How to improve the energy efficiency of your homes and how to bring down those spiraling energy costs is a nagging concern for most of us. Come winter once you start feeling the chill in your bones, you already start counting how much the energy bills are going to be. It is the same story year after year and most times you are at a loss to understand how to gain control over your finances and keep the electricity costs in check. While winter may experience high energy usage, there are other ways that energy gets wasted in the house all through the year. It is important to identify these wastages and address them.
Ways to Make your Homes Energy Efficient
#1. Use Energy Efficient Appliances in Place of High energy Ones
Sometimes we do not even realize how our existing appliances are bleeding us with high energy usage. That air conditioner that you have been using for years or those furnaces that are more than 15 or 20 years old is technically inefficient. Over a period of time, these appliances tend to draw more energy to perform their tasks and scream for replacement. You will find cheaper heating or air-conditioning systems that will prove more energy efficient than the decade-old ones.
#2. Efficient & Programmable Thermostats
It is recommended to go for programmable thermostats as they can make a huge difference to your heating and energy costs. You can set climate control mode that will enable them to achieve optimal temperature at the lowest possible costs. The best thing about these thermostats is that you can program them to be switched off when there is nobody at home. That goes a long way in controlling your energy costs. Once the thermostat is programmed it will alter temperatures automatically without your intervention.
#3. Replace Existing Doors or Seal Current Ones
Windows and the doors are one of the biggest causes of energy loss in a house. They cause outside temperatures to start influencing the interior temperatures. During winter they allow warm air to escape the house. If you want to insulate your existing windows and doors you can add weather stripping and caulking around the windows. If you can afford it, you can replace the existing ones with new doors and windows. Newer models are better designed to deal with heat loss and are better equipped to keep interior temperature regulated. They do not allow hot air to escape during winter. You can opt for wood or wood-clad frames for your windows. They provide the best insulation.
#4. Insulate Your Windows with Proper Window Treatments
Since windows are one of the causes of major heat loss in the house you can insulate them by using shades, blinds or draperies that help to keep heat trapped inside the house. Cellular honeycomb shades, thermal draperies, solar shades, roller shades are perfect for keeping the heat locked inside. Smart shades are also great as you can lower or raise your shades remotely at different times of the day to prevent heat loss during the day. Thermal draperies are also great as you can pair them up with shades to provide an added layer of insulation to the windows.
#5. Improve your Home’s Lighting
You could save your home’s energy bills significantly by changing and improving the lighting system. LED and CFL bulbs are extremely energy efficient and can reduce lighting costs considerably. It is also preferable to use as much natural light as possible. They help to keep electricity costs low and also warm up the house during the day.
#6. Take notice of your Kitchen Equipment
Your kitchen has a number of appliances that are used on a regular basis and consume a considerable amount of energy which causes the cost to rise significantly. Fridges and ovens are some of the major energy users. It always pays to upgrade your existing ones and invest in energy-efficient models that are currently flooding the market. They make a serious difference to your energy bills and you can see the difference for yourself.
#7. Use Combination of Air Conditioning and Ceiling Fans
Air conditioners, as we all know, are the biggest consumers of energy during summer. They cause your electricity bills to sky-rocket considerably. Install ceiling fans in your house and whenever possible make use of them more than air conditioners. They help to circulate the air inside the room and the cool breeze is pleasant and it also makes use of the natural air. They do not consume much electricity and make a good substitute for air conditioners. Use the latter strictly when you have to on those extremely hot and humid days.
#8. Check on Your Water Heaters
During the cold winter months, a large part of your money goes into heating up water or heating your home. Consider upgrading your water heater. The new ones may be more expensive but in the long run, they prove economical as they use less energy to operate. You can also opt for tankless water heaters that are designed to heat water on demand and do not keep water hot 24/7. This makes sense since you may not be at home all day and it could lead to energy waste.
#9. Upgrade your Boiler
Every home has a boiler and an inefficient boiler could wreak havoc with your energy bills. Upgrade to energy-efficient ones which not only use less energy to operate but can also reduce carbon emissions. You will find that boilers come with an energy rating of A to G with A being the most energy-efficient. If your boiler rating is at the lower end of the scale, upgrading is recommended to save energy.
#10. Keeping Tabs On Your Energy Consumption
Upgrades, replacements, and investments in energy-efficient appliances and equipment are a good way to prevent energy loss. But more importantly, keep an eye on your energy usage. A little awareness and consciousness do not hurt. Switching off lights, fans and ACs when not in use, switching off the appliances when you are done with them can all go a long way in keeping your energy bills in check. Check before leaving your homes that no gadgets or equipment are switched on and this will make a huge difference to your electricity bills.
Making some adjustments in the way you use energy at home, preparing your homes for the cold winter months and hot summer months can help you to save on your energy bills.