Winter months can dramatically drive up your utility bills. However, the chilly weather doesn’t have to leave you dreading your next gas or electric bill. By simply making a few easy and typically inexpensive updates, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce the cost of your utility bills.
- have an energy audit performed
- insulate your home
- seal and weather-strip
- look at smart home options
- forget about the outside
- only think big
- overlook the obvious
- throw your budget out the window
If you truly want to ensure that your home remains energy efficient, have an energy audit done. These audits can be done for free or at a low cost by your local energy company, and will let you know exactly where and how your home may losing energy efficiency.
A poorly insulated home can wreak havoc on your home’s efficiency. Without proper insulation your heat may be escaping through your ceiling and walls at such a rate that it seems as though your furnace is running continuously. While it may not be a cheap or easy as flipping a light switch off or turning down the thermometer, properly insulating your home is well worth the cost. Make sure that your ceilings and walls have the insulation needed for your climate by checking with a local contractor. It’ll help your home retain heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer.
Sealing windows and weather-stripping doors and windows can greatly diminish drafts and therefore increase your home’s efficiency. Not only are these methods effective, but they’re also relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
There are products on the market now that can actually learn your habits and modify the home’s energy use based on your habits. One of the most popular is the Nest thermostat. By reviewing all of your options and conducting research on each product, you will likely find one that meets your budget and your needs.
When it comes to making a home more energy efficient, most people focus on the inside of their homes. However, a little landscaping can help you out too. Consider planting trees around the side of your home that gets the most exposure from the sun. In the summer, the tree will shield your home from excessive exposure, and in the winter, when the tree is bare, you’ll get the sun exposure you need to help warm your home. Bushes around the home can also act as additional wind guards and therefore, help with insulation.
While solar panels, geothermal heating, and brand new windows or energy efficient appliances will reduce your energy bills, they aren’t always cost effective. Solar panels can be expensive, even after tax rebates, and may take years to actually pay themselves off.
A water heater that is turned up to high or a furnace with an unchanged filter will diminish your home’s efficiency, yet they are both often overlooked. When trying to make a home more energy efficient, many focus on big changes. However, a few tweaks here and there, such as making sure your water heater remains between 120 and 140, installing a low flow showerhead, or replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent, can add up and help your home remain more efficient without costing you a lot.
While making large improvement can help cut costs, it’s important to also weigh the cost of the project versus the energy savings on a monthly basis. You don’t want to take out a large loan to make big improvements if they don’t pay for themselves in savings pretty quickly.
Making your home energy efficient can keep money in your pocket. It may also make you eligible for tax breaks. And because of this, energy efficient improvements are a highly sought after measure for homeowners. However, making your home energy efficient doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars in updates. A few quick and inexpensive fixes can have you saving money and more eco-friendly in a few short hours.