Most people today are aware of the benefits of increasing the energy efficiency in their home, but are not sure how to get started without major renovations. There are some simple ways to get the ball rolling that will help you reduce costs while doing your part to help the environment.
Sealing your home is a good place to start and will not require major overhauls or investments of time. This can include putting sealants around windows and doors, as well as less evident areas such as oven vents or closets. Sealing supplies are readily available at local home improvement stores. In addition, you can use old blankets or tarps that you already have lying around to create cushions against areas that tend to get drafty.
Furnaces are one of the biggest energy hogs in your home, particularly if you have an older model. Consider replacing old models with those that are rated for energy efficiency. In addition to saving you monthly costs on utility bills, you may qualify for rebates from utility providers for installing appliances that comply with established energy ratings. Tax credits are often available, as well.
Windows are notorious for allowing heat and air conditioning to escape, requiring more output from heating and cooling systems to keep your home comfortable. Upgrading your existing windows with double or triple panes can alleviate this problem. There are models available today which replicate designs that fit your home's style, such as older Victorian or craftsman architecture. If you do not see these window designs at your local retail outlets, check online for suppliers. Many will offer free shipping, and sales tax is often not required if the provider conducts business in a state other than your own.
In addition to sealing windows and doors, you can also benefit from sealing behind and around electrical outlets. These areas can create vacuums through which air can escape, so sealing them is an easy fix.
Upgrading your water heater can be a huge energy saver. Current models must adhere to higher standards than older ones. In addition, there are tankless models which are available. Though the initial cost is typically higher, it could pay off in the long run. If you choose to stay with a tank-style water heater, you can still save by turning the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
Most thermostats in homes these days allow you to program the heat or air conditioning according to the hours when you will need it the most. If you do not already have one of these, purchase one and then set the thermostat to lower temperatures during the hours when you will not be at home and at night. In addition, you can usually set the temperature to be lower in rooms that you do not often inhabit.
Skylight are an excellent way to let in some extra light and therefore save on lighting costs. Natural sunlight is known to supply needed vitamin D for your body and create a sense of well being even during the winter months.
Take a look at your bathroom, which tends to be one of the most used rooms in most homes. Install shower heads with low or adjustable flows, and replace older toilets with ones that have low-flush features.
Insulation is easy to install and can lower energy output considerably. This could include insulating walls, basements, attics and crawl spaces. Choose newer insulation that is free from asbestos fibers, rather than using older rolls that you may have lying around.
Utilize some of these cost-saving ideas to create a home environment that benefits your family, as well as the world in which you live. Improving your home can improve your quality of life, so take advantage of the resources available and get started today.