Are you interested in making your home more energy-efficient and save some money in the process? You have many options, from cheap to expensive. Read on to discover whether or not these big (or small) changes can help you not miss out on some energy-saving opportunities.
1. Get an Energy Audit!
Most utility companies offer an energy audit, and oftentimes they will do it for free! They’ll send an expert to your home to look at your appliances, lights, windows, doors, and more. From there, they’ll make recommendations for changes you can make that will save energy and money each month!
2. Swap Out Lightbulbs
Compact fluorescent or LED bulbs can be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they last at least 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use only about 25% of the energy.
As your incandescent bulbs flicker out, maybe consider replacing them with a more energy-efficient alternative. If you decide to swap them out all at once, you’ll start seeing a difference in your next utility bill!
3. Pay Attention to the Sun
There’s a lot you can do to heat and cool your home without spending money, but you’ll need to keep tabs on where the sun is.
In the Northern Hemisphere, windows with southern exposure will get the most direct sunlight.
Make note of whether and when the sun shines into your home across every season, and adjust your habits and blinds accordingly. For example, if the sun is shining directly into your house during winter, then you might be able to save some money on your next heating bill! Open up your curtains and blinds in the morning to warm up the house. In the summer, however, do the opposite. Close those curtains and blinds to keep your house cool throughout the day!
4. Weather-strip Windows
Especially in older homes, windows might not be entirely airtight. What this means is you’ll have drafts coming in from outside sneaking hot or cold air into your home.
A relatively cheap and easy fix would be to weatherstrip your windows. This will eliminate those drafts and ensure that what’s outside won’t creep inside, and vice cress. It’s as simple as a trip to a hardware store and taking a few minutes to weatherstrip each window in your home.
5. Turn Down Your Water Heater
Your home’s water heater is constantly in use, keeping the water consistently hot. If your water heater’s gauge is set at a high temperature, then “consistently hot” takes a lot of energy to maintain.
Take a look at your water heater’s settings and see if the hot water really needs to be that hot. Turning down the temperature ten or even five degrees can lead to some surprising savings. You might not even be able to tell the difference between the temperatures!
6. Swap Out Shower-heads
If you take long showers, this tip can be especially helpful. Change out your current showered for a low-flow version. This will use less water while still having several setting for pressure and spray. By being able to customize your shower experience, you probably won’t even notice that you’re using less water!
7. Buy a Smarter Thermostat
You don’t need a “smart” thermostat for your home (though, it is nice to be able to change the temperature using an app from the couch), but if you don’t have a thermostat that gives you the ability to change the temperature at different times of the day, then it might be time to look into one.
For example, you could set your thermostat to lower the temperature of the house by 10 to 15 degrees when you’re out of the house, and then bring the temperature back up to “normal” just before you arrive home. Many of these smart thermostats even have the ability to choose temperatures by days of the week.
8. Insulate Your Attic and Basement
Heat rises, and that applies inside your house as much as it does in the world outside. That means a drafty attic can result in a lot of energy being spent in keeping the house warm in the winter. That won’t do you any favors in the summer either. An uninsulated basement can let the cold air in winter and out in the summer. Check to see if your attic and basement are air-sealed and insulated. If they’re not, you might consider investing in an upgrade.
Deciding to make your home more energy-efficient can involve simple moves like turning off water on rarely used sinks and taking cooler showers, or as complex as replacing appliances and installing solar panels. Take some time to figure out your ideal level of investment and take things one step at a time. Before you know it, you’re going to have an energy-efficient home that saves money without neglecting comfort.