by Ryan Renner
on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 at 8:00am.
In the cold of a Midwest winter, it’s easy to hibernate at home. But this year, skip the Netflix and instead, use your downtime in a productive way - by making your house more energy efficient. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also can lower your monthly electricity bill. Saving the planet AND saving money? We call that a win-win. To best tackle a home energy makeover, we spoke to a sustainability engineer about the top tips to lower your energy consumption. Read on for her expert suggestions to make your home more energy efficient!
5. Turn off electronics when not in use! Utilize power strips with an on/off strip to save on sucking electronics. Additionally, for maximum impact, homeowners can invest in a Kill A Watt to determine which electronics are using most energy, then put those on a power strip first. You can also unplug appliances and chargers when they aren’t being used.
6. Increase the R-Value of your Insulation - think wall insulation as well as attic insulation. According to Home Depot, R-value measures how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of the home. Higher R-value means greater insulation performance, and thus more savings on your next heating and cooling bill.
7. Clean the coils of your refrigerator, which home pro Bob Vila details on his website if you’re unfamiliar with this task.
8. If applicable, consider upgrading to energy efficient HVAC Equipment. At the very least, ensure that your systems are getting serviced annually.
9. Ensure all your air ducts are properly sealed using duct mastic. Green Building Advisors details options for duct sealing on their website for those who need more information.
10. Water Heater Prep:Reduce the temperature on your hot water heater, even a few degrees can make a big difference. Plus, you can install a water heater blanket to further insulate your heater. Alternatively, and even more efficient would be to install/consider a tankless water heater.
11. Wash all of your clothes, not just delicates, in cold water. This is an especially easy tip to adopt!
12. Switch to LED Lightbulbs, and more importantly, turn them off when you are not using them! Using longer lasting, more energy efficient bulbs can add up to large monetary savings over time, as detailed in this blog post.
13. When the time comes to move or upgrade, invest in EnergySTAR Appliances, which help consumers save money by decreasing energy usage.
14. Especially with the large temperature swings in the Midwest, air seal is super important in terms of increasing energy efficiency. Use acrylic caulk, foam, weather stripping, outlet covers and door sweeps to keep your hot or cold air inside your house. Pay special attention to possible air leaks spots in the home, like doors, windows, dryer vents, air conditioners, roof vents/fans, mail chutes, outlets/light switches, and foundation.
Overall, there is so much you can do to reduce your energy expenditure at home. These expert tips are a great blueprint to going green in 2021. What tips are you going to adopt right away? What tips do you already use?