The holiday season is almost here, bringing the harsh cold of winter with it. In a few weeks, you won’t just be worrying about sending out gifts and preparing your Christmas feast, you’ll also be worrying about your bills.
You use more power than usual to heat your home during the winter months. As such, you can expect your energy bills to spike. After all, more than half of your utility bill paymentsgo to heating and cooling. However, you shouldn’t settle for significant increases in your payments every winter season. To save money, you need to make your home more energy-efficient.
Energy Efficient Home
Energy efficiency means to perform a task with less energy, minimizing the chances of wasted energy. This provides a variety of advantages. The most obvious benefit is that you reduce your home’s overall power usage, which leads to lower utility and energy bills.
It also helps the environment, as much of the power grid still uses greenhouse gas-emitting methods to provide electricity. Greenhouse gases trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere. The recent rise of the amount of these chemicals has accelerated global warming, resulting in massive shifts in weather patterns and events.
A methodical way to improve your home’s efficiency is to find appliances and problems that may be consuming too much energy. One way to do this is to perform an energy audit. You can hire a contractor to do this task for you. However, you can definitely do it yourself. It may not be as accurate as a professional one, but it helps you figure out what you need to get serviced or upgraded.
- Air leaks – Drafts, or air that leaks indoors from outside, may seem like a simple annoyance. However, multiple air leaks can cause your HVAC system to work harder just to keep your home at your preferred temperature. In fact, the Department of Energy stated that minimizing drafts in your home can provide up to 20 percent energy savings a year.
Check the corners and gaps in your home where air could escape or get in. These can often be found along your house’s baseboard and flooring. You should also check for leaks outside your home. These are parts where two pieces of material meet, like your roof flashing, chimney, window security bars, outdoor pipes and more.
Air leaks can also come from your doors and windows. And no, getting rid of such leaks is not as easy as closing them. The air leaks often come from gaps in the middle of the jamb and the wall they’re attached to. Worn-out weatherstripping may also cause air leaks.
Get help from professional contractors in sealing off air leaks in your home, caulking your windows, and replacing your weatherstripping.
- Insulation – A lot of heat can be lost through your walls and ceiling during winter if you have poor insulation. An easy way to check if you have enough insulation is to visit your attic. See the puffy, foamy material filling the gaps in-between the joists? That’s insulation. If the material reaches the edge or top of the joists, you’re all good. If the joists are still sticking out, you may need to add more insulation.
Have an insulation contractor check the inside of your walls for insulation as well. This often requires opening an electrical outlet to see the inside of the wall, which can be dangerous for people who have no experience in doing it. If there’s not enough, the personnel should be able to add more of the same material.
- Appliances – Apart from getting air duct cleaning to keep your HVAC system clean and functional, you should also consider replacing your old appliances. You’ve been using a decade-old furnace and water heater, you may be missing out on operational cost savings. This is because older appliances have components that need a lot of power to work properly.
Different countries have passed laws and bills requiring appliances to follow strict energy efficiency standards. Manufacturers are also always looking for ways to improve not only their products’ quality but also their efficiency. As such, modern appliances are often significantly more efficient than older ones.
If you want to make sure of the efficiency of the device you’re going to buy, look for one with an Energy Star sticker and score. Energy Star is a government-backed company that reviews and rates appliances based on their energy efficiency. Look for a score about 75 and above to ensure you get an efficient and high-performing unit.
Three things are constant once December comes around: the holidays, winter and jacked up utility bills. If you want to keep your monthly payments manageable during the cold season, make your home more efficient with these suggestions. Making your home more efficient helps you save your bank account and the Earth from doom.