Four Home Improvements to Maximize Energy Efficiency

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

If your last energy bill gave you a heart attack, you might be looking for ways to save energy use at home. Not only will taking control of your energy bills help you build financial security, but you will do your bit for the environment at the same time. These tips will help you update your home to significantly reduce how much energy you use.

Up Your Window Game

Draughty windows are some of the biggest culprits for heat loss, especially if you live in an older house with original windows still in place. If your windows are not properly sealed and you have the resources to invest, you may save money in the long term by replacing them with energy-efficient windows. Replacing your old windows also doubles as an opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of your home, by selecting building materials that will last. While it used to be a niche interest, sustainable building materials are in high demand nowadays, so you will have no trouble sourcing the right materials.

If you aren’t in a position to replace your windows, sealing those gaps and keeping the heat in shouldn’t be too much trouble—after all, you live in a house, not a barn. Once you’ve ensured that your windows are energy-efficient, you should notice a significant drop in your heating bill this winter. Look into double-glazing or weather-stripping. If you don’t mind the DIY look, a simple sheet of cling-wrap laid over the window can work miracles in cold snap. Remember to seal off any cracks you spot in your drywall (silicone works well).

Insulate The Attic

Attics are notorious sites for heat loss, as the warm air in your home moves upwards. If the warmth is not effectively trapped in your attic, then you may as well be heating a home with no roof. Not surprisingly, insulating your attic properly is an extremely effective way to reduce energy costs, especially in the depths of winter. While you may think of adding insulation as a big job, adding insulation is surprisingly reasonable when you consider the energy savings you can expect as a result. However, this job will be more expensive if your home town experiences extreme weather, and your attic is especially big. Even so, investing the money should pay off in the long-term, even if it takes you a couple of years to recover the upfront investment.

Solar Panels

As often happens, the more money you can invest in a solution, the more money you are able to save. Investing in the energy efficiency of your home is no exception. If you have the available resources to invest in significant updates to your energy efficiency, you will enjoy significant savings in the coming years.

Solar panels are the ultimate example: they are expensive to install, but their eco-friendly attributes make them a popular option for people who want to save on their energy bills while significantly reducing their environmental impact at the same time. Installing solar panels on top of your roof gives you the benefit of the sun’s energy, which (drum roll!) is free. Whether you utilize that energy to heat your living room or run your washing machine, your power bill will be lower because you’ll be supplementing your regular energy consumption with free energy from the sun.

Improve Your Habits

Let’s face it: not everybody is in a position to invest money in structural home improvements. In this case, it’s important to focus on habits, and bring your energy use down consciously. Start with one habit at a time, and you’ll soon see a significant reduction in your bill.

Laundry is an excellent place to start, as it’s a chore many of us do on autopilot, but can potentially spell disaster for energy use. Did you realize that running the washing machine on a hot cycle uses 90% more energy than a cold wash? While there will always be a time and a place for a hot wash cycle (some days, you will have heavily soiled clothing to wash) most days, a cold wash will be perfectly adequate. This is not something everyone believes in until they try it for themselves: clothing does come out clean, believe it or not! While you may not expect that one load of washing could contribute much to your overall energy use, add up how many loads of laundry you go through per month. Seen as a total number of loads, the energy usage added by hot washes might start to seem more significant.

Avoiding running the tumble dryer unless you really need to is another way to avoid unnecessary energy waste in your laundry habits. During the winter, using the dryer is often necessary, but in the warmer months, it’s important to break the habit and build hanging laundry on lines (inside or out) into your normal laundry routine.

Once you’ve got energy-efficient laundry down to a fine art, move on to other habits such as lowering your thermostat, and taking showers instead of baths.

Whether your house is small or large, these tips will help you identify simple updates that will effectively reduce your energy bills.

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