Utility bills are expensive, especially heating and cooling, which constantly seem to rise. Luckily, there are many changes you can make to your home that significantly reduce your energy costs. Check out these five efficient tips to stop wasting energy and finally get your energy bills lower.
Insulate and Repair Holes in Your Air Ducts
Forced-air heating and cooling systems push cold or warm air through vents to various places in the house. However, in most houses, between 20 and 30 percent of that air is lost because of leaks and gaps. As a result, you need to use more energy and money to successfully heat or cool the house. Hire a professional to test your ducts for leaks and have them patched to improve airflow efficiency. In addition, consider insulating ducts that are exposed to extremely hot or cold weather, such as the ducts in your attic.
Use Solar-Controlling Window Films
Solar-controlling window films from places like Reflec Tech glass tinting are placed over the glass on your windows. They help block nearly all the UV light that enters your home, and as a result, they can decrease your utility costs by 30 or 40 percent. This is an inexpensive fix especially when compared to the cost of replacing all your windows with energy efficient ones. In fact, some films are so effective that they can make an inexpensive new window as efficient as an expensive low-E triple-pain window. Because of their energy efficiency, you may even qualify for tax rebates.
Close off Your Chimney
For many people, sitting by a roaring fire in the chimney is a fine idea, but a chimney is also a giant hole though which heat can escape. When you aren't using it, make sure the damper is tightly closed to prevent air from leaving. However, even when you are using the fireplace, it can still suck energy. A lit fire place pulls the heated air from your house and expels cool air from the outside. If you do want to sit near a nice fire, make sure to turn down your furnace, so all that heat isn't going up in smoke.
Purchase Energy Star Appliances
Combined, all the appliances in your home use a lot of energy, but almost every major appliance has an Energy Star option. In the short term, it's a costly investment to replace your appliances, but overtime, they save you more and more money by using less energy more efficiently. Common Energy Star appliances include light bulbs, televisions, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and water heaters. You don't have to go out and buy everything new at once. Gradually, make the shift to Energy Star and watch your energy bills fall.
Don't Ignore the Top of Your House
While you probably don't get into your attic or on the roof often, you shouldn't ignore these important areas. Attics, especially in older homes, are notorious for not having enough insulation, allowing hot air and cold air to escape. Get into your attic and start adding some more insulation. Attics should have insulation with an R-value between R-22 and R-29. However, don't stop there. Keep going up to inspect your roof. Roofs with darker shingles do a poor job of reflecting the sun's heat, which increases your cooling bills. Consider switching to a lighter colored shingle that will reflect the sunlight.
There are many areas of your home that waste energy, and these five tips are the first steps in reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint. Even making a couple small changes can make a big change in your monthly bills. For more information about making energy-friendly changes to your home, contact a local contractor today.