May 24, 2024

7 Simple Home Efficiency Tips for Lower Bills & Better Comfort

How much do you spend each month to heat, cool, and power your home?

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recommends spending no more than 10% of your income on utilities. The average American comfortably meets this goal by putting about 5% of their income toward utility expenses.

But that’s still 5 cents on every dollar you earn, and more after accounting for taxes, housing costs, and other non-discretionary expenses. There has to be a better way, right?

There is: investing in a more efficient home. While it might cost a bit more upfront, it could save you thousands in the long run.

Six Things To Do Started This Year

Here are six things you can do this year to get started.

1. Get a Professional Home Energy Efficiency Audit

Seriously. It could be the best money you ever spend on your home.

In an ideal world, you’d work with a true building envelope expert; built environment firms like Karim Allana’s ABB offer these sorts of services. But your utility or state energy authority might offer low-cost home energy audits as well. They’ll identify where your home’s efficiency is lacking and what you can do to address the issue.

Insulating a Home

2. Shore Up Weak Spots in Your Insulation

Insulation offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to energy efficiency. Your energy auditor can advise you on the ideal R-value to target and which parts of your home — such as exterior walls and rim joists — need the most attention.

3. Add Weatherstripping to Doors and Windows

Weatherstripping is another low-cost solution to air and heat leakage. Shore up drafty older doors first, then attack older single-pane windows that seem to radiate heat or cold. In both cases, you can make the fixes yourself with materials readily available at your local home improvement store.

4. Upgrade to a More Efficient Heating System

If your furnace or air conditioner is failing, don’t wait for it to die. Swap it out for a new, efficient unit, ideally a heat pump that provides both heating and cooling.

In colder climates, make sure your heat pump is rated for very low temperatures. It’s a myth that no heat pumps work in cold weather, says home efficiency expert Samantha Harrington, but not all are built for subzero temps.

5. Swap Out Older Water Fixtures for Low-Flow Alternatives

Low-flow fixtures can slash your water usage by dozens of gallons per month. They can also reduce the amount of energy needed for water heating, which could lower your gas or electricity bill too. Better still, they’re affordable, and you can usually install them yourself.

Why Your Room Is Always Hot

6. Invest in Smarter, More Efficient Lighting

Still, lighting your home with old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs? Make the switch to LED bulbs now and watch your lighting system’s power consumption fall by 50% or more.

7. Rotate Old Appliances Out for Newer, More Efficient Ones

A new washing machine, refrigerator, or dishwasher is a big purchase. However, if you buy new, high-efficiency models, you could reduce your electricity, water, and/or gas consumption by enough for the new appliance to pay for itself over a 10 or 20-year lifespan.

Why Pay More Than You Should for Indoor Comfort?

If you live in an older home that hasn’t had much in the way of improvements recently, you’re probably paying more than you should for heating, electricity, and water.

That’s okay because you won’t be for too much longer. At least, not if you follow the six simple suggestions we’ve outlined here.

If the thought of updating your home to make it more comfortable and efficient seems daunting, take it slow. Make a list of the highest-priority improvements, then make a plan or schedule (or both) to cross them off one by one.

Remember, you’ll save more with each completed project. When you’re done, you’ll be in a much more comfortable position than when you began. In more ways than one.

Also, visit Home Design Looks for more quality information.

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