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8 Thrifty Home Improvements that Save Energy

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The upgrades and improvements you make on your home today can result in some pretty fabulous long-term savings, provided you do a little planning ahead of time. By making changes that will allow your home to utilize energy more efficiently, your redesign can save you some green and let you live “greener”, too.   

Before you begin working, an energy audit can show you where in the house your money should be allocated. According to Texas electricity providers, by performing an energy audit on your home and making improvements accordingly, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills each month.

Here are eight simple steps to get you started:

Insulation and Weather Stripping

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is making sure there aren’t leaks around the doors and windows. Leaks can also be found in the attic and basement. Before thinking about insulating the home, you need to check for leaks and use weather stripping. Otherwise, any energy-efficiency measures will not work. Next, you should insulate the walls as well as in the attic. Much of the heating and cooling escapes a home that isn’t insulated.

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

According to Energy.gov, energy-efficient bulbs use twenty-five to eighty percent less energy than traditional bulbs. They can also last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional bulbs. While they may cost a bit more at purchase, over the life of the bulb, it brings in more energy savings.

Upgrade the Dishwasher

Older model dishwashers manufactured before 1994 can waste up to 10 gallons more water than newer dishwashers. According to Energy Star, a new dishwasher can save you over $35 a year on utility bills. Reducing water usage and using less energy will have the added benefit of reducing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment. Consumer Reports has a list of the best dishwashers to save energy and money.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s no reason to run your heater or air conditioning when you’re not home, yet you can’t leave them off when you’re out of the home either. While you’re at work, you can lower the thermostat then have it raised a half hour before you’re scheduled to get home from work. You can save money by using a programmable thermostat in your home. Some thermostats come with smartphone apps to help you control the temperature in your home too.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Between low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, you can save energy and hot water each year, which is the second highest energy expense in the home according to Energy.gov.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters with tanks of water have to keep that water heated until it’s demanded by the homeowner. That kind of energy use is called standby energy, which can cost you a lot of money in energy each year. A tankless water heater doesn’t have to keep water heated in a tank, so it can save you money each year in energy as well as water costs.

Ceiling Fans

Instead of fiddling with the temperature in the home through the thermostat, purchasing a ceiling fan could be a better option. It’ll save you money on cooling costs each year, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.

Energy Vampires

You can save money on energy and utility costs by finding the energy vampires around your home. Any appliance that uses energy to remain on standby for your use is a vampire. The microwave and coffee pot that keeps the time for you is an energy vampire. DVD and CD players, computers, game systems, televisions and cable boxes are some common vampires. Unplug all these appliances when they’re not in use. You can use power strips to easily turn them on and off when you’re not using them.

Save hundreds per year by upgrading your appliances as well as using low-flow fixtures in the home. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use too. Some of these upgrades and improvements are small but they can give you big savings throughout the year.

Home Renovations to Save Energy

28092014-0114-HDRRenovating or upgrading your home can be fun, especially when incorporating energy efficient upgrades, which saves you money and makes your home less susceptible to mold and allergens. In fact, the average homeowner can save up to 96 percent on their heating and cooling bills simply by making their home more energy efficient.

 

Whether you are renovating your home to make it more appealing, or you simply wish to enjoy an increase in energy savings, these energy saving tips will provide maximum savings while enjoying your beautiful, new home.

 

Inspect for Condensation, Water Leaks and Excess Moisture Before You Begin

 

Water leaks and excess condensation and moisture cause mold. Prior to your project, inspect for signs of excess moisture. Addressing those issues first, can help improve the interior air quality of your home.

 

Insulate Upstairs

 

According to research, about half the homes in the U.S. are not fully insulated. Insulation helps keep your home comfortable year round. When renovating your home, don’t forget to insulate upstairs, and while you’re at it, you should also consider insulating your water pipes, ducts, attic spaces and recessed lights above the attic for even more savings.

 

Replace High Energy Use Equipment with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old ventilation, heating and air condition units with more energy efficient ones can decrease your monthly energy costs. It is important to have your home well insulated and sealed in addition to this project, in order to reap maximum benefits.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Renewable energy is obtained from natural processes such as wind, sunlight and water etc., that are replenished at a greater extent than they are used, which means lower power plant and fossil fuel costs and greater savings passed on to consumers. According to Spark Energy, renewable energy is on the rise in the transport, heating, cooling and electricity sectors worldwide, and is predicted to account for approximately one third of new electricity generation in the U.S. over the next three years. In fact, over 65 countries already have policies in motion involving renewable energy.

 

Seal the Ducts

 

If your home relies on forced-air cooling and heating systems, approximately one fifth of the air could be escaping through leaks in the ducts. To address this issue, use duct sealing to seal gaps or leaks in the ducts. If you need to, seal around windows and doors as well. And don’t forget the basement and attic, to also help lower your heating and cooling bills.

 

Install Energy Efficient Water Heaters

 

Water heating makes up approximately 15 to 20 percent of the annual energy usage in a home. Installing energy efficient water heaters can help drive down costs.

 

Replace Drafty Windows with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old, drafty windows with energy efficient ones can increase energy savings. When replacing your windows, opt for wood instead of aluminum framed models. If you are low on funds, consider installing lower-cost storm windows instead. As long as your interior windows are in good condition, installing storm windows provide a quick and easy way to make your windows more energy efficient without the hassle and cost of full-blown window replacement.

 

Install Energy Efficient Doors

 

When installing energy efficient doors, avoid using hollow metal doors because they allow air to penetrate right through.

 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

 

Programmable thermostats save about 10 percent on your cooling and heating costs, which more than pays for themselves in just a few months, and they allow you to cool your home at warmer temps, while you’re away.