As energy prices continue to rise and authorities predict another winter with record cold temperatures, your thoughts are probably turning to your energy bill and what it’s going to look like in a few months time. But what if your bill could be lower in just a few months, rather than higher?
According to studies done on home energy improvements, for every dollar that you spend on home improvements to reduce energy costs in your home, you’ll save about seven. That’s a big savings in your pocket every month just by investing in these six home energy improvements.
Energy improvement can be made throughout your home. The type of returns you’ll see will depend largely on the age of your home and the shape it was in prior to the improvements. These six energy cost reduction methods should help you see lower bills year round.
Improve Attic Insulation
Most homes have inadequate insulation. Some older homes never had enough to begin with, and in many homes the insulation has degraded, been moved by contractors, or been rearranged by pests and animals. This means that you’re probably losing heat from the places you need it most.
Attic insulation can help your home hold onto heat in the winter. It can also prevent the super-heated attic air in the summer from sinking through the ceiling and into the rest of your home. You’ll notice lower energy bills and a more comfortable temperature year round just with this one improvement.
Don’t Forget Crawl Space Insulation
Crawl spaces, nooks, crannies, and walls all need to have adequate insulation as well, or your hard earned money will just pour out of the house. If your home is older, chances are these places have no insulation in them at all, so adding some will give you a major boost in energy efficiency and comfort.
Newer types of insulation can be blown right into your walls and crawl spaces as well, so the whole process is minimally invasive and less time consuming than you may think.
Install Thermal Windows
Windows are one of the biggest sources of energy loss in the home. It’s estimated that poorly insulated and sealed windows could be losing you as much as 40% of the energy you use to heat and cool your home. New advancements in window technologies can lower your energy bill by 20% just by switching out your old panes for new thermal versions Richmond replacement windows.
Thermal windows have double or triple paned glass, often with a Low-E coating that helps them insulate better. Windows with argon gas between the panes also insulate better to help save you more money.
If you already have thermal windows, make sure you check them for air gap. Air gap or a poor air seal accounts for the other 20% of energy lost through windows and doors. Having them sealed up will seriously lower your energy bills.
Use High Efficiency HVAC Systems
The system you use to heat and cool your home is responsible for a large portion of your energy bill. If yours is 10 years old or older, you can see a very significant reduction in your energy bill by upgrading to a new model.
For air conditioning units, look for a high SEER number. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and each point you go up in SEER saves you about 10% on your energy bill.
For your furnace, look for the Energy Star logo. Every certified furnace is guaranteed to save at least 4% on your energy bill over older models.
When you have your system installed, be sure to have your ducts checked and cleaned as well. Dirty and leaky ducts can lose as much as 20% of the energy your HVAC system is putting out. So get them cleaned and sealed to stop the energy loss.
Replace Your Toilets
Think about how many times you flush your toilet each day. Now consider how much water your toilet is using with each flush. Most toilets use about 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, but if your toilet was installed before 1994, it could use 3 gallons or more per flush. Newer models use roughly 1.3 gallons and some high efficiency models by Toto use only 1 gallon per flush. This may not sound like much of a reduction, but by switching you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water per year in a normal household. That’s a major savings on your water bill each month.
Replace Your Showerheads
Think about how long you stand in the shower each day. Now think about how long each member of your family uses the shower for. Multiply every minute of shower use by seven – the average number of gallons per minute that most older showerheads put out. That’s a lot of water going down the drain each day.
Newer water saving showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Do the math again, and you’ll find a major reduction in water usage each day from this one small change. And don’t worry; new shower technology means that you won’t notice a reduction in pressure or flow from the switch, although your wallet certainly will.
Reduce Your Energy Costs in Home Today
Most of these changes don’t take a lot of time to do, and remember that nearly every investment you make in improving your energy usage will pay for itself over a very short period of time. Make the change today to start improving your energy usage and see what kind of savings you can accrue.
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