Energy Saving

Dylan Brown Independent Record - Paul Tschida, program specialist for energy and pollution prevention bureau, adjusts a vacuum fan Wednesday morning to test air flow in a house on Fifth Avenue.

Lynda Saul, who lives in a 1939 vintage house on Fifth Avenue, started with small steps to improve her home’s energy efficiency.

She purchased fluorescent light bulbs, put plastic insulation over her windows and resealed her door frames. Later, she bought new energy-efficient appliances.

On Wednesday, she had an energy audit of her home, complete with the use of an infrared camera to show where heat is escaping and a blower door test to measure air-leakage rates.

“I feel like my heating bills are higher than they should be,” Saul said.

Saul, a longtime member of the Alternative Energy Resources Organization, said she wanted to take the opportunity to provide a demonstration for the public.

Paul Tschida, energy education specialist with the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the home is well-insulated for its age.

The blower door test creates suction by blowing air out of the home to test if sealing is adequate. The largest concerns for air leaks are located at the top plates of walls, open fireplace dampers and wall outlets and switches, among other areas.

Saul is planning a remodel and wanted to get the testing done prior to beginning the work.

“It’s been really interesting,” she said.

Another incentive is the Montana Energy Conservation Tax Credit. The credit — up to $1,000 — for existing homes is 25 percent of the cost of eligible improvements, which include water-

heating equipment, windows and doors.

Some easy tasks recommended by DEQ for making your home more energy efficient include making sure your fireplace damper is closed, cleaning or replacing your furnace filter, adjusting hot water temperature to 120 degrees and setting your clothes washer to low wash and rinse temperatures.

For more information on the tax credits, log onto www.energize

montana.com or call the Montana Department of Revenue at 444-6900.

Reporter Angela Brandt: 447-4078 or angela.brandt@helenair.com or Twitter.com/IR_AngelaBrandt

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