Shrink That Energy Bill: 4 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
If you have begun to dread your utility bills, then it is time to get serious about your home’s energy efficiency. Small steps such as changing your thermostat’s settings when no one is home is a great place to start, but here is a look at four proven tactics to really start cutting back on energy consumption.
1. Change the Settings on Your Appliances
In the average home, appliances account for essentially all energy consumption. One simple way to lower these costs is to go through the house and start making some small changes to the settings. This should include lowering the temperature settings on your washer, dryer, and dishwasher. For appliances such as washers, heating water in the tub may account for 90 percent of all electricity going into the machine.
2. Landscape Strategically
The layout of your yard will actually affect the energy efficiency of your home by quite a bit. If you are planning on making some changes to your yard, then you may want to consider strategically planting trees in front of windows that are exposed to the sun. Having trees block direct sunlight can cut down on heating and cooling costs by as much as 25 percent depending on the layout of the home and the time of year. Shrubbery near a home’s walls can also create a “dead space” that acts as an additional layer of insulation.
3. Tune-Up Heaters and Coolers
Heating and cooling your home most likely accounts for around 40 to 50 percent of all electricity used on your property. If your HVAC system is damaged or has not been tuned-up recently, then you could be wasting hundreds of dollars every year. Most specialists suggest that HVAC systems should be serviced at least twice a year. During these service calls, technicians at HomeSmart from Xcel Energy can carefully inspect and test the system for any minor issues before they become expensive problems.
4. Switch out Your Insulation
Older rolls of insulation are popular due to their ease of installation and lower price, but they can result in quite a bit of inefficiency. Modern spray-in foams are designed to fill every single crevice in crawlspaces, attics, and basements. For most families, insulation should be checked at least twice a year and additional layers may be needed once a year. Issues such as pest infestations or moisture in a crawlspace will cause the insulation to wear down faster.
With these four tips in mind, anyone can decrease their carbon footprint without sacrificing their comfort.