Improving energy efficiency at our homes can bring quick results in saving both energy and money. Our choice of energy efficient devices and energy conscious lifestyle habits mean a lot in increasing the quality of our indoor atmosphere and decreasing global warming. The best part is that most of these energy saving ways are easier to implement. Here are 10 such steps to increasing your home energy efficiency and reducing your maintenance and repair costs.
1. Insulate Your Home
Insulating is one of the best and most effective ways to save energy and bring down the energy costs. Increase the insulation R-value to at least R-38 to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable. Attic, window frames, mail slots, electric outlets and receptacles are some of the common places that need to be tightly sealed.
2. Use Appliances Effectively
Generally ignored by many, electronics and appliances account to about 20% of the total 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.
3. Get a Home Energy Audit
Check where your home stands in terms of 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.
4. 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 set back also allows you to easily reset when you are asleep or away from home. You can also time cooling and heating your home and store daily settings without sacrificing your comfort.
5. Light Efficiently
Use day lighting 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 off when not in use.
6. Improve Ventilation
Ventilation accounts to 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 also for cross ventilation.
7. Maintain Your Equipment
Reduce energy wastage by maintain the existing equipment in the best way possible. Replace your furnace filters at least once in every two months; and get an efficiency inspection performed on your heating and cooling system. Cleaning the refrigerator vents and coils once every year also ensures that it performs well while consuming less energy.
8. Seal Efficiently
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 the vents passing through the floors, walls and ceiling. Door and windows should also be weather-stripped to eliminate any drafts. Close fire place dampers and adjust the vents to the right level when not in use.
9. Shade Efficiently
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 few of the steps to be taken to shade your exteriors.
10. Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are very cost effective and a great investment. They can considerably bring down your electricity costs and also help you produce your own energy. You can also sell back any excess energy you produce to the energy providers or use it during a blackout, if any. With so many people jumping the green bandwagon, it’s really time that you get into the green movement.
Small acts that we are not even aware of most of the times can skyrocket the energy bills. These basic energy saving tips which can be easily and effectively implemented will help you reduce the power consumption and ensure that you have slimmer bill. Let your energy bill be a stimulus for you to check the way how everything that consumes power works in your home.