yet your home may be working harder than necessary, while inflating your energy bills in the process. By making a few home renovations this winter, you can boost energy efficiency, save money and add value to your home in the long run.

Now is a good time to make energy-efficient renovations. More than 90 percent of the 116 million homes in the United States are expected to have higher heating expenditures this winter compared with last winter, mainly due to changes in energy prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Heating and cooling account for about 54 percent of a home's utility bills, according to energy.gov. Because of this, it makes good sense to make efficiency improvements now.

Here are some tips for making your home run more efficiently this winter.

Change your furnace filter. A dirty furnace filter can restrict airflow and increase energy use in your home. Keeping your furnace clean, updated and properly adjusted can save about 5 percent on heating costs. To increase the efficiency of your furnace, replace or clean the filters once a month during the high-use months.

Upgrade to a more efficient furnace. Consider upgrading to a more efficient and reliable furnace. For example, the Trane XC95m gas furnace has a fully modulating gas valve and a variable speed fan for efficient, consistent warmth throughout your home. As the industry's first fully modulating furnace, its unique technology prevents your home's system from overshooting the set temperature, eliminating temperature swings and moderating your system's energy usage.

Reduce heat loss from windows. Ten to 25 percent of your heating bill each month can often be attributed to heat lost through your home's windows , according to energy.gov. Replace old windows with more energy efficient ones so your heating system doesn't have to work as hard to manage your home's desired temperature. Keeping shades and draperies open during the day will also take advantage of the sun's warmth and allow for a more efficient system.

Create an energy command center. Some of the newest technologies literally put home energy control at your fingertips. For instance, with a Trane ComfortLink II Control you can monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, adjust your HVAC system for energy efficiency and learn when it's time to change a filter or schedule routine maintenance - all from a 7-inch touchscreen. It comes paired with an energy management system that analyzes your home's energy usage 24/7 and reports how much is being spent on electricity.

Choose ENERGY STAR products. Your home's appliances and electronics account for close to 20 percent of your energy bills, according to energy.gov. Using ENERGY STAR-certified products - which incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 15 percent less energy and water than standard models - throughout your home could save nearly $900 over the lifetime of the products.

Schedule seasonal maintenance. During the heavy-use winter months, it's a good idea to schedule an HVAC system checkup. A qualified dealer can perform preventive maintenance to ensure your heating system is operating properly and safely and advise you on ways to improve energy efficiency. To find a dealer near you, visit trane.com.

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