Any steps you take to make your house more energy efficient can save you money every day from that day forward. Implementing one or more of these doesn’t have to take a great deal of time either. Sometimes the hardest step is the first one; so, to help you get started making your home more energy efficient, here are some ideas:
Install programmable thermostats
A programmable thermostat is one of the least expensive and most beneficial ways to cut your energy costs without sacrificing comfort. Over half of your gas and electric bill is for heating and cooling. Installing and programming your thermostat only takes a few minutes, but once installed, it pays for itself in a short period of time and keeps on paying dividends through lower energy costs.
Improve seals in windows and doors
A home loses between five and 30 percent of its heat or cooling though drafty windows and doors. Replacing old windows with newer double-pane energy-efficient windows should be a priority, and the windows can pay for themselves in three or four winters. For doors, make sure that each outside door has a door sweep installed, and use foam weather-stripping around each exterior door’s frame to cut down on drafts. Use a caulking gun to fill in gaps around the exterior doors in your home, and while you’re at it, caulk your windows as well.
Install ceiling fans
Installing ceiling fans can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Simply reverse the fan’s direction depending on the season, and you will find that you can put off turning on the furnace/air conditioner for an extra week or two. When buying ceiling fans, spending a little extra to get a good one is definitely worth it.
Wrap and insulate your water heater
Lowering your water heater’s temperature from 140 to 120 degrees can cut your energy bills by up to ten percent. Buying and installing an insulating blanket can pay for itself in no time and save even more money month after month.
Replace that old furnace
This is an expensive proposition. However, if your home has a furnace that is 15 or more years old, buying a new Energy Star-certified furnace can reduce your heating costs by as much as 50 percent. If you sit down and figure out how much money you will save every month by cutting your heating costs in half or even by a third, it is a lot easier to write that check for a new furnace.
Turn down your thermostat
For every degree that you lower your thermostat, you save between one and three percent on your heating bill. Try lowering your thermostat by three degrees for a week and see if you notice the difference. While sitting and watching TV or reading, wear socks and have a blanket handy to stay warm and comfortable. At night, throw an extra blanket or two on the bed.
The majority of these energy-saving tips cost little money, but can have a big impact on your heating bill and energy usage. Cut three percent here, seven percent there and another four percent or more in other parts of your house, and it won’t take long to start seeing real savings without sacrificing comfort. Reducing your carbon footprint is always a good idea, and the money you save can go toward even more energy efficient home improvements like new appliances or more insulation in the attic.