Making your home more energy efficient can help save you money all year ‘round. It’s an easy money-saving gift you can give yourself this holiday season! Most of us are willing to perform energy efficient practices; we just don’t always know which ones can actually make the biggest impact. Below is a list of problem areas around your home and solutions that can have a huge effect on energy efficiency.
- Cooling and heating costs are wasted by drafts at door and windows. Apply weather stripping or replace weather stripping that is worn out. If you cannot weather strip for whatever reason, at least try to block off the drafts as best you can. Heavy or insulated drapery at all windows and patio doors can help. Also use draft stops such as the bean bag snakes at the bottom of outside doors.
- Lack of maintenance on your heating and cooling system. If you are not having your heating and cooling system maintained and cleaned by a professional at least once a year you are wasting energy. Your system can work up to 40% less efficiently when it is not serviced. This not only wastes energy, but costs you more in higher utility bills.
- Replace standard bulbs with fluorescent ones. Although these light bulbs are more expensive than regular ones, they use less energy and last longer, so over time they will more than pay for themselves.
- Water heaters in most homes are set too high. This is not only unnecessary, but can pose a hazard in homes where there are young children. Having tap water delivered that is scalding hot wastes energy – twice. First, the energy needed to bring the water to temperature is wasted, because it is too hot. Then, before it can be used for baths or showers, cold water has to be added to cool it down. Although some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, most households only require them set at 120ºF.
- Check your attic insulation, especially if you have an older home. Insulation products of today have greatly improved over what they were 20 to 30 years ago. You should check to see not only what type of insulation is present but also how much there is. If it is not adequate, replace or supplement it.
- Programmable thermostats are a good investment. These can be programmed to adjust the temperature setting in your home to conserve energy when you are asleep or away from home. Then, before you return home, they adjust the setting again to make sure that when you arrive back home you arrive to comfortable temperatures.
- How you use your energy is also important. Turn lights off when you are leaving a room, whether you are going out of the room or leaving for the evening. Don’t run partial loads of dishes or clothing. Skip the preheat cycle on the oven, except where food requires it. In the winter, put on socks or a sweater instead of raising the thermostat, and in the summer, use fans for additional cooling.