Is It Possible To Make Your Home Energy Efficient Cheaply?
Not only are energy efficient homes a savvy choice for saving money, they are also the best way to incorporate 'going green.' In this type of economy saving money where possible will make a huge difference and of course helping the environment is never a bad thing either.
Know the Basics
Understanding some basic elements of energy efficiency is important and will save you a lot of headaches and money. When surveying your home, take into consideration things like your thermal envelop status, ventilation, doors and windows and how those things utilize the current heating and cooling systems in place.
Thermal envelop measures has everything to do with your doors to windows and all of them need to be inspected so you know which need to be replaced and which don't to conserve on heat and cooling costs. Also survey the roofing, ventilation and insulation. Proper ventilation can be the different between hundreds of dollars going out the window and also save on your electric bill. Your thermal envelop will clearly show you how much heat or AC your home is currently retaining or losing.
Replacing Old Wood
Most houses are built of wood and the quality of that wood will make a huge difference in how your home conserves energy. Nowadays the wood used is much more advanced and there are even brands that are harvested which are super for efficiency. It is worth it to invest in these types as in the long run you will save a bundle.
Insulation is the best way to ensure you are maximizing your heat. When evaluating your home take into consideration your home's R-grades and R-values. The R value of your home is how well the insulation holds and retains heat while the lower R grade or value retains less. Homes built in cooler regions have varying R grades throughout the house because of the harsh winters. Therefore homes in places like Wisconsin will have R grade insulation of 11 or higher for the walls, ceilings or floors; in warmer places like Florida, these numbers will be much lower.
Replace Old Windows
Much of a home's heat or air conditioning is lost through windows. If you home has windows that are old, chipping or cracking, replace them immediately with newer, more energy efficient models now available. Though they are a bit more expensive, in the long run the money you save on heating and cooling costs will be evident.
Install Air and Vapor Retarders
Water condensation is damaging to a home's structure and when warm and cool air collide within a home's walls it can cause condensation. Condensation often leads to wood rotting and mold. Retarders allow the airflow within the home to be distributed evenly so that it won't gather on the home's structure and cause damage.
Also consider purchasing and installing overhangs for your windows, particularly those on the southern end of your home as this area tends to get the most sunshine and there the temperature rises. Shading these areas will also make a difference in your bills.
Weatherize Your Home
Do a thorough evaluation of your home so you can target some trouble spots such as holes, cracks and foundation separations which allow heat and AC to escape to the outside. Then begin patching and repairing those troubled areas using weather stripping or by caulking. Surprisingly those who take these small measures notice up to a 50% difference in their bills each month and the materials needed are dirt cheap.
Finally, one by one, replace your existing appliances with energy efficient ones. Initially this can costly venture but the overall savings is always worth it and some of the items may even be tax right offs at the end of the year. Look for sales at the end of winter and beginning of spring as lots of retailers have them to encourage people to become more eco-friendly.
You can start by replacing some of your smaller, cheaper appliances like the toaster and then more on to more expensive ones like dishwashers and your stove. Also contact your individual utility company and inquire about rebates they may offer for energy efficient appliances to add more savings.