You can make your home more efficient, whether you are moving into a new home or simply trying to maximize your existing home. There are many options for home improvements, from simple lifestyle changes like opening the windows and turning off the thermostat to more complex projects such as installing solar panel systems that require professional installation. These are some simple projects that you can do without requiring expensive labour.
You might experience sticker shock if you replace your old lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or LEDs. LEDs (or light-emitting diodes) are the most efficient. For a 60-watt equivalent CFL, you’ll pay $1.50 per unit and $2 to $3 for an LED. The LED’s lifetime will last approximately 1 to 3 years. Could you save? A standard incandescent light will cost you more than $150, whereas an LED light costs less. Brooke Mittelman, Ecova’s manager of strategic energy sustainability programs, states that LED bulbs last 50 per cent longer than incandescent bulbs. This means you don’t need to replace burned out bulbs as often. Adjust the water heater
Manufacturers set water heater temperatures at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this temperature is dangerous for two reasons. It’s a wasteful, expensive, and safety risk. Mittelman states that lowering the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees will help you save money and decrease the chance of scalding. If your home’s temperature is 78 degrees and your water heater is set at 140 degrees instead 120 degrees, the radiant heat from the appliance will cause a greater loss of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a 20-degree temperature difference can save you $400 annually. If you plan to be away for longer than three days, reduce the temperature of your water heater or turn it off. The best part? The best part? This project is free! Seal air leaks
Gaps around doors and windows allow air to escape from the interior or for the elements to enter. A caulking gun can help you combat this energy waste. You can usually seal two windows for $2 per tube. The gun costs less than $20. This can be done annually to maintain a good seal. To seal the frame, apply a thin layer of a bead along its edges. Wipe with one finger until you get a good seal. Finally, wipe any excess with a damp cloth. To prevent air from getting through the bottom of your doors, you can also buy weather stripping. Insulate your attic doors
The attic is a major energy drain, especially in winter when you want to keep your house warm. Many attic access hatches have no insulation. A simple sheet of insulation foam board can make a huge difference in the energy loss to your attic if it doesn’t have stairs. Attach the insulation to the back of the panel. Then, seal the area where the hatch will be closed with a weather strip. You can either build an insulation box or purchase an attic tent if you have pull-down stairs. Energy.gov offers a great how-to guide. Building your insulation box In a matter of hours and for less than $150Smart thermostat design
A programmable thermostat is one that you can set to different temperatures when you are at work or asleep. You can reduce the amount of waste by turning the thermostat down when you aren’t there. A basic programmable thermostat can be purchased at your local hardware store for as low as $40 and is usually very easy. You can also invest in a smart thermostat if you’re looking to go one step further. You can adjust the temperature in your home even if you’re not there. Some models also include energy cost calculations and maintenance reminders. These systems can be purchased for between $200 and $500, although installing the basic models may be more challenging.