There are several inexpensive things a home owner can do themselves to help their home be more energy efficient and comfortable. Saving energy is often a collection of smaller steps that lead to a larger result and benefit.
Consider these simple suggestions to help make a difference in your energy bill:
- Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED type bulbs for significant savings. Lighting can account for up to 20-25% of your total electric bill so upgrading the light bulbs can make a noticeable difference in your monthly bill.
- Install solar powered light fixtures for outside lighting at walkways, porches and decks.
- Reverse ceiling fans to run backwards on a slow setting during the winter months to circulate warm air that collects in the upper ceilings to be distributed downward.
- Install a programmable thermostat to manage temps when you are gone and to adjust temps before you arrive home. Even better, upgrade to a Smart thermostat that has more features including Bluetooth connectivity, which can save time and money.
- Replace filters regularly, every 3-6 months, and purchase good quality filters with a high MERV rating. Clean filters can prevent loos of efficiency when the filter and HVAC system becomes dirty and clogged.
- Seal HVAC ducts with mastic and silver duct tape to reduce loss of conditioned air and save energy. Air leakage at HVAC ducts is a common location for energy loss but can be easily corrected.
- A common location for energy loss is the fireplace; many homeowners forget to close the fireplace flue damper after making a fire and the flue stays open for several days. An open or poorly fitting damper can lead to a significant amount of heat loss in the cold weather months. It is similar to leaving a window wide open and letting large amounts of conditioned air to leave the home, swirling up the chimney. Use the fireplace sparingly and make sure the damper is fully closed after the fire is complete and is no longer burning.
- Inadequate attic insulation can be a significant contributor to energy loss in a home. Lack of enough insulation can lead to substantial heat loss in the winter months creating a need to continually reheat the home. If your home is older, you may benefit from additional attic insulation. Some big box retailers will loan you the insulation blower machine, a big time saver for the DIYer, based on the amount of insulation purchased.
- The attic ladder is often another source of heat loss in a home; check your ladder for weatherstripping around the perimeter of the ladder and inside the stairway treads. Consider upgrading to a foam insulation box in the attic above the ladder or installing a zippered insulation cover.