Just how efficient is your home? Most homeowners may think their home is relatively energy efficient—after all, they turn off the lights when they leave the room and keep the house at a reasonable temperature in the summer. They do what has been emphasized in saving energy. However, there’s a lot of energy waste that occurs passively, not actively. An inefficient air conditioner, an older lightbulb, or a energy-sucking dryer all may be costing you money every month without you even realizing it. In fact, of all the residential energy used in the United States every single year, 35% of it is wasted. Chances are that holds true for your home, as well. You are simply not saving enough energy.
The good news is that there are more ways than ever before to improve your home’s energy efficiency. In this article, we’ll review where you should start working to make your home more efficient before getting into some DIY changes you can make in saving energy and money.
Maximize the efficiency of your HVAC systems
Want to put your home on the road to energy savings? Start with your air conditioner and furnace. Your cooling and heating systems use more energy than all your other appliances combined. Unsurprisingly, efficiency improvements in this area often have the best return-on-investment for homeowners. Seasonal tune-ups with a heating repair contractor, for instance, can help your air conditioner and furnace run more efficiently. Naturally, maintenance is also good for your system’s health and lifespan, so you’re putting yourself in a position to save money there, too.
When you need to replace one of your HVAC systems, look for Energy Star rated models with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the system cools or heats air. The system will be more energy saving. Remember: while you might save some money upfront by choosing a less expensive but less efficient system, you’ll pay more in the long run with higher monthly energy bills.
Make your home more efficient
Beyond the cooling and heating systems themselves, there’s a lot homeowners can do to make their home more efficient at holding onto cooled and heated air. As you might imagine, projects like adding weatherstripping to doors and windows can accomplish this. But, there are even more effective ways to conserve energy and save money. Additional attic insulation, for instance, can greatly reduce your home’s cooling and heating losses.
Talk to an HVAC technician about your air ducts, too. Many homes are losing a large percentage (at times, upwards of 40%!) of the energy spent cooling or heating air through tiny cracks or pinholes in their air ducts. Many companies now offer air duct sealing services that cut down on these losses. This makes your home that much more efficient.
Small improvements that conserve (and pay off)
Once you’ve tackled the big ticket items, there are several small DIY projects that you can take on to extend your energy savings even further:
- Replace outdated light bulbs: Replace older, less-efficient light bulbs with energy-efficient LED and CFL ones. Use timers to put your lights on a schedule that ensures that all the lights are off in your home when you’re away or sleeping.
- Check your water heater: Make sure your water heater isn’t set too hot. This a potential scald risk for you and those in your home. Furthermore, it can also waste energy over the course of a year. When it’s time to replace your water heater, be sure to pick an energy-efficient model or—better yet—upgrade to a tankless water heater. They use far less energy because they only heat water once it’s needed at the tap.
- Install a smart thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps homeowners save money. It ensures that the air conditioner or furnace is only running when they are home. There are many different models with a wide degree of functionality and features. Do talk to an HVAC professional in your area about which is right for your home. Iron out compatibility issues with your HVAC systems.
See even more ways to save
The projects discussed above are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving your home’s energy efficiency. If you’re a homeowner set on making your home more efficient, be sure to check out this new infographic from the team at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing in Hayward. It has even more tips saving energy and for cutting down on your monthly energy bills:
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