Making your home more energy efficient is not only good for the environment but also for your pocketbook. As you are on the road to becoming more energy efficient, you’ll find that some tricks are simple and just require some thoughtful planning while others may take more of a financial investment.
1. Update Your Landscaping
You may not need to do much in your home itself to increase energy efficiency, especially if you live in a newer home. But, landscaping can play a surprisingly vital role in increasing energy efficiency. Shade trees and shrubs that are appropriate to your climate can provide vital protection for your house. Plants, especially when planted on the west, south, and east sides, can block the heat of the sun in the summertime. The air conditioner will run less often saving you a few dollars on your power bill. Those same trees will lose their leaves in the winter and let the heat reach your house when you need it most.
2. Check Your Windows
Old, drafty windows leave you cold in the winter and hot in the summer. You can update with weather stripping and storm windows. If you’re looking to make more of an investment in your home, you can replace single pane windows with an energy efficient option.
3. Change the Lightbulbs
Changing lights is about as easy as it gets when it comes to increasing energy efficiency. Compact fluorescent lamps, or as you probably know them CFLs, can save you a bundle on your energy bill over time. Traditional incandescent bulbs are inefficient and don’t last nearly as long. CFLs may be more expensive upfront but many can last 10,000 hours and generate more light per watt than an incandescent bulb. You’ll spend a third less over the lifetime of the CFL than you would with an incandescent bulb.
4. Adjust the Thermostat and Regularly Change Filters
It’s no secret that the air conditioner and heating unit use a lot of power. Adjusting your thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter and higher temperature in the summer can save you 7-10% on cooling and heating costs. You may be able to save even more if you install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature according to the time of day and day of the week. Regularly changing the filter will help both to run at peak efficiency.
5. Install a Water Softener
Mineral deposits can clog faucets, build up in pipes, and shorten the lifespan of your water heater. A water softener can help eliminate calcium, magnesium, and other unwanted minerals from your water. They work by using ion exchange to effectively replace the harmful minerals with sodium. While a softener may be expensive upfront, it can prolong the life of your water heater and increase the efficiency of the cleansers you use in your home.
Change Will Make a Difference
An energy efficient home makes a smaller impact on the environment. Whether you’re looking to make an investment for greater efficiency or you want to try something small, there are lots of ways you can save power and leave a smaller footprint.