Energy Efficient Home Guide

Are you ready to find out if in fact your home is as energy efficient as it can be?

 

Most of us have some big and many small things that we can do to better the energy efficiency of our home.  Whether you just want to drop a few dollars off of your gas bill or you are looking for a better way to fuel your home altogether, doing just a few things can make a tremendous amount of difference in your homes energy efficiency and monthly bills.

 

Why bother with energy efficiency?

You don’t feel like your home is energy inefficient and you can afford the bills so why bother?  Many people will be shocked to learn that they can lose up to 25% or more of the energy in their home without the need to.  You could literally be throwing your money out the window.

Check Out: 10 DIY Tips for Winter Home Prep

The good news is that making your home energy efficient does not have to be overly challenging.  It does not have to be overly costly either.  There are some changes that will cost a decent amount of money to implement into a home.  These are usually the things that need to be taken into consideration if you plan to save a great deal of money.

 

As you will see in this guide, there are plenty of things that you can do to better your home’s ability to use energy more wisely from just about every aspect you can imagine.  But first, we need to take the time to really analyze if in fact making the change is worth it.

 

There are many products and companies that promise that you will save a great deal of money and you wind up investing a great deal to end up not saving anything.

 

The best thing for anyone that is looking to improve their home’s ability to use energy wisely is to take a good look at what the product or need is, how it is used, the cost of the product and the cost of the installation and then determine if in fact it has the potential of making up those funds through energy savings.  Some won’t.  Others will.

 

Throughout this article you will learn things that you can do right away to improve the energy efficiency of your home.  You will also learn different ways to save money on everyday needs that you have.  You will find yourself saving money and living in a more efficient and environmentally friendly home.

 

Figuring Out Your Current Costs

One of the first things that you should do when looking at your ability to make your home more energy efficient is to know just what you are currently paying.

 

By taking the time to determine what you are currently spending on energy, you can better determine which areas you have the potential to save with.  In each area of the country, there are different rates, different co-ops and a wide range of different types of fuel to take into consideration.

 

It is up to you to find out what you are paying based on your monthly bill payments.  Look at those payments and notice two things.

 

  • What is the amount that you pay per unit that you use of that fuel type?
  • What is the amount of that fuel type that you use per month in units?

 

Your goal, then, is to notice how you can change these.

 

The first step in this process is to determine if you can lower the number of units that you use of your fuel type.  Now, the most simplistic of ways to do this is through simply turning off more power or fuel to your home.

 

One thing that people do not realize is just how much it matters that you turn off and unplug the appliances and other tools for your home.

 

Throughout this article, you will learn not only how to improve the efficiency of your home, but also how to simply use less energy altogether.

 

For now, start off by investing a few minutes right now.  Get up and walk from room to room in your home.  Turn off any light, any fan, any appliance that is on.  Don’t forget to unplug those units that leave LED lights on even when they are turned off. An efficiency tip is to plug similar electronics into a surge protector and turn that off to kill all power to those electronics.  These units can save you a great deal of money.  Go ahead; see how much you can already save just by doing this.

Cost vs Savings Analysis: ROI

 

Before we get into saving you money with methods to lower the number of units that you spend on your fuel each month, we do need to show you the benefits of energy savings by smart investment.

 

Because the world is in a fuel crisis and the cost of gas and other energy means continues to rise, there are those not so nice guys out there that are promoting products that are anything but a way to save money.  These products may work, but probably do not.

 

The trick is that you need to know before you purchase them if in fact they are something that is cost effective or if they are something that will be a waste of your hard earned money.

 

We can help you with a few good tips about purchasing any item that may be presented to you as a way to save energy on your home’s fuel usage.  Take some time to really think about what you are investing in before you do so.  This alone can save you money.

 

 

Tips for Analyzing Benefits

 

Take these tips to heart:

 

  • What is the product promising to do for you? Any product that is promising amazing results is probably not providing them.  If there was a miracle product out there, wouldn’t we all have it by now?
  • What is the cost of this product in the first place? How much will it cost you to purchase, install and then use this product?
  • Does this cost actually figure any savings to you within the first days of use? In other words, it should be able to immediately help you to save money on your energy needs.
  • Finally, how long will it take you to make up the difference in the cost of the product over the amount of money you have invested in it? If you can not get your costs back quick enough, it too may not be the right choice for your needs.

