How to Check Your Home is Energy Efficient
Energy efficiency has become a priority in our lives, people have become more consciences about energy efficiency, and the home should be a priority. There are many ways to measure your home's energy efficiency by conducting a home energy audit. It sounds overwhelming, but it's much simpler than you think.
Conducting a home energy audit assesses your home to determine how much energy your home consumes, where there are inefficiencies, and what fixes you should prioritize to save energy. Read on to review the main items that should be included in your home energy checklist.
Proper insulation is imperative to controlling the overall temperature of your home. Whether the temperature outside is hot or cold, gaps in your insulation can cause your heating and cooling system to work much harder not only putting unnecessary wear on your heating and cooling system but, costing you more money with higher electric bills. Leaky windows are commonly blamed when it is the gaps in the insulation causing temperature discomfort.
When checking your home's insulation, you want to make sure that your walls are filled with insulation and do not show any signs of wear and tear. It may be necessary to replace your insulation, especially if you are living in an older home. Don't forget to check your attic and crawl space, they need plenty of insulation as well.
If you'd rather, hire a professional is always an option, they can perform an infrared/blower door audit to see where there might be issues in the insulation.
2. Heating and Cooling Systems
Air conditioners and heating systems should be professionally inspected once a year at a minimum. Heating and cooling your home make up at least 50% of your utility bill annually, so ensuring that the home's heating and cooling systems are energy efficient is essential to keeping your costs down.
Homeowners can plug leaky air ducts with duct tape, insulate ducts and pipes that are located in unheated spaces, and regularly replace air filters to maintain the integrity of the home's heating and cooling systems.
3. Home Appliances
Appliances consume energy whether or not they are in use or not, if they are plugged in, energy is being consumed. One way that a home can be energy efficient is by unplugging anything that is not in use, this mainly pertains to the smaller, easier-to-handle appliances. Connecting multiple appliances to one power strip will allow you to disconnect multiple appliances at once for more efficiency and convenience.
Another way homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint is by updating their appliances that include the ENERGY STAR label. For an appliance to showcase the ENERGY STAR label, it has to meet specific performance and efficiency standards. ENERGY STAR appliances also feature an energy-saving mode that limits the amount of energy consumption when the appliance is turned off.
The refrigerator is the one appliance that is constantly running, wearing down its efficiency a lot quicker than your other appliances. An older refrigerator should be replaced with a newer more energy-efficient one. Homeowners can test the efficiency of their refrigerator by placing a piece of paper between the refrigerator door and closing it, then pulling the piece of paper out, if there is little to no resistance your refrigerator is likely overworking and no longer energy efficient.
The upfront costs of LED light bulbs can be a little pricey but, they are well worth the investment. If you aren't too excited to replace every bulb at once, pick one room at a time to get started until each room is updated.
LED light bulbs not only last longer than traditional light bulbs, but they also consume about 90% less energy. Even though you are spending more upfront for LED bulbs, you have more time between replacements.
5. Check for Air Leaks
Take a walk around the inside and outside of the home to discover any leaks that may exist. Common places leaks are found indoors are around plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, and pipes. Outdoors you should look for cracks in the foundation or siding, windows, and doorframes.
Discovering any leaks and sealing them as soon as possible will keep your home energy efficient, if you ignore the leaks all of your hard work making sure your home is energy-efficient is going out the window.
Sealing doors and the frame with weatherstripping and caulking around window frames are simple ways that can keep your energy-efficient upgrade efforts well placed.
6. Water Heater
Water heaters should be replaced after 15 years, if not a little sooner. Newer water heaters are insulated but, most that are more than 10 years old were not equipped with insulation. If your water heater is warm to the touch, you should insulate it with a water heater blanket. Water heater insulation can reduce heat loss by up to 45% and save you money on your heating bill.
Other ways to save on your energy, reducing your hot water usage taking shorter showers, reducing the water heater's temperature, or washing your laundry in cold water.
Energy efficiency is not only about saving you money or keeping your home comfortable, although they are the top reasons homeowners want to be energy efficient. Having an energy-efficient home will reduce your carbon footprint which is better for the environment and future generations.
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