Energy costs have been sky-rocketing in the past few years and with that being the case, home owners have to look to ways to improve their consumption. High consumption ends up resulting in high costs but lowering dependence and consumption will have the opposite effect, and end up lowering expenditures for everyone in the long run. There are plenty of steps that home owners can take to improve their own consumption, some of which are only minor changes that can make a big difference, while others are much more involved but can reap serious benefits.
If your home doesn't have adequate caulking and weather stripping this could end up resulting in you having higher energy costs. Improper sealing is going to cause energy in the form of your heating and cooling costs to slip through these cracks. Improving your home in these fronts is a quick and affordable method that you can easily handle as a weekend do-it- yourself project.
Invest in a New Thermostat
If you do not have a programmable thermostat you should consider making the change to one. Sometimes lowering heating costs is as easy as remembering to turn adjust your thermostat when no one is going to be home, but this can end up being easily overlooked and forgotten. A programmable thermostat has the advantage of you never needing to worry about adjusting the temperature when you are away or asleep, as you can program it accordingly. This can end up having significant savings in the long run and will likely pay for itself.
Energy Efficient Windows
Though this is not a cheap solution, if your windows are not double or triple paned, or properly sealed, you are going to see a reduction in your home's energy efficiency. Improving the quality of your windows and replacing them with a newer model may not be a bad idea and it is also one that will likely improve your R-value in the process. Other improvements can also be made to your existing windows, such as another layer from storm windows, which will further improve their performance.
Turn off and Unplug Appliances
Leaving appliances plugged in or on is a mistake that many of us make every day without thinking about it. There are many energy vampires in your home that sit idle and run all day without consideration and a good way to keep your costs lower is to keep these in mind. Turn off your electronic devices when you aren't going to be home, or plug them into a single strip that can be turned off with a switch for convenience.
Improve Your Home Insulation
A great amount of energy is lost in homes due to poor insulation. Assess the quality of your insulation and see where it can be improved as this will help your home both retain warmth during the winter and keep it out during the summer months. The attic, crawlspaces, and even garage are all areas where insulation is often overlooked and improvements might be needed.
Turn off Lights
This is a very simple behavioral change that anyone can make, though it may take a little bit of practice and reminding family members. Leaving lights on will result in you losing energy while no one is home. If you don't need a light and no one is using a room, remember to turn it off, it really is as simple as that.
More Efficient Appliances
If you are running old appliances then you are likely using a great deal more energy than newer models. Dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves, and more, all have been reworked in recent years to provide better energy consumption. Consider updating your kitchen or laundry room if you're looking for another way to boost your savings.
Replace Your Light Bulbs
Though they do cost more than standard light bulbs, low energy bulbs are becoming more popular. Not only do these bulbs last longer than standard lights and provide just as adequate lighting but they use significantly less power. These fluorescent bulbs are a wise investment for anyone looking to make a difference in their costs and cut back on their waste output as well!
Energy Efficient Doors
Doors are often one area that is overlooked. Many homes use hollow doors which are terrible for energy efficiency and allow a large amount of heat to be lost. You can replace doors in your home with more energy efficient ones that will help to block air and heat flow.
Consider an Energy Audit
If you aren't sure where to go with your energy efficiency improvements consider undergoing a professional energy efficiency audit. There are contractors in your area that should be able to provide this service with ease. They will look for ways that your home can be improved as far as its efficiency and provide you with recommendations or even offer the services you might need.
There are plenty of other methods that can be taken to improve the energy efficiency of your home, some of which are much more involved such as replacing your water heater or switching to solar power for some of your home needs. However, some of these methods are simply out of reach for the average home owner. The methods listed above are all easy improvements and simple behavior changes that can help render significant cost savings. By being more energy conscious we can all save money!