Spring has sprung and everyone is decluttering and deep cleaning their homes. With summer around the corner and the inevitability of higher energy rates why not add some projects to your list that can save you money and make your home more efficient while you’re at it? Here are a few upgrades to consider:
Your HVAC unit uses the most electricity out of all the other appliances you use. HVAC efficiency is the most effective way people can decrease their electric usage. Replacing your HVAC is pricy, but if your system is more than ten years old you can double or triple your return on investment. If changing your unit out completely isn’t in the cards here are a few other things you can do :
Clean your ducts– Removing dust and debris from your air ducts improves air quality and improves airflow making your system more efficient.
Smart Thermostat– Smart Thermostats allow you to control your home’s HVAC s system from your smartphone. This gives you the ability to program and manipulates the settings from anywhere.
Adjust the Temperature– 68° F in the cooler months and 78° in the warmer months are the most efficient temperature settings.
Change your Filter– Replacing your HVAC air filter not only helps your system efficiency it also increases the longevity of your system and improves air quality. Some air filters can even kill germs and viruses.
Dehumidifier– A whole-house dehumidifier will take a load off the HVAC system as well as make the home feel cooler at higher temperatures by removing moisture from the air, dryer air feels cooler. If you live in a humid climate or have a basement dehumidifiers are a wonderful investment. Dehumidifiers also help prevent mold and pests. Too much moisture in the air can cause structural problems in your home and dehumidifiers are a great preventive measure.
Ceiling Fans– Air circulation makes you feel cooler in the summer and forces heat down from the ceiling making you feel warmer in the winter. Good air circulation also improves air quality in the home.
In cooler months 30% of a home’s heat is literally thrown out the window. During warmer months 76% of the sunlight that comes through a standard double pane window will be converted into heat. Investing in energy-efficient windows can cut annual heating and cooling costs by a third. In addition to lower costs, homes are more comfortable and have less noise pollution. New windows not in the budget? Here are some alternative solutions:
Solar Screens– Solar screens fit on the outside of your window just like a typical window screen. They can filter and reflect up to 90% of the suns solar heat and can make rooms up to 15° cooler.
Thermal Curtains-Thermal curtains are an inexpensive option to try and mitigate energy loss through your windows. Thermal curtains insulate your window and block sunlight from coming in so they are beneficial all year round.
Hot Water Heater
Water heaters account for roughly 17% of home energy usage. Making them the second-highest in overall home energy consumption. Replacing your water heater with a whole house tankless hot water heater can lower your electric bill and their life span is between 15-20 years vs.7 to 10 years of a traditional tank hot water heater. Other things you can do to make your water heater more efficient:
Wrap It- Insulating your water heater and water heater pipes is an easy way to make your hot water heater more efficient.
Temperature– Set your water heater to no higher than 120°
Use Less Hot Water– Wash your clothes in cold water, use low flow faucets and shower heads, and fix leaks.
Proper insulation can save as much as 50% on your energy bills. Spray foam insulation can easily be installed in your attic and sprayed into your walls. You can also just blow or lay fiberglass insulation in your attic as well for a more cost-friendly solution.
If your house is drafty it might be a good idea to do some air sealing. You can do this by adding weather stripping and caulking in and around the air leaks. The more air-tight your home is the more energy-efficient.
If new energy star appliances aren’t in the cards for you right now, don’t fret, I have some tips for you.
Dishwasher– Run it, that’s right, using your dishwasher saves more water than you washing dishes by hand. Although to be energy savvy you should turn the dryer off. Drying the dishes by hand is not only energy efficient it prolongs the life of your dishwasher.
Refrigerator– Keep your refrigerator set to 34° and your freezer temperature set to 0°, replace rubber seals and keep your refrigerator away from heat sources. Letting leftovers cool before placing them in the fridge is another easy way to keep your refrigerator working at top efficiency.
Dryer– Don’t use it, invest in a clothesline, and on nice days let the sun dry your clothes.
Use a high-speed spin cycle so your clothes are as dry as possible before being placed in the dryer.
Wash your lint trap, you probably know to clean the lent trap before every use, but a good scrub can make airflow easier so your dryer takes less time to dry your clothes.
Computer– Think about switching your home desktop computer out for a laptop. Laptops use 80% less energy than desktop computers.
Energy savings can be as easy as changing a light bulb. LED light bulbs use roughly 90% less electricity than halogen and incandescent. LED lights can last 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Between the significant reduction in energy usage and the exponentially higher number of light bulb hours, LED’s are definitely worth the investment.
The epidemy of energy efficiency is being able to generate your own electricity.
Home PV (photovoltaic)systems are more attainable than ever.
Solar prices have dropped 89% in the last 10 years.
Most homeowners can finance a system that completely eliminates their electric bill for less than what they are paying in electricity right now.
The same loan can also be used for multiple home energy upgrades at very low-interest rates for qualified buyers.
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