Energy costs are high, so most homeowners would love to cut down on the power bill. That is actually much easier to do than many people believe, since the average home is fairly inefficient. You can do a lot to reduce your energy usage by fixing the problems that cause your home to waste energy. It does take a little bit of work to do, but the savings are usually more than sufficient to justify putting in a little bit of extra effort.
1- Use Insulated Windows
Most home lose a significant amount of heat through their windows, since they tend to have much less insulation than the rest of the building. You can fix that problem by replacing your current windows with insulated alternatives. Those windows are designed to lose as little heat as possible over time. While the replacement does involve an initial investment, it will pay for itself in the long term due to the energy savings.
This is a particularly good option for homes with old windows. Most of them will accumulate cracks and crevices over time due to natural wear and tear. Those little flaws allow even more energy to leak out of the house. Fixing them usually requires replacing the glass, and you may as well choose energy-efficient replacement windows at that time.
2- Adjust Your Lights
Most lights do not consume a huge amount of energy, but it does add up over time. Since the average home includes quite a few light fixtures that are on for most of the day, upgrading them can lead to significant savings once they have time to add up.
There are two major options for upgrading your lights. Compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, are the most popular option because they can go into conventional light fixtures without any trouble. The upgrade is as easy as swapping the bulbs, and you can do it over time as your old bulbs burn out. You can also use LED lights, which tend to be more expensive to purchase but cheaper to operate in the long term. Both options will cut down on your power bill, so you can choose whichever seems most convenient for your lifestyle.
3- Program Your Thermostat
Most people know that they can save energy by turning their heating down when they aren’t in the building. The problem is that the majority of people forget to do so, even when they intend to turn the heat down. You can avoid that problem by installing an automated thermostat and programming it to turn the heat down at the times when you are normally out of the house. That will entirely eliminate the risk of you forgetting to turn down the heat at those times, which will usually save energy. This won’t be as useful for people who can usually remember to handle the system manually, but it can still be useful to them as a backup for added insurance.
4- Plant Trees
People that live in hot climates can take advantage of shade to reduce their air conditioning bill. Growing trees around the house will provide some insulation from the environment, and the shaded areas will prevent the home from getting as hot from the sun. Any degree of coverage will help, but it is most important to plant the trees so that they cover areas that get the most sunlight. Choose varieties that grow quickly and thrive in your area to make sure that you can capitalize on this advantage as soon as possible rather than waiting years for the trees to grow up.
5- Seal Leaks
Every wall will crack over time, especially in places where two different materials meet. Those cracks allow hot air to leave the home during the winter and let the cold air out during the summer, which forces you to waste more energy on climate control. Going around your home and sealing all of those cracks will stop the air from escaping. It will also make sure that the problem does not get worse over time, so you should search for cracks every year or so and fill them as you find them. In general, people with older or poorly-constructed homes will benefit the most from this, but it is worthwhile for most homeowners.