 

When you take these things into consideration, you will find yourself better able to understand the true benefit of any supposed energy savings gadget that is out there.  Now, there are sure to be those things that do actually work too. But, you need to find them first.

 

Know Before You Buy

 

There are several things that you should know about before you invest in these energy savings products as well.  Now, mind you, if you are talking about a ten dollar investment, it does not take all of this research.  But, if you are talking about replacing or amending any of your major energy producing systems in your home, such as your furnace, then it pays to pay attention to the details.

 

One thing to find out is who the company that is offering this product actually is.  For example, who is marketing this product to you?  If you can take a few minutes to find this out, you can log into the Better Business Bureau’s website and find out if in fact they have had any claims put in against the company or person that may in fact have to do with this product.

 

You can also search for reviews of the product by using your favorite search engine and the name of the product followed by the word review.  When you do this, you may find several different websites all providing a different look at what this product can or possibly will not do for you.

 

Take the time to determine if there are good or just bad points to this product.

 

Also beneficial is to take some time to learn about the way that the product’s manufacturer backs up their claim.  If you find that the product does not work as effectively as it has promised, can you send it back to them?  If so, before you even purchase it, you should know where you can return it to get your funds back.

 

Doing these things is almost a must when you are purchasing from a company that you have not heard about in the past.  What’s more is that protecting yourself is something you have to do.

 

Is It Worth The Cost?

 

There are plenty of traps out there that can really cut into any potential that you have in gaining anything from a product.  But, the bottom line is that the product that you are purchasing to help you to save money must be able to actually do that.

 

To do it, the cost of the product must be able to be made up quickly by the product saving you the money.

 

You should also take some time to determine if this product fits a need that you have.  If you are investing in a $2000 new furnace for a home you do not use, it may not be all that beneficial to you.  But, if you use that furnace each day, then this money can come back to you ten fold quickly, if the product is worth the investment of course.

 

Finally, although we have said quite a few negative things here regarding products on the market that may not be beneficial to your home’s energy efficient needs, it is important to note that there are plenty of great companies and services out there that actually are capable of providing the highest quality service as well as lowering your costs for fuel.

 

In fact, if you think about it, solar panels wouldn’t be around if someone hadn’t thought to use the sun’s powers to heat us.

 

You also would not have plenty of the other things that we use each and every day to if someone hadn’t thought that this was a great idea and then made it happen.

Therefore, it does make good sense to insure that you do take the time to consider what the product is and what it is promising.  While there are scams out there, there are also quite a few beneficial products on the market that can better your ability to save money on your home’s fuel needs too.

 

Find Your Biggest Needs to Optimal Energy Efficiency

 

Now that you have an idea of how to go about considering any and all products that you will put into your home, you should be considering what your biggest potential need for your attention is.

 

As you found out just how much you are spending each month on your energy needs, you should be able to see which your largest consumer is.  For most people, this is gas.

 

 

What Do I Do Now?

 

Once you have found out what your fuel costs are and where your largest money saver is, you can begin to look for answers to your specific needs in energy savings.  But, there are some other things to think about too.

 

Making the big changes can be costly.  Therefore, you will want to do all of our little changes first so that you can go back later and make larger ones with the funds that you save.  Here’s what we mean.

 

If you take the time to install some added insulation in your home, you will begin to reap the benefits of needing less fuel to cool or to heat your home.  Now, take this savings and consider stockpiling it, so to speak.  When you can, down the road consider purchasing solar panels for your roof so that you can begin using literally free power instead.

 

There is no doubt that some changes are going to be costly, but if you can find them beneficial in the long run, they may be well worth it.

 

Starting Small for the Biggest Savings

 

You will find many, many different tips and tricks to helping you to save money on your home’s energy needs.

 

But, as we mentioned, it is smart, even most beneficial to start small and work up to larger changes in your home.  Now, that does not mean that you can not do both, but we will begin talking about some of the small, inexpensive ways that you can begin to see energy efficiency in your home.

