Smart Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient
From lighting to climate control, many features of our homes are powered by electricity. Modern technology brings an irreplaceable amount of comfort and convenience to our lives, but it comes at a price. These devices consume energy – a lot of it. The more energy we consume, the more harm it does to the environment. Plus, it drives up our energy bills!
Luckily, there are ways to cut down on your energy usage without pulling the plug and going to live off the land. Instead, you can make some minor tweaks to your daily routine and incorporate a few pieces of smart technology.
Take a look at these eight simple tips on how you can make your home more energy-efficient:
1. Install Window Shutter Blinds
Shutters have a long history of keeping homes protected from the elements. Although they dropped out of style for a period of time, they’ve since made a massive comeback thanks to their energy efficiency. In fact, did you know that window shutter blinds are the most popular energy-efficient window covering available today? You can learn about the many benefits of shutter blinds here, but the two most energy-efficient advantages are controlling the airflow and sunlight entering your home. Modern window shutter blinds are available for every kind of window in your home, from traditional windows to skylights, bay windows, and more.
2. Turn Off (and Unplug) Appliances You’re Not Using
Cut down and lower on your electricity usage by unplugging any small appliances and devices that aren’t currently in use. Computers, phone chargers, and televisions are all prime candidates. When a device is plugged in but not turned on, it still consumes a tiny amount of “vampire energy.” It’s not a huge amount of energy on its own, but over time, it can add up to a noticeable dent in your energy consumption.
You can further cut down your energy usage by turning off lights when you leave the room. Luckily, technology is on your side to make this whole process easier. You can use devices like timers and motion sensors to limit how long your lights stay on. A power strip is also an easy way to switch off multiple devices with one button.
3. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs to CFLs
Thanks to recent developments and advancement in technology, new light bulbs like LEDs and CFLs consume significantly less electricity than traditional light bulbs. In fact, energy-efficient light bulbs can reduce your electricity usage by 30-80%. When you next buy lightbulbs, check the box for the Energy Star label.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats give you the power to control your home’s heating and cooling system beyond just “on” and “off.” Instead, you can set the thermostat to activate during certain hours of the day, in addition to setting the temperature. Even turning your furnace or AC down for part of the day will significantly reduce how much energy your home consumes.
Some modern thermostats can be integrated with smart phone apps, so you can adjust the temperature on the go. This is a popular way for homeowners to monitor the temperature of their home while they’re at work or traveling.
5. Schedule Heater/Air Conditioner Maintenance
Just like your car, your heating and air conditioning system needs regular maintenance to stay in peak condition. Over time, daily usage will cause wear-and-tear, which impacts the system’s performance. In fact, systems that aren’t well-maintained often consume more energy and raise your bills. Most residential HVAC contractors offer maintenance appointments where they’ll tune-up your system so it’s running at peak energy efficiency once again.
6. Seal Your Home’s Air Ducts
Air ducts are a system of vents and pipes that spreads air from your heating and cooling system around your home. The ducts have seams that can loosen over time, allowing the treated air to leak out. In fact, leaky ducts can lose up to 30% of the treated air, meaning your home’s HVAC system then has to work harder to make up for the loss.
This greatly reduces and lowers the energy efficiency of your home and, unfortunately, increases your energy bills. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Simply contact a trusted local HVAC contractor, and they’ll patch up the ducts for you.
7. Replace Old Windows
As windows age, they become less energy efficient. Window frames – especially traditional wooden frames – loosen over time and allow outdoor air to enter your home. This is why you may notice cold drafts around certain windows during the winter or hot spots during the summer.
Modern windows are built with glasses that cut down on how much heat passes through the glass. Over time, if the seal “cracks,” the gasses will escape and will no longer be effective. Replacing your old, worn-out windows with new ones will restore your home’s energy efficiency.
8. Seal Your Windows During Winter
If you’re struggling with drafty windows, adding weatherstripping around the frames can help keep out cold air. Weatherstripping is an easy DIY project you can do as the weather gets chilly in autumn, and it will help insulate your windows all winter long. Some people also prefer applying a sheet of shrink film to the windows for extra insulation.
Energy Efficiency Is Easy
Making your home more energy efficient and systematized is easy when you follow these simple tips and guidelines. From drawing your shades to unplugging unused devices, you can cut down on your electricity consumption without making any dramatic changes to your lifestyle. Plus, tackling a few home improvement projects like replacing old windows and installing a programmable thermostat can dramatically increase your home’s energy efficiency.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can treat this list as a challenge – try to check off as many as you can! Otherwise, adopting just a few of these changes will mark a small but important step towards a more energy-conscious lifestyle.
What tip will you check off first? Let us know in the comments!