Energy efficiency is a big topic these days. It seems like everyone and their dog has an opinion on what is trendy or the correct way to be energy efficient. I am not going to get into all that today or any day for that matter. I just want to give you tips that are reasonable and affordable. You may even SAVE some money in the process. Having an energy efficient home may seem like a daunting task. Where should you even start? I am so glad you asked.
1. Energy Efficient Attic Door
Insulating and weatherstripping your attic trap door is a great energy efficient step you can take. It doesn’t cost much and will eliminate a large heat loss or intake and potential attic moisture problems. The weatherstripping will prevent the hot air from the attic from escaping through the cracks. A few layers of insulation on the trap door will prevent heat transfer through the door.
2. Water Heater Temperature
Reducing your water heater to lower settings or to a temperature that is best for you. This makes the unit work less, keeping the water hot in the tank, thus using less energy. It will also reduce the chances of someone being scalded by the hot water. A good temperature to set your water heater to is 120 degrees. Water feels hot at 105 degrees, at 115 degrees it can cause first-degree burns.
Some water heaters do not have a dial to show the temperature of the water. So, moving the dial to the “warm” setting should do it. Once reset you can test it to see if that will be warm enough for your liking. Note: it will take a few hours for the heat in the tank to change to the new temperature set. Be careful when opening the box to change the thermostat on your water heater some wires may be hot.
3. Energy Efficient Thermostat Settings
We all want to be comfortable, lowering the thermostat setting for your heating system in the winter and rising it in the summer doesn’t exactly seem like comfort. However, by dialing the thermostat back just one degree it could save you up to 3% on your energy bills.
In the winter trying to have the thermostat set at 68 degrees may require you to put on a sweater or use a blanket but who doesn’t love a comfy sweater or snuggling up on the couch to read a good book with a blanket? In the summer try setting the thermostat to 78 degrees.
During a particularly hot spell leave your cooler on but at a higher temperature like 78 degrees. Don’t turn your cooler on and off day to day. Switching it on and off uses more energy then just letting it get to the set temperature. Setting it lower helps your system not to work so hard also saving some energy.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat. That will allow you to set back the heating or cooling during the evening while your sleeping or during the day when no one is home.
4. Energy Efficient Doors and Windows
To eliminate heating and cooling losses throughout your home you should seal the doors and windows on the exterior walls. This will also make sure no unwanted moisture or pests enter your home. In Florida we have snakes, lizards, frogs, opossums you name it, I think we can agree they should stay outside where they belong. Every year you should check the calking and weatherstripping on all exterior walls and windows to make sure the sealant hasn’t broken down.
Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to install. If you can see light through your doors when they are closed air is definitely seeping in. Making your systems work harder to heat or cool your home. Sealing the doors is very energy efficient!
5. Stop Water leaks
This may seem like a no brainier to stop all water leaks in your home, but how often do you look under the sinks or at the fixtures on the exterior of your home to check for leaks? Probably only if you start to smell mold. At that point it’s too late, the damage is done and your water bill is already higher than normal. You should do a routine bi-yearly check of all your plumbing for leaks. This also includes the crawlspace if you have one. Our home inspectors have never been in a crawlspace where there wasn’t something leaking.
A small drip can waste a huge amount of water and energy over time. Energy is required to replenish wasted water. A small drip that fills a cup in 10 minutes can waste up to 3,200 gallons a year if not corrected. Repairing leaks at faucets or fixtures will save energy and protect your precious resources.
- Insulate and weatherstrip
- Lower water heater temperature
- Lower thermostat settings
- Seal doors and windows on the exterior
- Stop all water leaks
There is a lot of advice on energy saving out there, hopefully these practical and affordable tips help keep you happy, healthy and comfortable.