6 Tips for Improving Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
We all know the importance of energy efficiency, but how to even begin? The first thing you should do is gauge your home’s energy efficiency with an audit. An efficiency audit will help you figure out where your efforts will be best spent as you move forward. Most utility companies will do this for free or for just a small fee. There are some great resources online for a DIY audit as well. Regardless of how you complete the audit, here are some basic tips for improving your home’s energy efficiency:
- Add or upgrade insulation/air sealing in the attic. Though the attic space is rarely intended for use, it leaks energy if not sealed properly – literally sending your money right through the roof! We recommend talking with a professional to consider your insulation options.
- Switch to LED bulbs. Most people have already made the switch to LED bulbs and for a good reason! LED bulbs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs and they typically last a lot longer.
- Update Weather Stripping on doors and windows. Weather stripping protects against air drafts and regulates your home’s interior temperatures. Energy Star has plenty of tips and tricks for sealing and insulating your home.
- Install programmable thermostats. As opposed to having your HVAC system running at all times, programmable thermostats allow you to customize your temperature so you can stay comfortable whether you’re home or not. While you’re away, you can program the thermostat to only use energy when you tell it to.
- Perform regular HVAC maintenance and upgrade to Energy Star units if you can. Most modern HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) units are Energy Star-certified and could cut your heating and cooling costs tremendously. Performing regular maintenance keeps your system running smoothly and makes it easier to address any efficiency issues as they may arise. Bonus: Some HVAC companies offer tax credits for upgrading your system. Additionally, be sure to ask your technician about sealing your air ducts as this will further enhance your energy efficiency.
- Consider upgrading your appliances. Running appliances are necessary but have a large impact on your home’s energy efficiency. This can be an expensive undertaking, but replacing your old appliances for newer, Energy Star-certified appliances will pay off in the long run. You don’t have to replace them all at the same time, though! If it makes more financial sense for you to swap one appliance at a time then do so; you’ll still be making progress towards better efficiency. If you choose to replace your old appliances with new Energy Star-Certified appliances, it’s best to start with the refrigerator. Refrigerators use more energy than other appliances because they are typically running 24/7. Other appliances that use a lot of energy include stoves, A/C units, washers and dryers, and dishwashers. Beware of the appliance shortage, though!