New Year’s Day has passed and resolutions have been made, however, it’s not too late to add one more to the list: making your home more energy-efficient. Increasing your home’s efficiency means you’ll save money while being kind to the environment. Almost everyone has room to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, here are four steps to help you get started.
1. Assess Your Home
The first step in achieving efficiency is identifying problem areas. Schedule a No-Cost Home Energy Assessment to find out where you’re leaking energy. The process takes about one hour and includes infrared testing to discover where heat is being lost, equipment testing to ensure safe and efficient operation, rebate screening to make sure you’re receiving everything you qualify for, and duct testing to see if you’re losing energy through leaks. At the conclusion of the testing, we will show you what we found and what changes to consider.
2. Seal & Insulate
Once you have identified where your home is losing heat, seal it up! Up to 30% of the heat in your home can be lost through gaps and leaks in windows, doors, and other areas. Start with the easier projects like adding or replacing weatherstripping around doors. Check crawl spaces and the attic to see if they are insulated, and that the insulation is sufficient. Not insulating the attic allows heat from the home to warm the attic which will cause snow at the top of the roof to melt. The melted snow will trickle down to the edges where it will refreeze and cause ice dams. When the weather warms up and the rest of the snow begins to melt, these ice dams will prevent the melting snow to run off the roof properly – this means it can seep back up under the shingles and eventually work its way through the roof and into your home. The good news is that attics are one of the easiest places in the home to add insulation as no walls or other structures stand in the way.
3. Heat & Cool Efficiently
Once you’ve got your home insulated properly and sealed up tightly, there are several steps you can take to make sure you are heating and cooling as efficiently as possible.
- Change your air filter often. Check your filter every month to see if it is dirty, and change it every three months whether it appears dirty or not. A dirty filter makes the entire system work harder.
- Get your heating and cooling equipment serviced regularly. An annual tune-up of your furnace and air conditioner will make sure that your equipment is clean, operating smoothly, and running safely.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Having your settings change automatically based on the time of day can save as much as $180 throughout the year in energy costs. Even if you don’t switch out your thermostat, dial down the heat before you go to bed and before you leave for work.
4. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances
Energy Star is a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that helps people be more conscious about the efficiency of household appliances. If a product has received an Energy Star label it has met the requirements set forth by the EPA for efficiency standards. When it’s time to replace the appliances in your home, look for those that have earned an Energy Star label. An Energy Star qualified boiler, for example, will use about 6% less energy than a standard boiler, and a furnace up to 16% less energy. Qualified central air conditioners can use more than 15% less energy – but only if the blower motor attached to the furnace is also operating efficiently.
You don’t have to do everything all at once, just remain committed to improving your home’s efficiency. There are lots of small things you can do around the house to save energy, too. Switching out your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs and installing timers or motion sensors on the lights in bathrooms and bedrooms will help. Small changes over time can have a big impact, and if you stay focused on your resolution to achieve efficiency in your home you’ll soon see big savings.