Fall is a great time of year. The air gets a little crisp and feels like a welcome relief after the oppressive heat of summer. It is also the time that you are likely turning to thoughts of how to make your home more efficient when it comes to energy. The average American family has no savings, cutting back on energy costs can help fix that.
Of course, any time of the year is a good time to be thinking about how to make your home more efficient. While cost savings is a huge motivator it is not the only benefit of making your home more energy-efficient. Some of the ways you can make your home more efficient won’t be a surprise, but some of the ways will. Learn how you can make your home more efficient before the cold of winter sets in.
Let’s Start At The Top
When most people think about ways to make their home more energy-efficient they think about adding more insulation which of course will make their home more energy efficient but they miss out on other key components like their roof.
Don’t see the connection between your roof and how to make your home more efficient? Consider this. When the weather turns chilly the first thing you reach for is a hat, coat, and gloves. The hat is necessary to help keep the warmth in. Heat rises. Covering up your head helps to keep your body warm.
A roof system that is in good repair and uses newer roofing technologies can do the same thing for your house that a hat does on your head. Local roofing companies typically get busy this time of year because many homeowners realize that a faulty roof means poor energy efficiency.
Contacting a roofer and having an inspection done can reveal faulty areas in your roof system and get them repaired to help improve your home’s energy efficiency. While we are looking up for energy savings and efficiency let’s take a look around the attic.
Keeping your home as snug as a bug in a rug, maybe calling an exterminator service. This time of year while the outdoor insect problem may be fading away, the indoor pest problem may be ramping up. Squirrels and other vermin are looking for a nice place to call home. They will rip through insulation, and make a lovely nest to hunker down for the cold weather. Of course, ripping through the insulation in the attic will rip through your hopes of making your home more energy-efficient.
Getting a pest problem under control is an odd way of making your home more energy-efficient, but it can. What else is happening up in the attic? Is your insulation old and outdated? You can have your attic retrofitted with new insulation and that is going to make a huge difference in your energy efficiency.
There are some unexpected benefits when you make your home more efficient like maybe some insurance savings. Making changes to your home to make it a more energy-friendly home can help you to rack up savings in some unexpected ways. Talk to your insurance agent about any rebates or programs they have in place for replacing old outdated appliances like your water heater.
There may be some municipal programs you can take advantage of for upgrading your home to a more energy-efficient home like tax credits. There are plenty of programs out there to encourage homeowners to make their homes more efficient. Do a little research and see if you can get the state to pay you to make changes or even if they offer grants for the types of changes you need to make.
Energy Thieving Culprits
Have you ever wondered where or where has all that energy use come from? Let’s take a look around the house. Here are some key spots that will suck the heat right out of your home and drive up your energy costs:
- Doors and windows with missing weather stripping. Weatherstripping gets old and loses its power to seal out drafts. Of course, new windows and doors are best to replace old faulty windows and doors, but if that is not in the budget right now, replace the seals to keep out the chill and keep the heat in.
- Gaps in the floors. Seamless floors can solve the problem. Gaps can develop where the flooring has been installed and it can let that cold air right through.
- Garage doors that need service.
Doors and windows are the biggest culprits of energy losses. You can lose about 30% of your energy through garage doors, entryway doors, and windows. You can do many of the repairs yourself like adding some weather stripping and new seals, but for some of the work like garage door service you should call in the professionals for.
24-hour garage door repair can not only fix your faulty door but add new rubber seals that can keep the chill-out and the heat in. It can make a difference when you are trying to make your home more efficient.
Focusing on ways to make your home more efficient does not end with adding more weather stripping to doors and windows or having the garage door repaired. There are other areas of your home that may be sucking out the energy and driving up costs. For example, the outlets and light switches in your home may need to be addressed.
Simply take your hand and place it gently over the outlets in your home, do you feel a bit of a chill coming through? Do the same with your light switches, does it feel like cold air is leaking through? In older homes especially these areas are not very well insulated and they can let the cold air in and drive your energy costs up. You can buy precut foam insulation pads and place them behind the covers to help to reduce the energy losses.
