how to make your home energy efficient | energy efficient home

With the rising costs of heating and cooling a home, many people turn to creative ways that they can make their home more energy efficient. This can also help to make your carbon footprint a little smaller.

Whatever your reasons for choosing to make your home energy efficient, there are some creative ways that this can be achieved.

Sealing and Insulating

One of the first things that you can do is to find and seal windows with gaps or cracks in the panes. This keeps heat from escaping in the colder months and air conditioning from escaping in the warmer months, thus keeping your HVAC from having to work harder and reducing your bill.

If you have a basement or an attic, check that the insulation meets codes for where you live and repair or replace any old or falling apart insulation. Proper insulation aides in lower bills and helps keep the heat or cold air in.

It is also important to check the insulation in your wall. After many years this insulation can break down and need to be replaced. This is especially true if you live in an older home.

Appliances

With everyone being more conscious about the environment, many appliance manufacturers are starting to create energy conserving appliances like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and other items that make your life easier. If it has been a while since you replaced one of the items, check for energy savers. Most appliances will have a sticker to let you know it helps reduce energy use.

It is also important to note that many washers, dryers and other appliances that are energy savers are tax deductible in some states when filing your income taxes the year you purchase the items. It is important to look for items that have the Energy Star certification. These items include refrigerators, stoves, TVs, and even air conditioners. These appliances use 10 to 15% less energy.

Additionally, unplugging things like your microwave or dryer and other larger appliances when not in use will help save energy.

Washing clothes on the cold cycle also will reduce energy because the hot water heater will not have to continuously heat the water and it saves time on wash cycles. There are low-flow shower heads available that will reduce energy use as well by half gallons per minute.

Turning down the thermostat will help cut back on the HVAC system having to use more energy to work harder to cool and heat the home. A simple 3 to 5 degree drop in the thermostat can cut the energy bill and if you cut it by 10 – 15 degrees while no one is home, it can save 5% to 15% each year.

Lighting

There are plenty of options now on the market for lightbulbs that are energy saving and will also last longer than the average lightbulb that can save your electric bill and your pockets. These lightbulbs come in a variety of sizes for the many lights around your home.

Skylights can also offer additional lighting during the day and reduce the need for turning on any lights in areas where skylights can be found.

Relying more on natural light can reduce the use of light bulbs thus lengthening the life of the bulb.

Landscaping

By planting trees in areas where the sun will hit you can help keep your home cooler during the summer months. The shade helps to block out the rays that would cause the inside of your home to heat up and make your air conditioner have to work harder.

A compost pile reduces waste being thrown out. A lot of yard space is not needed to start a compost pile. In turn, you can use fruit and vegetable waste to make fertilizer for the lawn and trees.

Solar Panels

The initial cost for installing solar panels is not inexpensive, but with the amount of money being saved both monthly and yearly will offset the cost. There are many benefits including saving energy and they promote less fossil fuels being used. In addition, they are a good way to save on your taxes the year that you have them installed.

Storm Door

A storm door will offer a thicker layer of protection aside from weather stripping the doors. Usually the glass used in storm doors will either have a low-emissivity glass or one that has a protective coating. A storm door can help cut energy loss in half. They are inexpensive and can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years when taken care of.

Window Treatments

One of the best ways to help your home stay energy efficient is the window treatments. There are several different options you can choose from in order to keep costs and energy use down.

Cellular shades

Cellular shades are great because they have shells in them which will hold onto air and create an insulating barrier. The idea for these shades started in the 1970s when everyone had to find ways to reduce energy use. This is still one of the most popular window treatments used today.

Drapery

This is another way that you can add insulation to your windows. By keeping the drapes open for a small amount during the day, to let in light, you can help save energy from your heating and air. The natural light can also mean leaving the lights turned off. There are many different shade styles to choose from and levels of thickness.

Shutters

This is another popular window treatment for those who are energy use conscious. Keeping them closed in the summer can help block out the heat from the sun’s rays if you don’t have trees to help you block them out. During the winter, they help insulate the windows from the cold air outside. There are many things you can do that will help your home stay energy friendly year round. These are a few great options to help get you started.

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