You don't need to completely renovate or rebuild your home to make it more energy efficient. Some of the most effective ways to increase energy efficiency are so small, you won't necessarily realize how effectively they work.
Seven Ways to Increase the Efficiency In Your Home
From the quick and easy to the more involved, these seven methods for increasing the energy efficiency of your home cover all areas.
Fix Air Leaks
Windows in older homes may be leaking energy through the transfer of heat and cold. If your windows are cracked, or are missing caulk or weatherstripping, they could be costing you as much as $300 a year in energy leaks. Stop these leaks by running a bead of caulk around the interior and exterior frames of each window, replacing the weatherstripping on all moving parts, and replacing any cracked or loose panes of glass.
Replace Your Windows
Older, single-pane windows may be leaking energy even if you've patched up any cracks or leaks around them. According to Energy Star, you can save as much as $340 a year in energy costs by replacing your old single-pane windows with newer, energy efficient models. Even if you have newer, double-pane windows, you can still save as much as $70 a year on energy costs by upgrading to Energy Star rated models.
Insulate Your Home
Many homes are not adequately insulated, which can mean you're leaking energy and money any time you run your heating or cooling systems. According to Insulation Institute, you can expect to save around 11% to 15% on your energy costs by properly insulating your home. Typical places to add this extra insulation include:
- Exterior walls
- Between floors
Use an On Demand Water Heater
Your hot water heater may be one of the biggest energy drains in your home. A typical family home uses anywhere from a 40 to 100 gallon hot water heater. This means the heater must maintain 40 to 100 gallons of water at a preset temperature, regardless of how long it takes to use it. To save as much 34 percent on your energy bills, consider installing an on-demand water heater instead. On-demand heaters switch on and heat only the water you are using, so there is no wasted energy.
Upgrade Your HVAC
If your HVAC unit is older, replacing it with an Energy Star rated model can save you as much as 20 percent on your energy bills. Many older HVAC units are actually oversized, putting out far more energy than is actually needed to heat or cool your home. You may be surprised at just how small a model you actually need for your home's size.
Replace Your Thermostat
Regardless of whether or not you replace your HVAC unit, replacing your thermostat and breaking your home up into zones can save you as much as $200 a year in energy costs. Invest in a programmable thermostat and set it to automatically adjust the temperature for day and night, as well as for times you are not typically in the home. Install a second thermostat to govern areas of the home that don't get frequent use so they aren't heated and cooled on the same schedule as rooms that do get used frequently.
Replace Your Appliances
Energy efficient appliances cost less to run than older models. When it's time to replace an older appliance, look for appliances that have a the lowest numbers on their Energy Guide. The lower the number, the more efficient the appliance.
While you wait to replace your appliances, take these steps to help improve the efficiency of those already installed:
- Unplug smaller appliances that are not in use
- Lower the temperature on your water heater during the summer
- Adjust the temperature in your refrigerator according to the season, reducing the temperature in winter
- Defrost your freezer regularly
Get Big Results
Making just a few small changes can make a big difference in your energy savings over the course of a year. Start making a few changes in your home to increase the energy efficiency and see how much you save.