With energy costs rising every year, making quick and easy energy-efficient home improvements is more important than ever. Here are a few simple ways you can cut your energy bill. You’ll be glowing about your budget in no time.
Are you thinking of updating your home? Many homeowners are investing in energy-efficient appliances for their households. It’s easy to see why—you need electricity and natural gas to light, heat, and cool your home and power the many appliances you use every day. Saving energy and saving money go hand in hand.
Luckily, converting to an energy-efficient home doesn’t mean sacrificing your quality of life to control rising energy costs. You can implement many energy-saving home improvements, some of which are as simple as changing a bulb.
Use these household energy-saving tips to slash your energy bill so you can continue to live comfortably for less.
1. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs.
Switch out your old-fashioned incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs, which last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, at a fraction of the operating cost. With these energy-saving bulbs, you can use the same amount of light for less money. Look for new bulbs based on the amount of light they emit (lumens) rather than the wattage they require. Many LED and CFL bulbs are available in equivalents to standard incandescent wattages, such as 40W, 60W, and 100W. When in doubt, check the package.
You can also invest in dimmers, smart plugs, and smart bulbs. They can be set to turn on and off at certain times, allowing you to save money without even thinking about it.
2. Insulate your water heater.
According to Energy.gov, insulating your water heater reduces heat loss from the unit by as much as 45 percent and can lower the cost of heating water for your home by as much as 16 percent, making it one of the most effective ways to save energy in your home.
You and a helper can easily insulate your water heater using a pre-cut insulation blanket available at any hardware store. Once installed, a water heater blanket can pay for itself in about 12 months. However, before installing insulation, make sure your water heater doesn’t have insulation built in.
3. Change Your Furnace Filter.
Regularly changing your furnace filter can increase energy efficiency in your home. It also helps the furnace last longer because a dirty, clogged filter puts unnecessary stress on the unit. If you or a family member has allergies or asthma, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are available to keep the air inside your home cleaner.
Changing a furnace filter is an easy job, and you should do it every two to 12 months, depending on the size of your filter and the number of pets you have. You can also use this time to inspect the system for wear and tear. When it’s time for a new furnace, investing in an energy-efficient furnace, as well as an energy-efficient air conditioner, can earn you even more savings in the long run.
Pro tip: Your furnace and air conditioner experience normal wear and tear throughout the year. An American Home Shield® home warranty can help cover the cost of repairs or replacements of your home systems when they experience issues due to everyday wear and tear. We even provide an electrical system warranty, cover up to 23 systems and appliances, and offer add-on coverage. Check out our home warranty plans today.
4. Use a Programmable Thermostat.
This handy tool allows you to program your thermostat settings, so your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard. Save money on heating and cooling costs by setting your programmable thermostat to keep your home warmer or cooler during the hours of the day when you’re asleep or not at home. Upgrading your thermostat is a great way to save energy without even thinking about it.
5. Install a Chimney Damper.
Part of getting your fireplace ready for fall and winter should include installing a chimney damper. A chimney damper keeps cold drafts from coming out of your fireplace and prevents heat from escaping. It can also help keep cool air inside your house during the summer.
If you already have a chimney damper or can’t bear the expense of having a permanent damper installed, consider an inflatable chimney blocker. This type of blocker goes in your chimney below the damper and inflates to block drafts. You’ll have to take it out before lighting a fire and wait until your chimney has completely cooled before putting it back in. But it’s affordable and even works with oddly constructed chimneys.
6. Install energy-saving windows.
Drafty doors, attics, and windows can contribute to a high energy bill. Installing energy-efficient windows can help keep the cold and hot air from escaping, so your air conditioner or heater won’t have to run as much. This will save energy and wear and tear on your system.
7. Insulate your attic.
Your attic can be a silent money pit when it comes to your home’s energy costs. It’s often not as well-insulated as the rest of the house, causing the warm air from the furnace to rise and dissipate. Insulating your attic can help save you money on your energy bill and prevent ice dams from forming on your roof and causing damage.
8. Check for tax credits.
Having an energy-efficient home can save you money beyond your utilities. The government offers renewable energy tax credits when you invest in ways to save energy around your home. Make sure you keep receipts and inform your tax preparer of your purchases.
Adding some simple and often inexpensive, energy-efficient improvements to your home can go a long way towards helping you manage energy costs while staying comfortable in your home. You don’t need to cut way back on your light, heat, cooling, and hot water usage—though it’s a good idea to be conscious of usage.
Instead, take steps to create a more energy-efficient home that helps you save money and decreases your carbon footprint. Get home warranty coverage for your energy-efficient home systems and appliances with American Home Shield.