Everyone likes to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but the energy bills that come along with that comfort can quickly get out of hand. Thankfully, by making just a few simple upgrades, completing a project or two, and making a few changes to your routine, you can lower those crazy energy bills for good.
Shop for Energy Efficiency
If you’re in the market for a new home and low energy bills are a priority, make sure you’re looking for a home that includes energy-saving features. For example, look for homes with newer windows, modern appliances, and an energy-efficient water heater. Additionally, remember that features such as sunrooms and cathedral ceilings, although beautiful, will likely contribute to higher energy costs.
Assess Your Home’s Appliances and Major Systems
Newer appliances are easy to assess since most contain the Energy Star of approval. This certification makes it easy to shop for new appliances that will certainly lower your energy bills, especially if the appliances they are replacing are very old.
If your old appliances don’t display the Energy Star certification, you can estimate their efficiency using the appliance energy calculator found on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.
Since heating and cooling is where most of the average homeowner’s energy costs come from, the HVAC system should be a top priority. Having it maintained every year will ensure it continues to run efficiently, but if the unit is especially old, you may want to consider replacing it as soon as possible. If you do replace it, be sure to choose a unit that’s the right size for your home to reap the most in energy-efficiency.
Make Small Changes for Big Energy Savings
Not every energy-saving tactic requires spending a lot of money or replacing major home systems. In fact, simply making a few changes to your normal routine can make a big difference. For example, try washing your clothes in cold water or turning your ceiling fan to turn in the opposite direction in the winter. Also, you can replace the weather stripping around doors and use energy-efficient light bulbs, too.
Not Sure Where to Start for Energy Savings?
There are many ways to start saving on your energy bill, but if you aren’t sure where to start, you can give your local utility company a call. For a minimal charge, and sometimes for free, they will do an energy audit of your home. During the assessment, they may change up to 20 light bulbs free of charge and offer free advice for lowering your energy bill even further. You may also receive other perks such as high-performance showerheads, too.
Savings Above and Beyond Your Energy Bill
The nice thing about making energy-efficient changes is that many of them come with additional savings beyond just those on your energy bill. A lot of the energy-efficient home improvements you make are tax-deductible, too. In fact, there are many programs that offer savings and rebates on energy-efficient upgrades, so check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for a database full of rebates, tax credits, and savings you may qualify for.