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6 ways to improve your home this Earth Day

This year, Earth Day falls on April 22, so there's still plenty of time to plan how you will make your home more energy efficient. Taking the environment into consideration will not only make the world a better place, it will take a load off your monthly energy bills. That's something everyone can get behind! So as you approach Earth Day this year, consider the following ways you can improve your home.

1. Replace your air filter
A neglected air filter looks more like a shaggy dog than anything else. After a few months of use, it becomes clogged with dust, dander and pet air. Replacing it with a new one will make the air in your house better to breath. Plus, the machine won't have to work as hard, meaning it will use less energy.

Cleaning your air filters is one way to improve your energy efficiency. Cleaning your air filters is one way to improve your energy efficiency.

2. Add a point of use water heater
Does one of the faucets in your home struggle to produce hot water? Perhaps it's in a remote part of the house or you just have an older water heating system. If you're not ready to replace the main heater in your home, consider adding on a point of use heater to give your system a boost. It gets installed under the sink, out of the way, and will produce endless hot water. You won't have to run the faucet for several minutes just to get a bit of warm water.

3. Look for the star
According to State Farm Insurance, you can save a lot of money on your energy bills by purchasing appliances with the EnergyStar logo. That symbol means the appliance is compliant with government guidelines meant to save energy. Compared to an older version of the appliance, it will typically use over 10 percent less energy.

4. Seal your attic
This Old Home magazine recommended heading up to the attic and checking for a draft. After all, heat rises, and if it finds a crack in the attic, it will go right out. That means your furnace has to work harder to replace that escaping heat. And it could explain why your winter energy bills get out of control. Feel around for escaping air or a cold draft, mark these spots, and seal them with caulking or insulation.

5. Seal your doors and windows
State Farm suggested doing the same thing around your doors and windows. Run your hand around the window and door frames. These parts of your house are subject to settling and can become cracked. Small drafts may only require your to seal up the cracks with caulk, while bigger problems might be better solved by installing new windows and doors.

6. Plant trees
It's an Earth Day tradition to go out into nature and plant a tree. This year, add a tree to your own yard. According to Green Home Guide, doing so can actually save you money. A tree will block the heat of the summer sun, meaning you won't have to run your AC unit so much. Plus, the tree will make your property more appealing to look at!

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