With the cost of cooling and heating your home on the rise, it has never been more important to make sure your house is as energy efficient as it can be. If you spend $300 a month to heat your home in the winter and cool it in the summer, making your home just 30% more energy efficient could save you almost $100 a month.
That is real money – money you can keep in your pocket instead of sending it to the electric company or natural gas supplier. In addition to the cost savings, making your home more energy efficient is also good for the environment. Reducing your heating and cooling costs will also lower your carbon footprint and minimize the effects of global warming.
Even if you think your home is already as energy efficient as possible, going through this 10-point checklist could save you money and help the environment.
1. Check your outlets and remove any chargers that are not actively powering your laptop, phone or tablet. Those chargers use power even when they are not in use.
2. Add outlet covers to electrical outlets on exterior walls. Air can leak out through those tiny holes and increase your heating and cooling costs. Covering the outlets will eliminate that flow of air and make your home more energy efficient.
3. Replace your current thermostat with a smarter model. A smart thermostat can learn your habits and turn the temperature up and down as needed. You can program the thermostat to lower the wintertime temperature when you leave for work and turn up the heat just before you return home. In the summer that programmable thermostat can turn the air conditioning off when you head to the office and back on right before you get back.
4. Choose the most efficient home appliances you can afford. If you are replacing an old refrigerator, stove or washing machine, buying a new energy efficient model could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the appliance.
5. Replace your old inefficient light bulbs with LED bulbs. A single LED bulb can save you up to $50 in its lifetime. When you think about how many lights are in the typical home, it is easy to see why this simple upgrade can be so valuable.
6. Wait until the next windy day and walk through your home. Stop at each door and window and feel for drafts. Sealing your drafty doors and windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs substantially. Best of all, sealing the windows and doors is inexpensive. All you need is a tube of sealant and a few hours of work.
7. Check the insulation level in your attic, basement and crawl spaces. Many older homes were built without sufficient insulation, and that could mean you are spending more to heat and cool your house than you have to. Adding insulation is one of the best ways to reduce those costs and make your home more energy efficient.
8. Insulate your pipes to protect them and make them more energy efficient. Wrapping your pipes in special insulation can seal in the heat and sharply reduce your energy costs.
9. Invest in an inspection of your heating and cooling system at least every couple of years. An inspection can help you identify problems early and make improvements as needed.
10. Ask your power company for an energy outlet. Many electricity suppliers offer free energy audits to their customers.