5 Easy Steps to an Energy-Efficient Home
The simplest things can make a big difference in the efficiency of your home. Many homes waste energy that could have easily been saved—but not yours, because you found this article.
Here’s a few easy ways to save a ton of money on your home energy bills:
#1. Choose the Right Windows
Windows are the biggest source of heat loss/gain in a home.
If you own an old home that still has single-pane windows, replace them with newer, energy-efficient windows and you’ll probably see an immediate difference in your energy bills.
A choice as simple as the type of windows you buy can make all the difference. You should always consider frame materials and designs when buying new windows. Hinged windows are more efficient than sliding windows because they allow less air leakage between seams. As for the materials, avoid metal frames because they conduct heat, and choose insulated fiberglass window frames for the best efficiency.
Special note: Choose the right windows for your climate. If you live in cold, wet climates, choose materials like vinyl, fiberglass, or wood-resin composite (windows labeled with U-values less than .3 are the most insulated).
#2. Seal the Leaks
If you see a gradual increase in your energy bills over the years (given prices or anything else hasn’t changed), you might have a leak somewhere on your home’s exterior. If this is the case, you should call an HVAC company and have them do and energy audit on your home to find any hidden leaks.
In the meantime, look around your window frames and doorways, beneath your baseboards, and around flues and chimneys. If you find a leak, you can either use caulk, weather-strips, or foam spray insulation to seal it up.
Special note: Sliding barn doors can make a tighter seal than hinged doors in some cases, because it fits in a slot inside the door frame rather than against it (plus they could go well with rustic styles homes if you have one).
#3. Get a New HVAC System
Older HVAC systems are much less efficient than new and improved designs that are available today. If your current system is more than 10 years old, it would be wise to either get a new one or make improvements to bring it into this decade.
Special Note: Humidifiers can be integrated with your HVAC system to add water vapor to the system’s air flow, which can greatly improve humidity levels during the dry seasons of fall and winter (which might help when you have a sore throat)
#4. Pack More Insulation
The amount of insulation a home has is arguably the most important aspect in keeping your home energy-efficient. We’ve seen a beautiful home in a great location with hardly any flaws but one that turned a few buyers away- the insulation was so bad that the energy bills were outrageous!
Older homes like that one could have insulation that became compressed or shifted out of place over the years. Adding the appropriate amount of insulation to the attic will have the biggest effect, given that it is installed properly with no gaps and with the recommended amount of insulation for the region.
Special note: Adding insulation to your walls does not have to be a big demolition project (unless that’s what you want). Contractors can blow insulation into the walls without tearing all of it down.
#5. Get a Programmable Thermostat
Isn’t it wonderful how advanced technology is getting these days? New programmable thermostats that are available now can be set to change the temperature of your home on a schedule, so you won’t have to remember to adjust it every day before you leave the house. Some new thermostats can even change the settings remotely. Imagine the cost savings!