5 Steps to Assess Your Home's Energy Efficiency
Home sweet home--but how sweet are your electric bills? While many homes claim to be energy-efficient, it's difficult to really know unless you assess your home's energy efficiency yourself. Run some tests to see just how efficient your home is when it comes to energy. Inspect some areas in order to define where you may be able to make a few small repairs and save some money, while increasing the safety of your home.
Check for Drafts
Inspect your home for drafty areas, where cool air tends to breeze through in the winter, or warm air in the summer. These drafty areas are commonly located near doors, windows, or vents that lead to the outside. Many times these drafts can be reduced by resealing the caulking around windows or air sealing around doors. Air leaks can also be found around baseboards, flooring, or other edges where walls and other corners meet that need to be sealed up. A few such repairs can save in energy costs, especially when calculated over a long period of time.
Replace Light Bulbs
If you are still using the old school 60-watt incandescent light bulbs in your lighting fixtures, you can reduce some of your energy costs by replacing your light bulbs. Switch them out for long-lasting spiral compact fluorescent bulbs, which use far less energy, last longer, and let off a more delicate light. While these bulbs may be a little more expensive at the hardware store, they definitely save money in the long run.
Replace Air Filters
Replace the air filters in your home every 30 days or so to ensure that your air conditioning or other ventilation systems are moving clean air easily throughout the house. Dust and debris can cause systems to work harder than they have to in order to heat or cool a space, causing efficiency to decrease.
Reconsider Your Thermostat Settings
The way your thermostat is set can have a huge impact on the energy efficiency of your home. Adjusting the programmed temperature by a few degrees can make a large difference, as well as the use of fans in combination with heating and cooling to move the air up, down, and all around. This way, the air with the desired temperature can get to where it’s most needed, especially if your home has high ceilings.
Inspect Home Appliances
Check your larger appliances to see how they’re running. If they run a majority of the time, seem to be working awfully hard or make loud noises, you may want to replace them. Newer home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, washers, dryers, and dishwashers tend to be much more energy-efficient than older models. Appliances with the Energy Star label have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy as being cost-effective and high-performing. While the replacement costs can be initially high, the amount of money you will save in bills adds up over a few years, and you can rest at ease knowing your appliances are not a hazard to your home.