Energy proofing your home can really help cut down your annual utility bills. With a hot summer looming on the horizon, find out how you can reduce your cooling costs and read other tips on how to start saving energy and money in your home.
Air Seal Your Attic and Insulate Your Walls
The focus here is to keep the outside air out and keep the inside air in. You may need to add new or additional insulation to your ceilings, attic, and walls. Take an additional look at your doors and windows and properly seal them so you’re not letting the cold air in during winter. In turn, the summers will be cooler as you’re more efficiently trapping your cold air and not forcing on your air conditioner to refresh your yard as well as your home.
Revamp Your Windows
If your windows are old and leaky, it may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or to boost their efficiency with weather-stripping and storm windows. According to EnergyStar.gov, replacing windows can result in cost savings, but the larger savings would be associated with replacing single-glazed windows. However, if you are replacing windows for other reasons anyway, in many areas the additional cost of Energy Star-rated replacement windows is very modest, perhaps $15 per window. This upgrade would be cost-effective—and increases your comfort to boot.
Plants Trees and Shrubbery
If your house is older, with relatively poor insulation and windows, good landscaping (particularly deciduous trees) can save energy, especially if planted on the house’s west side. In summer, the foliage blocks infrared radiation that would warm the house, while in winter the bare branches let this radiation come through. Of course, if your house has very good insulation and Energy Star or better windows, the effect is much, much smaller because the building shell itself is already blocking almost all the heat gain.
Switch from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs
Although compact fluorescent bulbs cost more initially, the end result is considerable savings. This is because fluorescent light bulbs last 8-12 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Even using a mix of fluorescent and incandescent lighting throughout your home can have an impact on overall energy usage.
Replace old appliances.
Older appliances are less energy-efficient than newer models. Replace these old clunkers in your home with Energy Star certified appliances. This will go a long way towards saving energy and lowering your electric bills. When it’s time to replace your kitchen appliances, the washer, dryer, water heater, or furnace, research the various models and features so you’ll know which ones are the most energy efficient. When shopping, look for models that are labeled as “Energy Star Certified” to ensure you’re getting energy- and money-saving appliances.
Bonus: Take Advantage of those incentives!
Did you know energy-efficient home improvements make tax incentives available to you through the federal government? You can money back in your pockets in addition to the savings on your power bill. Find out more here.