the energy efficiency of your home? The following tips are a great place to start!
- Air Sealing. By ensuring that your home is properly sealed from drafts, you are reducing the amount of heated or cooled air that is lost, thereby reducing the overall energy use of your home. A professionally certified energy auditor can perform tests to determine how well your home is already sealed, and how best to address any leaks that may be present.
- Insulation. Home insulation serves as a thermal barrier from too much warm or cold air exchange between the inside and the outside of your home. This ultimately reduces the amount of energy that your home heating and cooling system requires in order to maintain a comfortable internal temperature.
- Brown cellulose insulation is non-toxic and helps to efficiently seal small leaks in the home.
- Foam insulation works well and is a great energy-efficient option, but it can be expensive.
- For the most efficient results, ensure that your home is properly air sealed prior to installing new or additional insulation.
- Duct Sealing and Insulation. If the ducts in your home are located within a crawl space or an attic, leaks can lead to a waste of energy, as well as condensation when the heated air comes in contact with a cool roof deck or crawl space.
- Mastic is an inexpensive paste that can be applied with a brush to the joints and connects of your ducts, where air leaks can commonly occur.
- Water Heaters. 120℉ (49℃) is typically the most efficient setting for a water heater. Temperatures warmer than that can unnecessarily waste energy and money, as well as potentially lead to scalds from overheated water. You can check your water heater settings, but for some water heater models, you may need to use a thermometer dipped into the water in the tank to determine the its temperature.
- Insulated water pipes can also help to save energy. If your pipes are not already insulated, you can insulate them yourself using inexpensive pipe wrap tape or foam pipe insulation. Water heater tank wrap can also be used, but for some models, using such tank wrap may void the warranty. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to determine if this is the case for your water heater.
- Also consider purchasing a more energy efficient water heater if you are in the market for a replacement.
- Lighting. If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, consider opting for CFL or LED light bulbs whenever you need to replace them. These bulbs typically last longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs, and are much more energy efficient.
- Appliances. After heating and cooling our homes, household appliances are major users of energy. When you are in the market for a replacement, look for an energy efficient model. Refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, and dishwashers are all major energy energy users in the home.
- Save Water. While it may not seem obvious at first, saving water in our homes can also save energy. It takes energy to heat your water as well as to pump the water. The installation of low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and low-flush and dual flush toilets can be good ways to save water in your home. If you really want to save water and energy in this department, composting toilets may be a good option for you.
- Eliminate Phantom Loads. Our household appliances and electronics can use electricity even when they are not in use. To find out which of your appliances may be drawing this phantom power when they have been turned off, inexpensive meters for home use are available on the market. Power strips can also help with this problem, as you can switch off the power to those appliances that are plugged into the strip, eliminating any residual draw of electricity.
- Doors and windows. Doors and windows are often a place where we can lose a great deal of energy where it leaks out of inefficient doors and windows. Replacing these parts of our home’s envelope can go a long way in reducing wasted energy.
- Electrical Outlet and Light Switch Insulation. Another simple and inexpensive way to help make our homes more energy efficient is to install electrical outlet and light switch foam gaskets to stop any drafts from exiting through these places on our walls, which can provide an opportunity for air leakage.
For more tips on saving energy at home, check out our article about 10 Ways to Save energy and Money at Home.