There are lots of things that can be done to increase home energy efficiency and save you money. While some are simple, others are more complex and might require the help of a professional.
Some of the more simple tips include taking the cover plates off your light switches and placing a rubber gasket and replacing the cover plate. Lots of air seeps through the walls and this helps to prevent that. Check for air leaks around all doors, windows, fireplaces, attic access, ceilings, light fixtures, and electrical outlets. Check and replace worn weather stripping around windows and doors.
Adding additional insulation in the attic is a very cost effective way to cut down on your monthly utilities. This is a quick way to greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home. Install attic air barriers such as wind baffles along the entire attic eave help ensure proper air flow from soffit to attic. This will help control moisture in the attic and reduce your summer cooling costs. If your home still feels cold in the winter and hot in the summer you may need to add insulation and home wraps to your exterior walls. This is a little more difficult and may require the help of a contractor.
If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane low E windows. Old drafty windows can add 10%-25% to your energy bills. Use drapes and blinds during the summer to prevent the summer sun from heating up your home. Installing exterior storm windows can decrease heat loss by 10%-20%.
Shade trees are great but will take years to grow big enough to provide much cost savings. According to energysaver.gov a well placed grown tree can cut cooling costs by as much as 25% in the summer and is good for the environment.
Changing your air filter regularly will increase the efficiency of you’re A/C. Having your ductwork professionally cleaned and inspected for leaks will also help you’re A/C system run more efficiently. A programmable thermostat is simple enough, most homeowners can install themselves.
Water heating accounts for as much as 18% of your utility bills. Insulating the water tank and the first 6 feet of hot and cold water pipes is a good way to help an older water heater operate more efficiently. Installing a new energy star high efficiency water heater is a quick fix. Tank less water heaters use less energy than traditional water heaters, as they only heat water as needed not keeping all the water in the tank hot. Wrapping your water pipes in your crawl space is a inexpensive energy saving fix.
About 5% of your monthly utility bill is directly associated to lighting. Switching to newer energy efficient light bulbs can be one of the quickest ways to cut your monthly utility bill. The new energy star bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 years longer the older incandescent bulbs. Dimmers, timers, and photo cells save electricity by turning off lights when not in use. With outdoor lighting there are many great options of solar powered lights that are totally off the meter.
Appliances account for 13% of the average households energy usage. When buying new appliances, look for the energy star label. These products exceed minimum federal standards by a significant amount. Energy star appliances also have the annual cost of running the appliance clearly printed out. so you can determine which appliance is right for you.
Performing some or all of these will help you drop that monthly utility bill now and in the future.