There are several ways – some big, some small – to make your home more energy efficient and help you save money while becoming even greener.
Energy efficiency is becoming an increasingly important piece of our daily lives. Whether you are looking to cut your carbon footprint or you just want to cut back on the electric bill, there are things you can do – big and small – to help.
Some day we may all have solar panels on our roof and a battery to store that energy, but for the majority of us, that’s not realistic at the moment. With that in mind, we have a few tips on how to make your home more energy efficient.
Know Your Usage
To begin with, you should go through your energy bills and start tracking your usage. Depending on your provider, you may be able to jump online and look over several months of data; if not, give them a call and ask for that information. Things like temperature and how much daylight there is in a day will greatly affect how much energy you use, so your monthly usage will vary, but you should quickly see a pattern and be able to get an average.
You can also find an online energy evaluation tool and fill it out to get a sense of how much energy you’re using and when. Once you have that data, you can set monthly goals.
This one is easier said than done given the costs, but appliances are continually being refined to be more energy efficient, and if you have older appliances you are using more energy than you could be. But assuming you are a normal human and aren’t capable of just replacing all your expensive appliances on a whim, there are some other simpler (and cheaper) things you can do to conserve energy.
To begin with, any appliances with a maximum temperature should not be set to maximum – this includes your refrigerator and water heater. You rarely need the max setting and it requires more energy to get it to that point. Another cheap way to make your home more efficient is to wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket – the less heat bleed-off, the less energy they require to reach the requested output. It’s also a good idea to look into low-flow shower heads that conserve water and therefore end up using less heat.
You should also try to limit the usage of appliances that operate in short bursts, like a dish washer and a washer/dryer. Just make sure to run one large load rather than several small loads. Depending on your situation, you can also save a little juice by air drying your clothes and/or your dishes. Washing clothes on warm or cold – not hot – can help too.
Be sure to replace your light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs as well. They might cost a little more, but they will save you money in the long run.
If your home offers central heat or air, or if you are using portable units, make sure your home is properly insulated. The more of a draft there is, the more you are wasting energy as the heat/AC struggles to keep up.
To begin with, if you have large windows you should make sure they are sealed properly with caulk and weather stripping. In the winter, you can also cover the window in a plastic sheet to help keep the heat in. It’s also important to ensure your doors don’t have a large gap between them and the floor, and it pays to walk around your home and fill any gaps with foam spray insulation. It will help to control the temperature inside the building.
Unplug to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
When something is plugged in, even if it isn’t turned on, it can still drain energy. The usage might be relatively minuscule, but if you have several things plugged around the house it adds up over time.
It’s probably not practical to walk around to plug and unplug cords all the time, but if you invest in a few power strips you can turn those off and stop the drain.
Get an Assessment
If you are really serious about making your home more energy efficient you should speak with a contractor. Schedule a time when they can come out and tour your property, and ask them to look for any improvements they can make within your budget.
If you are interested in a full remodel at some point, ask your contractors about what additional work would be required to make the new addition as energy efficient as possible. Plan for the future and it will save money in the long run.
Regardless, it’s worth the time to speak to someone that knows what is what. If you’d like to schedule an appoint with Fleschner to discuss your options, you can contact us here.