With energy costs on the rise, saving money and energy is a priority for many homeowners. Fortunately, there are many things you can do around your home to help maintain and improve its energy efficiency – which also means saving money. A home inspection from Inspections Unlimited can help homeowners identify important factors of your home that effect it’s efficiency, such as the state of your heating and cooling systems, insulation, and windows. Your detailed inspection report is a great place to begin as you develop a plan to save energy and improve the efficiency of your home.
In addition, you can also consider some of these low-cost and easy ideas to transform your house or apartment into an energy-efficient place to live:
1. Use compact fluorescent light blubs. While energy-saving bulbs do cost a little more than a standard light bulb, it is a worthy investment. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only 20-33% of the energy that a standard blub does. They also last 8 to 15 times longer. Added up, replacing your home’s fixtures with compact fluorescent light bulbs is a low-cost way to save big. Compact fluorescent bulbs retail for about $15 for a pack of six – or about $2.50 each. You can also contact your power company, who might offer an intensives program - such as providing energy-efficient bulbs at a reduced cost.
2. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats help maintain comfortable temperatures year-round and help to limit the unnecessary use of your home’s heating and cooling systems. Most models come pre-programmed – with settings for when you are home, away, and even asleep – that maintain practical temperatures without sacrificing comfort.
3. Consider energy efficient appliances and systems. When installing a new system in your home, such as an air conditioning system or furnace, or purchasing new appliances, consider energy-efficient models. Research brands that will ensure top performance, like those that come with the “Energy Star” label. Energy efficient products can easily pay for themselves over the next few years.
4. Install weather stripping around doors and windows. Weather stripping is used to seal air leaks and blocks air from escaping - saving energy and money. During a home inspection, your Inspections Unlimited inspector can easily identify areas where air can escape: loose doors and windows, cracks, and other problematic areas you might have missed.
5. Install dimmer switches. Replacing your standard light switches with dimmer switches can help save money and also extends the life of light bulbs. They also create versatile, adjustable lighting options for any room. Dimmer switches can be found at any local hardware store for around $20 to $30. Though remember that florescent blubs might not work with dimmer switches.
6. Make sure your water heater is insulated properly. Insulating your water heater can help to ensure maximum efficiency, unless it is based inside your home. It reduces heat loss between 25% and 45%. This can help to save on water heating costs throughout the year.
7. Run full loads of laundry or dishes. Only running your dishwasher or clothes washer on a full load can help majorly cut down on water and energy usage. Once and a while, you might also consider washing dishes by hand and letting them air dry.
8. Routinely check your home's air filters. It is recommended that you check the air filter in your air conditioning or heater once a month. When a filter is dirty, it slows the airflow and causes the system to work harder – wasting energy in the process.
9. Patch up holes and cracks. Cracks in the walls and floor of your attic, basement and garage provide easy escape routes for air. Use caulking, expanding foam or a similar patching products to plug these holes and keep air inside. Also remember check around the doors and windows of your home. Apply weather stripping around your washer and dryer vents.
10. Check your home for blocked and covered vents. Remember to keep furniture, drapes, and other items from covering floor vents. This helps to ensure rooms are properly heated and keeps air flowing properly. A blocked vent means trapped and wasted energy.
These ten ideas are just the beginning of a long list of ideas to energy saving ideas for around the house. The steps needed to create an energy-efficient home are simple solutions that can help to save a homeowner money and resources in the future. During you next home inspection, pay attention as your Inspections Unlimited professional points out those holes and cracks, or that clogged air duct that could be keeping heat from flowing properly through your home. Each small step can help you save that extra money.