With energy costs rising and the usage of electronic appliances increasing, many homes are seeing a bump in their home’s energy cost. But it doesn’t have to be that way – there are plenty of projects around your home to help minimize energy usage and keep your home running efficiently throughout the year. Check out these 5 great energy cutting tips that will help keep your next utility bill down.
Older homes that still have single-pane windows are probably spending a lot more on energy costs than newer, more energy-efficient homes. New homes are often equipped with dual-pane windows. If your home’s single-pane windows are still in good condition, think about installing storm windows and replacing any damaged weather stripping. And if new windows aren’t quite in the budget, pick up some plastic window film in the meantime – this can help keep air leaks from entering the home.
If your home’s furnace or boiler was installed before 1992, there’s a good chance you’re paying much more than homes running a new high-efficiency system. Older furnaces clocked in somewhere around the 65% efficiency range (compared to today’s 80% to 98% efficiency ratings). Needless to say, the energy savings can be substantial. According to the Department of Energy, a modern, high-efficiency heating system can reduce your home’s yearly heating bill by up to 50% when running at maximum efficiency.
A new furnace is definitely a big investment, but it’s one that’ll pay off in the long run. If a new heating system isn’t an option, consider a full system tune-up paired with a yearly maintenance program to keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible.
Homes built over 25 years ago may not have been built to the same building standards laid out for contractors today. This means your home’s insulation guidelines are probably outdated.
Many homes built before 1992 may be lacking enough new insulations to keep them sufficiently insulated from the cold and heat. The Department of Energy says that adding just a few hundred dollars of new insulation to your home’s attic can decrease heating and cooling needs by up to 30%. The number goes up depending on construction, size and insulation used in other areas of the home, including windows and exterior wall insulation. When adding insulation to an attic, it’s important to focus on exterior walls and also around any recessed lighting fixtures.
New insulation comes with an ‘R-rating’ that ranges from R-22 to R-49. The higher the value, the more effective the insulation will be. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the best insulation rating for your home’s climate.
One of the easiest ways to cut energy cost is to turn down the heat when it’s not in use. Lowering your home’s heating by just one degree can save you approximately 3% over a 24 hour period. During the winter months, consider putting on an extra layer of clothing and turning the thermostat down a few degrees.
Programmable thermostats are another great option to help lower energy usage. Cheaper models can be bought for as little $25 and are simple to swap out. Programmable models let your home’s heating to be turned down while you are sleeping or out of the house without the need to turn it down manually. Decreasing the heat by 10 to 15 degrees while sleeping can make a substantial difference in your overall utility bill.
Let’s face it: our homes aren’t airtight. Drafts and air leaks can make their way through small cracks in old windows or under doors, vents and other small openings around the exterior of your home. These openings can make it harder for your home’s heating system to maintain a consistent temperature and lead to higher energy bills.
Most houses will have an entrance hole for electrical cables, gas lines and pipes somewhere in the home, whether in a crawl space, basement or even an attic. These holes are often caulked, but over time, it’ll crack and deteriorate. Remove and replace this old caulk or sealant to refresh the seal around cables and pipes coming into your home.
Electrical outlets are also a source of drafts (this is especially true for outlets sitting on an exterior facing wall). To stop these types of air leaks a foam gasket can be installed under the plate cover around the outside of the electrical box. These inexpensive solutions can add up to make your home become more energy efficient.
Finding ways to cut your electricity bill doesn’t have to be complicated. Give these five tips a try in your home and take a bite out of your next utility bill!