 

 

Insulate your water heaterInsulate Your Water Heater

 

There are several things that you can improve with your water heater to see benefits in energy savings.

 

First off, do you realize that you are heating water to a certain temperature for your shower or your washing machine only to bring that temperature down by mixing it with cold water so that it is usable?  Most people cannot use straight hot water and that’s where some savings can come in.  Lower the hot water temperature to the lowest comfortable setting for your needs.

 

If you have an energy efficient hot water heater, you can save a great deal of money just not heating the water as hot as you normally would.  Most hot water heaters have dials that you can use.

 

You can lower it just a bit or a good amount, just do not drop it below 120 F, as this is an unsafe level for bacteria and sanitation reasons.  This is especially helpful if you have an electric heater.

 

Another thing to consider doing is to install a timer on your water heater.  What is the sense of warming water over and over during the day if you are not home or do not use it during the day?  Have the water heater timer kick on before you come home from work so that hot water is ready and waiting for you.

 

Even better is insuring that the timer keeps the heater off during the night when you know you won’t be using it.   You can again set the temperature on your hot water heater to aid in getting it right.

 

Probably one of the biggest benefits in regards to your water heater is to have it insulated.  Most of the time, your water heater will already be insulated, you just need to take it to the next step.  By adding insulation around the outside of your water heater, you are keeping the heat inside the water heater and therefore reducing the need for the heater to turn on and heat, using fuel to do so.

 

This is a large benefit to anyone that is perhaps housing their water heater in the basement or in another area of their home that is not heated.

 

There are two solutions here.  First, you can purchase prepaid hot water heaters to easily apply to your hot water heater.  These fit snuggly over it and take just minutes to install.

 

Another option is to consider making your own with strips of insulation cut the size of the circumference of the water heater.  Use duct tape to keep it in place.  Just be careful not to cover the areas where gas or piping are located otherwise the water heater will not function properly for you.

 

insulate your water pipesYour Piping

 

The next big yet easy energy saving solution for you to consider is to insulate your home’s piping.  Piping carries hot water to and from the various faucets in your home.  The route that it takes is important to consider.

 

In addition, it is important to insure that while the hot water is traveling to its destination it is staying as hot as possible.  If not, you will be tempted to just up the temperature on your hot water tank.

 

Yet, all you will need to do is to insulate the pipes to insure that the water temperature does not drop when traveling form the hot water heater to the actual place where you will use it.

 

This can be very beneficial to those that have piping that runs through areas of your home that are not heated, such as the basement or even outside.  When this happens, the temperature of those pipes can become very cold, especially in winter months, drastically lowering the temperature of the hot water you need.

 

To remedy this, just purchase and install insulation for your hot water pipes.  You will find very easy to use pre-made foam pipe insulation available to use.

 

To do so, just cut down one side of the insulation with a sharp knife so that you can insert it over the top of the piping.  Make sure to measure for a snug fit too.  Snap it onto the piping.  When you come to a corner, joint or other angle, all you need to do is to bend the foaming to form fit over the piping.  Most of the time, this is easy to do.  Then, use duct tape to cover any of the slits you have made and the joints.

 

It also pays to do this with cold pipes as well.  These pipes often sweat and then drip onto the other hot pipes, again, lowering the temperature in them.  In addition, insulating them can help to protect them from freezing and or breaking during winter months.

 

Maintain your furnaceYour Furnace

 

The furnace is normally undoubtedly one of the principal consumers of energy in your house . It stands to reason that you should wish to consider any and all different types of strategies to keep those rates lower.

 

One of the simplest yet most effective methods to keeping your furnace running efficient is to simply change the furnace filters often.  Both your air conditioning units and your heating units have filters that allow air to pass through them.

Check out this post on All Around the House to fix your furnace yourself.

When your filters are clogged with dust and other stuff, it makes it harder for the air to get into your unit and therefore makes the unit work harder.

 

The harder that it works, the more energy it needs to have.  In fact, if they are overly clogged up, you can cause your entire unit to become overheated and then find problems such as your compressor going.

