Improving energy efficiency in our homes can bring quick results in saving energy and money. Our choice of energy-efficient devices and energy-conscious lifestyle habits greatly increase the quality of our indoor atmosphere and decrease global warming. The best part is that most of these energy-saving ways are easier to implement.
Here are ten steps to increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce maintenance and repair costs.
Insulate Your Home
Insulating is one of the best and most effective ways to save energy and reduce energy costs. Increase the insulation R-value to at least R-38 to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable. Attics, window frames, mail slots, electric outlets, and receptacles are some common places that need to be tightly sealed.
Use Appliances Effectively
Generally ignored by many, electronics and appliances account for about 20% of domestic energy usage. Using them effectively can considerably bring down the energy bills. Use power strips and turn off the electronics when not in use. Use cold water in your washing machine. Install and use only Energy Star-rated appliances around your home.
Get a Home Energy Audit
Check where your home stands regarding energy efficiency with a regular energy audit. Energy auditors will help you know what instant changes you need to make your home more energy-efficient. You can schedule a low-cost in-the-home energy audit by a private energy company to get your home inspected thoroughly. There are also DIY energy audits available online.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats surely save energy and money. During the heating season, set the thermostats to energy savings. A programmable thermostat with an automatic setback allows you to easily reset when you are asleep or away from home. You can also time cool, heat your home, and store daily settings without sacrificing comfort.
Use daylighting as an effective alternative to electrical lighting around your home. Double-pane skylights are cost-effective and reduce your dependence on electricity while ensuring you have sufficient natural light most of the day. Install CFLs and LED lights to the most-used fixtures inside your home. For the outside, motion sensors and timers are a good option. Most important: turn it off when not in use.
Ventilation accounts for a significant portion of the energy used in our homes. A lot of energy is consumed for operating fans and for heat transfer. Installing a proper attic fan and good venting system reduces these operational costs. Make sure that the vents are unobstructed. Open windows during the night – especially in the summer – to let in some cool air and cross ventilation.
Maintain Your Equipment
Reduce energy wastage by maintaining the existing equipment in the best way possible. Replace your furnace filters at least once every two months, and get an efficiency inspection performed on your heating and cooling system. Cleaning the refrigerator vents and coils yearly also ensures that it performs well while consuming less energy.
Air leaks mean wastage of energy dollars. Seal, caulk and weather-strip any big holes in your home properly for more energy efficiency. Seal around the pipes, wiring, and vents passing through the floors, walls, and ceiling. The door and windows should also be weather-stripped to eliminate any drafts. Close fireplace dampers and adjust the vents to the right level when not in use.
During the summer, direct sun exposure makes your home extremely hot, thus increasing the cooling costs. Install a trellis with climbing vines for shading and better looks. Close the drapes and blinds during the day to hold off the heat. Installing shutters, shades, and awnings; and planting deciduous trees around the home are a few steps to shade your exteriors.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are very cost-effective and a great investment. They can considerably reduce your electricity costs and help you produce your energy. You can also sell back any excess energy you produce to the energy providers or use it during a blackout. With so many people jumping the green bandwagon, it’s time that you get into the green movement.
Small acts that we are unaware of most of the time can skyrocket the energy bills. These basic energy-saving tips, which can be easily and effectively implemented, will help you reduce your power consumption and ensure a slimmer bill. Let your energy bill be a stimulus for you to check how everything that consumes power works in your home.