Making your home more energy efficient should be a priority for everyone. Making a few changes to improve the energy efficiency of your home will lower monthly bills, and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Here are 10 ways you can dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Good Maintenance Practices
If you do nothing other than ensure your home equipment and systems are well-maintained, you can reduce your energy consumption by about 15%. According to Energy.gov, central AC systems have an expected lifecycle of around 20 years. However, if you arrange professional maintenance on a bi-annual schedule, it can extend the life of your unit. Of course, a well-maintained central air system will also use less energy. Regular maintenance also reduces the risk of home fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) found that 51,000 fires were caused by faulty electrical systems and appliances. About 500 people die in these fires annually with 1400 injuries, and property damage is about $1.3 billion a year.
There are several appliances that consume a lot of energy in your home. Your HVAC heating and air system are one of them. Water heaters are another example of a high-energy-use appliance. It is estimated that water heating consumes about 18% of overall energy costs in the average home. Maintaining these systems can help reduce energy consumption.
Five Low-Cost Ways To Start Saving Energy Right Now
The good news is you do not have to spend a lot of money to have a big impact on improving the energy efficiency of your home. There are five ways you can reduce your energy consumption without having to ever open your wallet. We touched briefly on the high-energy-consuming appliances in your home. Water heaters and HVAC systems. If you want to instantly start shaving off the amount of energy that your home is using, turn your water heater off when you are going to be away from home for more than 12 hours.
Traditional water heaters turn off and on whether you need hot water or not. Traditional water heaters are designed to keep the water in the tank at a specific temperature around the clock. Any appliance that generates heat is going to drive up your energy bill. Flicking the breaker off will keep your water heater from running while you are away and you do not need hot water. Get in the habit of raising or lowering (depending on the season) your thermostat by five degrees when you leave the house for work or a day out or when you are on vacation. Turning off your water heater and moving the thermostat up or down five degrees can shave 15% off your energy use each year.
Be aware of “energy vampires”. We all make the mistake of leaving phone chargers plugged in. We also leave small appliances plugged in and ready to go in the kitchen. Unfortunately, even when there is nothing connected to the charger or the appliance is not in use, energy is still being consumed. Go around your home and start unplugging everything that is not in use to reduce energy consumption. Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth. Do not let the shower run while you are getting ready to step in, and consider installing low-flow shower heads. An easy way to conserve water is to put a brick at the bottom of your toilet tank. This little trick will raise the water level in the tank to raise the float, which prevents water from running into the tank.
Keep blinds and drapes closed during the day to reduce ambient heat from the sun accumulating and raise the temperature inside your home in the summer months. In the winter, do the opposite, leaving those blinds and drapes open as long as the sun is shining. Anyone can follow the five no-cost tips above to start saving energy today. If you do all five things and make it a habit, you can reduce your energy consumption by about 25%, according to the Department of Energy. Give it a try.
You May Need to Open Your Wallet to Save
These four energy efficiency options are not free, but they can have a huge impact on your home’s energy efficiency. Window replacement (you can save about 30% on your energy consumption). Retrofitting your attic with insulation (about a 20% reduction in energy consumption). Replace your outdated HVAC system (a 25% reduction in energy), and finally replace your traditional tanked water heater with a tankless version (40% overall energy savings).
By following these energy-efficient tips you can save money on your monthly bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Make a difference and start making energy efficiency a priority!