Did you know that making your home more energy efficient increases its value? According to one study, making no cost/low cost changes can boost your home’s value by almost $20,000. The following suggestions can help make your home more energy efficient for your family as well as for future home owners.
1. Lower the thermostat on your water heater. If your tap water at the highest setting is too hot to touch, lower the temperature by a few degrees. You'll never feel the difference!
2. Check for air leaks around doors. A lot of the air you pay to heat or cool escapes through unsealed doors. Install or replace worn weather stripping, and replace broken or missing storm doors.
3. Close the air vents in rooms not in use. No reason to heat or cool an unused guest room, so close the vents and shut the door until you need the space once again.
4. Keep heat producers far from your thermostat in summer. Floor lamps and televisions can significantly raise the temperature in the area near a thermostat, turning on your air conditioner too often.
5. Clean your furnace and air conditioner filters. Replace existing air conditioner or furnace filters. During heavy-use periods, replacements are recommended every 30 days.
6. Operate large appliances during low-use periods in summer. Use your washer and dryer and other heat producers early in the morning or late at night. Use the air-dry method on your dishwasher to save even more energy.
7. Request an energy audit. Contact your local utility company to request a free energy audit. Most electric and gas companies will check for proper insulation, look for cracks in the eaves or roof that could leak energy, and make recommendations for improvements. Some electric companies even offer low-cost financing for such improvements.
8. Replace existing insulation. A proper barrier keeps heat and cold from penetrating your home’s exterior and provides for even temperatures between rooms. The Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that proper ceiling insulation may reduce electric bills by up to 20 percent.
9. Replace existing appliances. If possible, replace old appliances with Energy Star appliances, which are specifically created to optimize energy consumption. If your budget limits you to replacing one appliance, buy a new refrigerator; a new model could knock off 25 percent of your electric bill.
10. Buy new light bulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent.
11. Contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding Energy-Efficient Mortgages. EEMs provide benefits to borrowers purchasing a home that is energy efficient, or can be made efficient with improvements.