As energy prices continue to rise, now is the time to make your home more energy efficient. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. You can lower your energy bill right away by adjusting certain household settings, but you also get started making permanent changes to your home that will pay for themselves in no time. Below are six ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency.
1. Clean your furnace filters or buy new ones
If your home is heated by a forced-air gas system, cleaning or changing out your air filter on a monthly basis can save significant money during the cold months. Cleaning can usually be done with a standard vacuum, and new ones are often cheap, If you prefer, you can choose filters that eliminate allergens from the air for more comfort.
2. Use compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs
Individual bulbs might not use too much energy, but altogether, an average home spends 11 percent of its energy bill on lighting. However, you can drastically reduce this figure by trading your incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lighting and LEDs, which can reduce lighting energy costs by up to three-quarters.
3. Install energy-efficient windows
Between 25 and 40 percent of a home’s heating and cooling costs literally go out the window. To save money, you can trade your regular windows for energy-efficient models that prevent drafts and have higher insulation ratings. This upgrade will also boost your home’s value and enhance its appeal to future buyers.
4. Adjust your laundry technique
Certain habits can save you money on the energy-intensive process of washing and drying clothes. For example, don’t wash clothes until you’ve accumulated a full load. Use cooler temperatures when clothes aren’t extremely dirty. Empty the lint trap with each dryer load, or better yet, dry your clothes on a clothes line for free.
5. Surround your home with trees
Shade trees can keep your home cool in the warmer months, reducing your energy costs as a result. In fact, your cooling costs could be cut by as much as 40 percent by shielding the sides of your home from the sun’s rays. This is most effective for walls that face the sun. In addition to lower bills, you’ll enjoy greater home values over time.
6. Ensure that your attic and walls are insulated
Keeping these crucial parts of the home properly insulated can prevent loss of heating and cooling through invisible air leaks. If your home is old, you’re more likely to have poor insulation in the attic and walls. While you might spend a fair amount on this project, the investment will easily last for as long as you own the home.
Peter Wendt is a local journalist and green living fanatic living in Austin, Texas. After realizing how much energy efficient windows help decrease the amount of energy spent by his house, Wendt decided to replace his windows through the online store, Window e-Store. Wendt highly recommends their services, and now enjoys lower monthly energy and electricity bills.