Top 4 Things You Can Do to Your House to Improve Energy Efficiency
As homeowners, we can all do our part to consume less power for the good of our communities. Improving the energy efficiency of homes can lead to lower utility bills, and a positive environmental impact. Here are four top recommendations to enhance energy efficiency:
1. Insulate and Seal: Adequate insulation and sealing air leaks are crucial for minimizing heat transfer. Insulation can be added to attics, walls, and basements to reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Sealing gaps and cracks around windows, doors, outlets, light fixtures, and ducts prevents air leakage, enhancing temperature control and reducing the load on heating and cooling systems. The biggest source of heat loss might not be in your walls. Over time, rodents can pull down insulation in your crawlspace, making your floors cold. Make sure your crawlspace is clean, has no rodent entry points, and all the insulation is secured properly. If you don’t know where to start, have a home inspector check your house over with an infrared camera.
2. Upgrade Lighting: Switching to energy-efficient lighting options can significantly reduce electricity usage. Replace traditional incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). CFLs consume about 75% less energy and last longer than incandescents, but LEDs are even more efficient and have an extended lifespan. Additionally, make a habit of turning off lights when not in use. Beware of “vampire loads,” which can bleed electrical power off of your system without you even knowing.
3. Install Energy-Efficient Appliances: Household appliances account for a significant portion of energy consumption. When purchasing new appliances, look for those with high energy efficiency ratings. Opt for ENERGY STAR certified products, which meet strict energy efficiency standards. Efficient choices include refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and HVAC systems, which can substantially reduce energy usage and lower utility bills over time. Before you make your purchases, check with your utility district if there are any rebates you can take advantage of.
4. Upgrade HVAC Systems: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems often consume a substantial amount of energy. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient models with higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings for air conditioners and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings for furnaces. Regularly clean or replace air filters to ensure proper airflow, and consider installing programmable thermostats to optimize temperature settings and reduce energy waste. Even if you have wall or baseboard heaters, a programmable thermostat can save you tons of money by keeping your temperature more consistent.
In addition to these recommendations, other measures such as using smart power strips, adopting water-saving fixtures, and practicing energy-conscious habits like turning off electronics and unplugging chargers when not in use can further enhance energy efficiency in homes.