 

See, the problem here is not the costs though.  Your filters are likely to cost just a few dollars and they are even easy to replace.  Yet, people just do not get to their furnace and take care of it as often as they should.  You should check your furnace filters each month.

 

There are two different types of filters you can use.  The first is the standard type and these are very inexpensive to purchase and are disposable.  Many people dispose of these each month just to make it easier on themselves instead of having to bother with checking them.

Maybe your thermostat is a problem? Our friends over at All Around the House offer some tips to fix your thermostat

If you purchase other type, which is a more expensive, allergen and small particle filter, you may not want to dispose of it each month.  Rather, put it up to the light to see if in fact light can make it through.  If not, then it is time to replace them which is likely to be one time every three or so months.

 

You may also have a self charging electrostatic filter.  These filters still need your attention at least each month.  Here, you will want to clean them monthly by rinsing them from the clean side.  These usually need to be replaced one time every several years.

 

Another benefit that you can get from your furnace is to insure that you have it checked and cleaned each year.  You should do this as it can help to improve the overall efficiency of the unit.  Most heating and cooling experts say that having the unit checked each month can help you to save throughout the year and keep you from having to replace the unit too soon.

 

ceiling fans cost savingsCeiling Fans

 

Another aspect of your home that you can improve energy efficiency is the ceiling fan.

Most homes have these installed throughout them.  If you do not, consider adding them.  Most of the time, they are not too costly, and can even be found quite inexpensively.

 

You can save a great deal of money with ceiling fans if they are used right.

 

In the summer, use your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise direction.  Allowing it to spin this way will keep air moving.  Moving air feels cooler and therefore you will not need to use your air conditioning as much.  In addition, it will help to keep the air moving and keep the thermostat set higher. The air conditioning units in homes will use a great deal more energy then that of a ceiling fan.

 

But, in the winter, you should use them as well.  In this case, have them spin at their lowest setting and in reverse (clockwise) so as to push the hot air that rises from the ceiling down onto the working area of your home.

 

At the lowest setting, it will not cause a breeze in your home either but will keep the furnace from having to be set too low during the winter months.

 

Further on in this article, we will talk more about other elements of your home that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to energy efficiency.

 

There is no doubt that you may be thinking that covering your pipes and keeping your hot water tank insulated are going to cost you some money.  That is true.  In fact, you may find yourself spending a couple of dollars and investing some time in making sure that those things are happening.

 

Yet, the benefits of doing these things with these units in your home are definite.  There is not doubt that you can keep your energy costs down by investing a little money in these projects.

 

Windows Can Let Out Your Energy Efficiency

 

windows can cut costsConsider your windows.  Are they doing everything they can for you?

 

There is no doubt that windows in a home are necessary, but they can cost you a great deal of money when it comes to energy.  The fact here is that windows allow for air to pass through them easily.  In effect, they can be a huge part of your energy usage.

 

In fact, those that have windows that are not providing a good amount of insulation can be looking at up to 35%of their loss to come from their windows.

35% of the energy that you lose can be due to your windows.

 

Should You Replace?

 

To address this concern , there are numerous things that you are able to do . First of all , this is one situation when you may want to take into consideration the advantages of updating your current home windows . Assuming you have older home windows , it might be needed to upgrade them .
Windows on a house should be replaced any place from every 10 years to every 20 or so dependent on the kind of window as well as their efficiency . It is certainly not so much what their age is , however , as the way by which they work .

 

What you are looking for is a good level of protection.  You want the heat to stay in during the winter months and the cold to stay out.  Flip flop that for the summer months.  Nevertheless, this can be hard to do for older windows.

 

Those that have fewer than two panes of glass should be replaced for additional energy efficiency, if your budget allows for it.

 

If there are cracks, breaks and other areas where the window is compromised, these too should be replaced beyond a doubt.

 

But, when it comes to replacing windows, it is not necessary about purchasing the most expensive one out there.

Since the windows in your house comprise such a sizable faculty of the energy that is used, you might want to buy the best quality, energy efficient home windows that you are able to.

They need to appear the way that you want them, however it is more valuable to get those which will maintain temperatures even all the way through the home instead .

 

The cost of replacing windows is a massive one, yet the truth is that they can save you a great deal.