Too Cold To Think About You Air Conditioning? Think Again
You may have come to terms with switching from air conditioning to heat but don’t quite put that chapter to bed yet. If your air conditioning is in need of air conditioning duct repair, do it now. Sounds counterintuitive to worry about air conditioning ductwork when the winter is on the way? Think again.
Faulty ductwork can be a tremendous energy thief. Air conditioning duct repair now is not only good for your cooing needs next season, but it is a good way to make your home more efficient year-round. You are losing heat in those faulty ducts which are driving up costs.
If you really want to take things up a notch this time of year is a great time to have that new air conditioning install done. Why? First, you will be ready for next season with a highly energy efficient system in place, and second, it is likely going to cost less to have it installed at the end of the season when there is no competition out there.
The best time of year to have any residential HVAC installation done when it comes to savings is during the off-peak season. For example, installing air conditioning in the fall or installing a new heating system in the spring. New HVAC installation is a great way to make your home more efficient and if you play your cards right and have the installation done at the right time of year, you can save some money.
It is Not Just Energy Use That Will Make Your Home More Efficient
While much of the focus to make your home more efficient is on how to keep the elements out to keep the climate-controlled well indoors, there are other things that need to be addressed as well. Energy efficiency is about conserving resources like your money and using less fuel. There are other resources that you need to consider that you should work toward using more efficiently..
Whether you pay for municipal water or you have well water, it is vital that you do what you can to preserve this vital natural resource. You can make your home more efficient when it comes to water usage by being proactive.
Having your septic cleaned at least every three to five years will protect the groundwater. A professional septic cleaning service can pump your tank which will help to keep your leech field functioning at an optimum.
Other proactive steps you can take to conserve water and make your home more efficient include:
- Switch out toilets to low flow toilets.
- Use water-saving showerheads.
- Limit showers to under 15 minutes, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and learn to be conscious about water waste.
Making some simple lifestyle changes can help to conserve water. If you pay for water, this can be an important step in helping to cut costs. If you don’t pay for water it can be an important step in ensuring that your well never goes dry.
Use gray water to water house plants, consider getting a rain barrel and use that water for outdoor watering. There are many tips and tricks for conserving water that you can easily implement that will help to make your home more efficient. It is worth doing the research and making the changes.
Let’s Look At Some Habits We Should All Break
It is not just about ways to make your home more efficient with heat, air conditioning, and water conservation. If you want an efficient home you have to develop some habits and break some old ones when it comes to the amount of electricity that you use.
In this era of technology, we are all constantly plugged in, it may be time to start unplugging. Wi-fi connected devices are a great convenience but you have to keep them plugged in, which of course, drains energy.
Even when something is not turned on if it is plugged in, it is sucking up some sort of energy. Take a look around, at this moment in your home how many things are on the charger and plugged in? How many appliances that you are not using are plugged in?
The fact is if your home is like many other American homes, there are devices plugged in all over the house that no one is using that could be unplugged until you need them. Small appliances like the toaster, air fryer, and other appliances do not need to sit on the ready sucking up electricity. Get in the habit of unplugging them after you use them.
The old myth that it is more expensive to turn on a light than it is to just leave it on needs to be dispelled. When you leave a room, turn off the light, there are zero savings by leaving it on.
Any heat-generating appliances cost more to run than non-heat generating appliances. If you are going out of town for the weekend, turn off the breaker to your water heater. Water heaters generate a lot of heat to keep that hot water ready, if you are not going to be home, you do not need the water heater to run.
Keeping lights on, televisions running, laptops plugged in, and more is just a bad habit that you need to break to make your home more efficient. Don’t run the dishwasher for two dishes, rinse the dishes and wait until you have a full load. The same is true with your laundry it takes the same amount of energy to wash three pairs of jeans as it does to wash a whole load of laundry.
Speaking of laundry invest in a five-dollar clothesline and let your clothes air dry weather permitting. That dryer generates heat and it can really ring up those electrical usage charges. Of course, you will not always be able to use your clothesline but when you can you should.
Getting used to unplugging things and turning things off will take a little effort, but once it becomes a habit you will be able to make your home more efficient and get that electric bill reigned in. Make your home more efficient and start reaping all of the benefits.