By Jessica Wing
Being energy efficient isn’t always about “going green.” It can also be about saving green! By making your home more energy efficient, you will save money! You can save money by switching to solar power or even just by limiting the power you use during the day. Some things are one-time investments, while others are ongoing.
Insulate Your Home
Installing insulation can be expensive, and it’s a bit tricky if you’ve never done it before. You may need to invest in hiring a professional. But properly insulating your home will save you money in the long run. Along with adding insulation, you should also check the caulking around the windows and doors. If there’s a draft, your heating bills will increase because your HVAC system will have to work harder. Caulking is a fairly easy and cheap fix.
Check Your Windows
If you have aluminum window frames, you should consider replacing them with vinyl. Vinyl is much better at retaining heat in the winter. Double paned windows also do a better job of holding in heat and keeping out the cold. If you don’t want to pay to tint your windows, you can try either sewing or buying blackout curtains to use when necessary. To save on electricity, open the curtains and blinds and let the sun light up your house naturally.
It is hard to spend money on new appliances when your old ones are working just fine, but sometimes “just fine” is not great. Older appliances were not designed to be as energy efficient as most newer models. Be sure to do your research and find the best model for you and your family. Doing so can drastically cut down your electric bill. You can also make the switch to low-flow shower heads and toilets to help save water.
You need to practice good furnace maintenance. When it is time to replace your furnace, look for a high-efficiency model. And remember to change your filters often. This will keep the airflow clear and keep your furnace from being overworked. If you have rooms that don’t get much use, close the filters for them. There’re no reason to heat a room that no one’s ever in. You can also install a programmable thermostat. That way, when you’re not home, the furnace will not run needlessly.
Let There be Light
Fluorescent bulbs last eight times longer on average than other bulbs. Buying fluorescent bulbs will help cut down on the energy you use, as well as eliminate the Sisyphean task of buying and replacing burned-out incandescent lightbulbs. Fluorescent bulbs cost more upfront, but their long lifespan more than makes up for their initial cost.
An expensive route to take upfront is solar panels. These will help you generate your own electricity. You have to hire a professional to install them and the initial costs can be daunting, but you should eventually see more than a return on your investment.
Get Your Arbor On
A great way to save electricity is to plant a tree near your house. As the tree grows, it will provide shade and help cool your home. You can even get adventurous and plant a fruit tree or walnut tree. Just make sure to research which trees are good in your area and how close they can be planted to houses. You do not want to pick a tree that will damage your foundation or pipe systems.
Finally, another way to help increase your energy efficiency is by making a rainwater collection system. The water you collect can be used to water your plants and wash your car at zero cost to you. But be sure to check if there are any applicable local water regulations before installing a rainwater collection system. There may be legalities involved with rainwater collection in your area. Collecting your own water can also lead to mosquitoes and other pests, so research methods to eliminate those issues before you set up your system.
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