 

It may be that you wish to wait a couple of additional months before purchasing windows and that is just fine.  In the meantime, why not consider any of these other window tips to save you money?

 

The Candle Check

 

candle check for drafts

We cannot always feel or see a draft that is being caused by your window.  To help you to see if there is in fact air coming through any area of your windows, use the candle check.

 

  • Take a candle (or you can use a piece of sewing thread if you like) to your windows. Do this on a windy day where the trees are moving.
  • Next, run the candle or thread along the edges and the panes. Do this slowly as to not move the candle fire or the thread any more than necessary. Notice where the candle or thread moves.  If there is movement from an area, then this is an immediate problem that should be handled.
  • In cases where there is movement, repair this damage right away. You are literally throwing your money out the window.

 

Once you have an idea of where the problem areas with your windows actually are, you can remedy them.  If you need to replace caulking around the interior or the exterior of your home’s windows, it is necessary to completely remove and clean off any remaining caulk first.  A clean layer will insure a snug fit for the new application.

Consider the weather stripping as well.  You can now purchase self-stick foam as well as rolled up rubber weather stripping that can be added to virtually any window.  These are simply to apply and can instantly save you countless dollars on your home’s energy bill.  You can easily purchase them as well.

 

The Winter Window Film Plan

 

Let’s say that you have an older window problem in your home but cannot afford the cost of replacing your current drafty windows.  You know that during the winter months that heat is escaping, what can you do?

 

One solution that many people turn to is that of using thin, clean plastic films to place over the window.  These do quite a bit of good when they are applied correctly.  Of course, you do need to insure that you do that.

 

To do so, purchase these inexpensive (usually just a couple of dollars) films for the windows in your home, especially the larger ones.  Most department stores will carry them in their hardware section.

 

The film will need to be stretched tightly over the window.  Then, you will use a blow dryer to remove any wrinkles in it.  Once this is done, you simply will need to use a two sided tape to seal down the edges to keep air out.

 

This type of product works by keeping air from flowing into or out of the home.  It is a good solution for those that cannot replace drafty windows in their home during the winter months.

Window Decoration Tips

 

What most of us do not realize is that our windows can allow a lot of air to escape, especially larger ones.  One way that you can take energy use seriously is to insure that the way that you decorate your windows is the best way to keep energy in.

 

curtains overlooked money savingsThe more layers of protection on something that is drafty or even good windows, the more air will stay out, and conversely the more energy will stay in.

 

First off, if you have blinds on your windows, make sure that those blinds are lying flat and that they cover the entire window.  In addition, the shades that you use should be pulled all the way down.

 

Finally, decorate your windows with drapes and curtains that are lined.  These are a bit more in cost than other drapes, but they provide a great deal of energy protection to those in need.  This is a great tip for those that are looking for ways to easily save money.  A heavy drape covering the window can help you to save countless dollars in energy costs all winter.

 

Paying attention to your windows will allow you to save a great deal of money.

Repair any problems that you may have as soon as possible.

 

 

Good Habits to Develop for Energy Saving

 

Can you recall as a young child getting asked by your mom if you have been “born in a barn ?” There are many logical reasons why this is very important . The truth is there are minor things , even basic things , to integrate into your daily existence to notice improvements in your energy use without truly needing to do much of anything at all .

 

In fact, all you really need to do is to insure that you get yourself into good habits and within a month you will begin to notice changes.

 

While switching one light off isn’t going to make a huge deal on your bill, combining this with other features will show you some real signs of improvement and quickly too.

 

To help you, here are some of the best habits that you can form to gain great energy saving benefits from the beginning.

 

Your Shower

 

cost savings for showerYou probably do not realize how this affects your energy use, but it does.  Unless you take a very long shower, you may not realize that it is more effective and uses less hot water than a bath does.

 

Instead of filling up the tub with water, you save a great deal by using the shower.  To make it even a better option, install a water saving shower head.  These are inexpensive (although they do cost more than a standard shower head) but will reduce the amount of water that comes through and is wasted.  You simply will use less water and reap the benefits of lower consumption.

 

Because you do not need to use as much hot water, you are reducing the work load of your hot water heater and saving energy in the process.

