Making your home more energy efficient can help not only the environment, but may save you money in the long run as well. These suggestions are likely upgrades your home might be about due for anyway, and the goal of energy efficiency could be that final push you need. Here are 5 ways to make your home more energy efficient:
- Install Insulation
Do you have any idea if your walls and attic are well insulated? If you haven’t climbed up into your attic in a while, the answer is likely no. Proper insulation stops warm air from flowing out of the house in winter, and into the house in summer – meaning less energy is required to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. There are several different types of insulation you can choose from, including fiberglass, foam and fibers like plastic. Insulation is used for unfinished walls, floors, ceilings, and foundation.
- Replace Outdated HVAC Equipment
If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment is old and not working properly, it might be time for an upgrade. Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling? So using systems that are in top running order can really impact your utility bills. If your HVAC system isn’t quite ready to be replaced entirely, you can make small improvements that won’t break the bank. Changing your air filter regularly and getting performance tune ups can extend the life of your equipment.
- Upgrade to Energy Efficient Windows
Old windows can be drafty, letting air leak in and out of your home and causing your energy bills to be much higher than they should be. There are many benefits to ENERGY STAR windows, doors and skylights, including:
- Money savings – When your windows are energy efficient, you use less energy to heat and cool your home.
- Good for the environment – Using less energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Comfort – Quality windows will keep those cold drafts outside where they belong, keeping your home more comfortable.
- Minimized UV Damage – The sun’s rays can wreak havoc on your furniture, carpet and floors. High performing windows provide UV protection.
If replacing your windows or installing insulation seem like too big of an expense, consider swapping your current lightbulbs for a more energy efficient option. Halogen incandescent lights, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are all great options. While they can initially cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, they do use less energy, saving you money in the long run.
First, you can lower your water heating costs by cutting back on how much hot water you use. According to energy.gov, water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill after heating and cooling. In addition to using less hot water, try fixing any leaks, investing in more efficient appliances (such as your dishwasher and clothes washer), install low-flow fixtures (such as showerheads and faucets), and keep the temperature of your water heater on the warm setting (120°F).
If you try even one of these tips, you’ll be on your way to a more energy efficient home in no time!