Many people can be intimidated by giving their home an efficiency tune up, but with up to half of monthly energy bills going to heating and cooling, it’s something any responsible homeowner should be concerned with.
The good news is that there are a host of easy changes that can drastically increase your home’s efficiency. And of course greener homes are very popular and have significantly more appeal to buyers. Using these simple tips, you can lower your energy costs and raise the value of your home- and help the environment while you’re at it.
Check and Replace Your Filter
This one might seem like a no brainer, but always make sure to check your air filter monthly. If it’s dirty, actually change it, don’t just shake it out. While that may clear out a lot of larger dust and grime, it won’t get the smaller particulates that actually clog up the filter. And when the filter is clogged, your system works harder, costing you more energy and more dollars.
Seal Your Ducts
One of the best ways to green up an older home is to reseal the duct system. As HVAC systems age, leaks between ducts are inevitably going to form. The priority should be on ducts running through crawlspaces, the attic, or unheated basements, as any heat or AC leaking in these unfrequented areas will be completely wasted. When sealing your system make sure to use mastic duct sealant or foil tape to maximize the insulating value.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Using a thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature at certain times is immensely useful for cutting down on wasted heating and cooling. Setting your thermostat lower (during the winter), or higher (during the summer) when you’re out of the house and even at night when you’re asleep will create significant energy savings. Even a couple degrees difference adds up over the course of the year. And even though it’s a small item, a customizable thermostat is definitely a plus when it comes to overall home value.
If replacing the windows in an older home isn’t an option, then window tinting can be a fair compromise for decreasing energy loss. Window tinting films can be applied in an afternoon and can greatly help with lowering air conditioning costs during the summer. In addition, many also offer general insulating benefits beyond providing shade to help during winter months. As an added benefit, they also can cut down on harsh glare for windows in direct sunlight.
If you notice any windows or doors that don’t seem to seal properly, try installing some weather stripping. Simple weather stripping is much cheaper than replacing an entire door frame and can accomplish the same effect by plugging unwanted cracks that develop between the door and the frame. Even a small crack can lead to significant heating and cooling loss. This is why, aside from replacing your filters, applying weather stripping is one of the most cost-effective improvements you can make on your home.
These quick tips can drastically reduce your energy costs and help to make your home more modern, environmentally friendly, and a heck of a lot more marketable. All it takes is a small time investment and the desire to get moving.
About the author: Ruben Keogh is a retired plumber and all around home improvement lover with Plumbers Stock. He found his true calling when he graduated to journeyman blogger and now spreads his know how around.