 

 

Appliance Use

 

Next, take a look at your appliance usage.  There are certain appliances that generate heat more so than others.  The washer and dryer as well as your oven and dishwasher are prime candidates.

 

Therefore, whenever possible, use these during the cooler parts of the day such as the morning and in the evening, to keep your air conditioning from having to kick on.  If it is already hot and you are using them, the air conditioning units have to work harder using more energy to do so and costing you more.

 

During the winter, doing this will help you to keep your home warmer in the coldest times of the day, therefore keeping your furnace from having to work as hard and using less energy.

 

Washing Clothes

 

When washing clothing, there are some great tools to use here too for energy savings.  First off, only run full loads of laundry.  If you run just a few items, you are simply wasting the energy that is needed.

 

In addition, make sure that the weight of the object is taken into consideration.  Keeping like weights together can help to reduce the amount of time that some items are needed in the dryer.  For example, if you wash towels together, which require longer periods of time to dry, you can save energy when you wash light weight t-shirts.

 

Another tool that has been put onto the market is cold water detergent for your washer.  These chemicals claim to work well in cold water, meaning that you do not need to use as much hot water in your laundry.  Without using hot water, you lessen the demand on your hot water heater and therefore lower your energy usage significantly.

 

Keep the units working at their best.  That means cleaning out the dryer filter too.  There are two things to consider here.  First, keep the interior filter clean by cleaning it after every load.  This allows the clothing to dry faster with each load.

Second, clean the tubing that runs from the dryer to the wall clean as well. This should be cleaned out every six months for optimal use.

 

Cook Tops

 

Stove energy saving tipsCook tops that are electric can pose a problem for those that are looking to save energy.  These pull quite a bit of electricity to be used effectively.  To help to keep this to a minimum, make sure that you select the right size burner for the pot that you are using.

 

Another trick with these units is to insure that the bottom of your pan is flat.  Those that are rounded have less surface area actually touching the cook top, causing it to take longer to heat and therefore requiring more energy use for the same meal.

 

Keep the surfaces cleaned and wiped down after each use.  If you have a gas stove, in this case, keep the carbon build up around the actual pilots clean as well.  They will work better and use less gas in the process lowering your costs while doing so.

 

Lights

 

cfl bulbs for energy savingsThroughout your home you will find various lights on and off at all times of the day, right?  Make it a habit to turn them off each time you leave a room.  In addition, you will want to make sure that the smallest comfortable light is in use at all times, not necessarily the light that is going to fill the room.

 

In addition, as you go throughout your home replacing bulbs (as they burn out of course) begin replacing them with energy efficient bulbs.  These are becoming more and more readily available even at the supermarket and department stores.  Although they will cost more to put them into your home, they will benefit you in reduced energy use, while also reducing your energy bill.

 

Energy efficient light bulbs put out as much as four times as many lumens per watt.  So, if you purchase a 25 watt fluorescent bulb, you are going to have as much light as if you were using a 100 watt bulb of the standard, incandescent bulb.  Therefore, with lower wattage use, you will use less electricity and save money.

 

In addition, these light bulbs will last you almost ten times as long as a standard light bulb will.  In some case, you won’t have to replace them for years!  This is definitely worth the investment.  Doing this slowly as the others die out will allow it to be less of a cost shock.

 

Window Tips

 

While we have already talked about how windows affect the heat and air conditioning in your home, it also is important to mention them as in habit usage.

 

If you will be using your windows during the summer months to bring in air, do so!  This is a great way to bring in free, fresh air to your home. During the day you may need to run your air conditioner, but as the day cools off, open your windows as your home begins to warm up, let nature cool your home. This way you are not having to run your air conditioner nonstop, and reduce your energy usage.

 

In addition, during winter months, keeping the drapes and blinds closed can significantly lower the energy need for heat throughout your home especially during dark hours and colder periods.  But, you can benefit from opening up those drapes when the sun is shining and allowing the home to get some free heat from the sun.

 

During the night, close the drapes to capture the heat in your home, and the drapes will act as insulation to the windows keeping heat in during the winter and cool air in during the summer.

