Finding ways to make your home more energy-efficient is a real, practical concern these days for homeowners, especially when energy bills can reach as much as $300 to $400 a month in the hot summers. Yet, ironically, there are number of things a homeowner can do, some even personally, to make a home far more energy-efficient than it is currently. These tips can often save dozens to hundreds of dollars over a year in both heating and cooling costs, both of which drive up energy bills.
Especially with older homes, one of the easiest things people can do involves weathering the home’s windows and doors. This wisdom goes back to the 1980s when people first started realizing the benefits of weather-stripping. Doors can be insulated better by adding air-blocking rubber stripping between the door and the frame. Windows can capture inside temperatures and block outside temperatures with self-applied film layers. Gaps and cracks can be filled in with expanding-foam filler, blocking gaps where air travels in a home frame. All of these simple things should be applied by every homeowner, and the supplies are easily found at any local hardware store.
Control the Thermostat
A runaway house thermostat often allows AC and heating systems to run more than necessary, using a lot of energy that doesn’t serve any real benefit. However, with a programmable thermostat, a homeowner can schedule the heating and cooling to match when people are at home versus at work or school or out for the day. The different in just a couple of degrees can be 20 to 30 percent of an energy bill on average, especially during peak periods of the day when energy costs more.
Along the same lines, sensor switches can be installed in rooms to turn off lights when no one is around.
Consider Solar Power
The idea of installing solar panels may sound like an eco-friendly political approach, but in reality a solar system has real, practical benefits today. First, the cost of solar systems for a home have come down significantly, making them far more affordable. Second, both state and federal government tax rules provide tax credits and deductions for homeowners who install a solar panel system, further reducing the end cost of a new system installation. Finally, for homes that get a lot of sun all year round, a solar system can conceivably reduce energy costs on a home to the point of making money for a homeowner. Utilities will actually pay for energy created by a home if the overall system adds juice to the grid versus taking from it.
Making a home energy-efficient isn’t hard; it just depends on how far a homeowner wants to go and what a home will allow. Newer homes are far easier to make efficient, including many of the designs and hookups needed. So there are some differences, but even simple steps can be taken by anyone to save energy. Plus, if you make enough improvements, you may be able to qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage as well.