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Fan keeps air clean, not dry

Question: I want to run my furnace (or air conditioner) blower continuously to circulate the air through my furnace air cleaner. Will this make the air inside my home uncomfortably dry?

Answer: Running your furnace blower continuously filters the air better.

If your duct system is in good condition, this should not dry out the air. If you notice that it is drier, you may have a leaky duct system. This often creates a low pressure area inside your home, causing dry outdoor air to leak indoors.

You can install a special blower motor made for this purpose. It switches to a very low speed each time the furnace burner (air conditioner in the summer) shuts off.

This reduces electricity usage, noise and drafts.

Freezer fillers

Question: I have heard that putting crumpled newspapers in my freezer helps save electricity. Can newspapers really help?

Answer: You should try to keep your freezer reasonably full. This reduces the amount of cold air that rushes out each time you open the door. Packing it too full of foods, though, impedes necessary air circulation.

You can use frozen water-filled jugs or crumpled newspapers to fill a less-than-full freezer. Crumpled newspapers are most effective because, if you take them out when you need space, you lose less energy than from ice.

James Dulley is an engineer whose column on cutting utility bills appears twice a month. Questions can be addressed to James Dulley, Cut Your Utility Bills, the Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

His 224-page book, Super-Efficient Homes, shows 220 floor plans and exterior diagrams of efficient houses and build-it-yourself house kits. Order by sending a check or money order for $13.95 to James Dulley, Houses, at the address above.