Class #3 – How to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

Hello to my readers! It’s Colin back again, this time with my third class where I’ll be discussing tips for making your home an energy-efficient home.

You might have heard about how making your home energy-efficient is important for the environment. They’re not wrong. Energy-efficient homes means that less fossil fuels need to be pulled out of the ground, transported and used to produce energy in ways that destroy ecosystems and pour toxins into the environment.

From a standpoint that’s more practical for you, an energy-efficient home can save you money in the long run because you’re using less electricity. It doesn’t even need to be as expensive as you think and it can even be as easy as remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room or adjusting the air conditioner to run less when you’re going to be out of the house for a while. If you have a smart phone or an iPhone, you could even download an app that lets you turn things off even when your away if you forgot. It’s these little things, plus these tips, that can make your home more energy efficient and lower your electric bill.

energy efficient home

Next time you buy appliances, look for an Energy Star rating. Energy Star rated appliances are designed to run more efficiently than the alternative. It’s a voluntary program run by the U.S. Environmental Agency for appliance makers that want the marketing edge that comes with having an appliance that has been certified to reduce electricity usage. Even with light bulbs, you might see an Energy Star LED model. LED is more efficient than other types of bulbs anyway, so make sure you use these.

Have your roof inspected and maintained. Heat rises, so a lot of heat can be lost through an ill-maintained roof and/or degraded insulation layer in the roof. This increases the amount of money you’re spending to keep your home heated during the winter months. It can even affect the efficiency of your air conditioner during the summer months when hot air seeps in through flaws in the roof and insulation layer and gets trapped under the roof.

Locate and repair any leaky areas that are causing drafts. If there’s a draft in one of your rooms, it’s not just annoying. It’s also costing you money. Many drafts are caused by window sills that have sprung a leak, so have them inspected and caulked or replaced if necessary.

Have your HVAC system inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Your heating and air conditioning is a major factor when it comes to how much you’re spending on your utilities. Having them inspected and maintained on a regular basis can not only slash your energy costs, but also reduce the hazards that come with having an ill-maintained HVAC system. If you are considering purchasing a new HVAC, you should not only consider an Energy Star model, but also consider what kind of HVAC would be most appropriate for your living space. If you live in an apartment or condo, you may wish to coordinate with the landlord or building manager if you are having issues with your heating and air conditioning. You may also be able to get away with installing efficient portable heaters and air conditioning units in the rooms you use most and turning off the central unit.

Invest in a thermostat that gives you the option to set it using a timer. The thermostat can turn your air conditioning off or run it less during times when you’re normally gone and turn it back on a little before you normally get back home. You’d be amazed by how much electricity this can save simply because you aren’t needlessly running your air conditioning.

Have your electric system inspected. Interesting tip: Contractors will usually refuse to sign off on a job if they find a problem with your electrical system until you have it repaired. This is because a faulty electric system can actually be dangerous and they don’t want the liability. A degraded electrical system can cause deadly house fires because they transport electricity less efficiently, often causing dangerous heat buildup behind your walls in the process. The reduced efficiency may also be driving up your electric bill.

Turn off computers and electronic devices when you aren’t using them. Even hibernation uses a small amount of electricity. Shutting them down not only clears the RAM and clears out about 90% of the problems you might be having with your computer, but also saves you on your electric bill.

Try not to run anything electrical during peak hours if you have a choice. Peak hours are usually during the afternoon, so instead of turning on lights, I just open the blinds to let light in through the window. Same goes for fans and the exhaust in the bathroom and kitchen. If you don’t need it, don’t turn it on. Even when you have things like hair dryers that you keep turned off, you should also unplug them because they’re still drawing a trickle of electricity that can add to your bill during peak hours.

Consider one of those solar water heating units for your shower. You probably know how annoying it is when you have to wait for hot water or it’s entirely out of hot water because you’re taking a shower right after somebody indulged in a long, hot shower. That means there are inefficiencies in your central water heating unit that wastes electricity while heating water you don’t need right now. With a good, properly installed solar heater, you’re using solar power to heat water exactly when you need it and you won’t need to worry about running out of hot water.

Be aware of the ways you might be wasting electricity in your home. It could be something like staring into your fridge while you decide what you want to eat. Besides making you look indecisive, it also makes the fridge work harder to keep food cool. You should only open it if you’re sure that you actually want something and, if so, what it is. Same goes for running a dishwasher that’s not very full or running small loads of laundry. You might not think it’s a big deal, but it adds up.

Saving electricity is not just about saving the environment. It’s about saving you money. It might take some up-front investment, but it’s worth it if you know that less of your monthly budget is going to the utility company.