Improving your home’s energy efficiency can change how you live your life.
Not only is it gratifying to know that you’re doing your part to lower your carbon footprint, but it’s also going to show its worth when your bills come in next month. Energy efficiency is where everything is headed, so you might as well get on the bandwagon now.
Today, we’re going to discuss 7 of the best energy-efficient upgrades you can make on your home. A lot of people are well-aware of the thriving solar panel market, but there’s so much more that you can do to improve your home’s efficiency.
As you’ll find out, you can walk into pretty much any room and find two or three things that you could easily upgrade to improve efficiency. Let’s get started so you can get working on your house today.
What a lot of homeowner’s fail to consider is that improving the energy efficiency in your house is not only cheaper than you might think, but it also adds immense value to your home in addition to lowering bill costs.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy program has changed how people think about these upgrades. It’s not available in every state, but PACE allows homeowners to do large upgrades to improve energy efficiency and pay for them over time, rather than as a lump sum.
It’s worth investigating whether your state participates in PACE or not, then you can easily make some of the following upgrades in your home. You can also talk to your local energy organization. These trusted experts can teach you a lot about what you can do to lower energy consumption.
Older homes with old appliances absolutely benefit from upgrades. As technology has improved in the last 15-20 years, the energy efficiency of dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, furnaces, and boilers has improved as well.
You can get cheaper versions of all of these things now and they’ll still be more efficient than a higher-end version from 15 years ago. The HVAC world has made a lot of improvements and they’re reflected in the quality and efficiency of these household appliances.
Coupled with new windows, doors, and sealed cracks, new appliances can make a massive difference in your home.
Again, technology has made it a lot easier to lower your energy consumption. Think about the thermostat in your home. Is it a small box with a slider to select the general temperature range in your home?
If you’ve got an older home, that’s probably what you have, but it’s not what you should have. A digital programmable thermostat can lower the energy waste in your home literally overnight.
Instead of changing the temperature to cool your home in the summer months and heat it in the cooler months, program it by the time of day. Being specific about when you control the climate will make a huge difference.
You don’t need the house warmed when you’re away visiting family at Christmas and you don’t need it to be the same temperature during the day when you’re at work as it is at night when everyone’s home.
You may notice a trend here, but in older homes, the actual insulation could be detrimental to your energy efficiency. Adding an extra layer or two of insulation could improve things drastically.
The amount of insulation you really need depends on where in the country you live in. Someone in Minneapolis is going to need more insulation than a similar house in Oklahoma City. You can get an idea of how much insulation you should use where you live by looking at the Department of Energy’s website.
In addition, replacing the windows and doors of your home, or at the very least, improving the sealing on them will improve efficiency. Before you commit to a door and window overhaul, try putting weather-resistant caulking on to help seal them a little bit better.
If that doesn’t work, it could be your actual windows and door that are the problem. You can lose heat and air through certain types of single-pane windows, so it might be better to bring in something more reinforced. Wooden window frames are always better than any alternatives as well.
The world of solar panels can be difficult to navigate. It’s hard to know exactly what to get, but there are some guides online that can guide you through the buying process.
A portable solar panel is a great tool to take with you on camping trips, but they’re actually great for inside the home as well. Not to mention, they’re quite a bit cheaper on average than a full-scale solar panel installation.
Try one out and see if it works for you. The idea is that you charge it all day while the sun is out, then allow the charged generator to power your appliance at night.
If you haven’t already switched over to LED lightbulbs, then you should do so ASAP.
They’re slightly more expensive than incandescent bulbs but they last almost 50 times as long (50,000 hours for LED, as opposed to 1,200 for regular), so they end up being cheaper in the long run. They also use a fraction of the energy.
The last thing you should do is switch to low-flow plumbing fixtures. Instead of flushing gallons of water down the toilet, letting extra shower water go down the drain, and waste dishwater, just use what you need instead.
Most low-flow fixtures are easy to install, not that expensive, and you can adjust them to get the exact amount of water that you need for each activity. They’ll pay for themselves in no time when you’re saving money on water bills.
It’s time to get with the times and do some upgrades to make your home more energy-efficient. Use these tips and think of some other ones on your own, then bask in the glory of lower energy bills, water bills, and the knowledge that you’re just more efficient now.
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