Tuesday, 21 November 2017

How to Boost Your Home's Efficiency Without Draining Your Wallet

Written by Posted On Monday, 10 November 2014 09:04

Photo credit: Flickr

Making your home more efficient isn’t just about saving the environment, although it’s a great place to start. It’s also about saving money over time. Whether it involves a simple change like switching your light bulbs or a bigger project like installing solar panels, it all pays off in the end. When you use less energy, you spend less money. Some energy efficient upgrades are a one-time investment, while others are things you do everyday. Consider the following ways you can enhance your home’s energy output. It’s not necessary to implement every suggestion, but even just one or two will save you money, energy, and support the environment as well.

 

1. Replace your old appliances.

 

Old, worn-out appliances take a great deal more energy to run than you’re aware of. Consider replacing them with ‘Energy Star’ certified appliances. In just a short amount of time, you’ll notice your electric bill starting to decrease. If you need to buy a new appliance, such as a refrigerator, washer, dryer, furnace, or water heater, look for the label ‘Energy Star” to ensure you’re buying an energy and cost-saving appliance.

 

2. Properly insulate your home.

 

By adding insulation to your attic, walls, and ceilings along with installing weather stripping or caulking, it will help keep the warm inside during winter and keep the hot air out during the ‘dog days’ of summer, letting you save both enormous amounts of both money and energy.

 

3. Install a high-efficiency water heater

 

A high-efficiency water heater can drastically reduce your energy costs overall. Did you know that approximately 15 – 25 percent of your home’s annual energy usage goes towards heating water? Given those percentages, it pays to install one with the highest energy efficient rating as possible.

 

4. Add solar panels.

 

While the upfront cost of installing solar panels can cause a significant dent in your bank account, over time it’s worth it. Solar panels not only save you both energy and money, if you start to generate a surplus you can actually sell it back to the utility company, not to mention the tax incentives that typically come with installing a solar system as well.

 

5. Upgrade your windows.

 

The windows in your home are a major source of substantial heat loss. While fresh caulk and new weather stripping are both good ideas to save energy, they’re simply not enough if your windows are really old and worn. Consider installing the following:

 

• Upgrade to multi-paned windows

• Tint your windows

• Replace all aluminum frames

 

6. Plant shade-giving trees.

 

Trees aren’t only beautiful and produce oxygen for the planet, they can save a great deal of energy when strategically planted near the outside of your home. Consider planting a tree or two on the southern or western side of your home where the sun is the most intense. The tree and its color-rich, sun-shading leaves will provide lots of shade, even in the hottest part of the day during summer to naturally keep the inside of your home nice and cool.

 

7. Paint your roof.

 

Studies show that roofs with darker colors absorb much more heat due to the intense rays of the sun than lighter colored roofs. For example, a solid black roof completely exposed to the sun can raise the temperature by almost 90 °F, which means the air conditioning inside has to work a great deal harder in order to compensate for all that excessive heat. Roof painting can be done on several common roof types, including concrete tiles and metal surfaces.

 

8. Keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible.

 

There are many things you can do to keep your furnace running at its maximum efficiency, some of which include:

 

• Install a high-efficiency furnace system

• Regularly change the air filters

• Use a programmable thermostat

• Seal the duct work of your furnace system

 

In order to fully optimize your home’s efficiency, consider getting an energy audit. Both energy auditors and energy raters use their special skills and tools to adequately assess your home and then suggest the most cost-savings measures in order to enhance its comfort level and overall efficiency.

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