 

In summer months, if there is a breeze or if there is a temperature drop to a comfortable level, ease off the air conditioning and let the cool air from night cool down the home.

 

In addition, make sure that you lock your windows when they are closed.  That little extra push can help to keep the right temperature maintained.

Landscape your Home for Optimal Energy efficiency

 

Have you thought about the outside of your home for energy efficiency? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Check out: Landscaping for Energy Efficiency to learn more

landscaping tips for home energy savingsLandscaping a home can be done in such a way as to allow for benefits in the energy efficiency of your home.  In fact, you can save about 25% of your household energy consumption with a landscaping design that incorporates just the right placement of trees.

 

There are many things that can be done to improve your outdoor living area to keep you feeling just as happy and content as it will in keeping your energy usage to a minimum.

 

In fact, landscaping can do several things:

  • It can help you to lower your heating and cooling costs dramatically.
  • It can help you to protect your home too, from wind damage and sun fading (such as with paint!)
  • It can help to lower the costs related to the amount of water, fuel and even the number of pest control products you need to use.
  • It can help you to gain benefits such as less noise and even improve the air quality in your home.

 

All of this from energy efficient landscaping; yes, and it usually results with a great looking yard too.

 

What You Need To Do

So, how can you get this done correctly?  The Department of Energy in the US says that if you place just three trees surrounding your home, you can save yourself any place from $100 to $250 on your energy bills.  This is because of what a tree can do.

 

wnterWinter

 

In the winter time, the right placement of a tree can keep out some of the cold, but will still allow the warm sunshine of the winter day to stream in.

 

If you have any idea of what wind chill is, you can see another benefit of trees.  The wind chill is the way that the wind cools things down. In the winter months, the wind chill is a secondary temperature.  While the actual temperature can be 20 degrees F, the wind chill can knock it down considerably, making it feel as if it is much colder than it really is.

 

When you add a tree, shrubs or other structures outside of your home, the wind is stopped and can not hit the home, therefore reducing the wind chill factor for your home.

 

If you install what are called windbreaks (or any item that can stop the wind before it hits the home) you can reap benefits of up to 40% less fuel consumption in heating your home.  If you live in a very windy area, you can lose even more, up to one third, of your winter fuel costs in this manner.  (This is as compared to a home without these benefits.)

 

Summer

 

In the summer time, you will reap the rewards of cooler air.  This happens due to evapotranspiration (the process of the tree moving and letting off water vapor) and shading from the tree.  It can lower the temperature up to nine degrees in this way.

 

Another key point to make is that in a shaded area underneath a large tree, the temperature can be as much as 25 degrees F cooler than it is just above a layer of blacktop on your street.

 

All of this equals about 15% to up to 50% of lower need for air conditioning in the summer months.  This can keep your costs down considerably.  All of this just from a beautiful looking tree.

 

In other ways, the landscaping that you do outdoors can find benefits to your energy usage.  It is easy to see that placing trees in the right locations can help.

Here are some other things to take into consideration.

 

  • Make sure that water drainage is draining away from your home with a natural landscape that moves away from the home. This will allow for better protection of your foundation.
  • When it comes to installing a new roof, look for Energy Star choices. In addition, this is the perfect time to consider solar panels and what they can do to lower the costs of your home.
  • Of course, you can also purchase and use outdoor landscaping equipment and garage related tools that are Energy Star approved too.

 

 

 

Call to Action to make your Home Energy Efficient

Is your home energy efficient?  Have you learned any ways that you can better your home through this article?  You may have the feeling that you just want to do everything in this article and all of a sudden reap the rewards.

 

But, doing that is a costly process!  Why not tackle one project at a time finding and improving the efficiency of your home one step at a time?  There are some small things that will take only a few minutes to improve yet there are those projects that can take much longer and cost much more.  How can you find the right ones to do?

 

Remember that we went through and talked about where were your biggest energy drains.  Use that as a starting point.  If winter is on its way, it pays to pay attention to the windows in your home and the furnace.  If summer if quickly moving in, think about planting a few trees to save you countless of dollars over your lifetime.

 

The bottom line is that fuel costs continue to rise.  There is no law, rule or other factor that will be swooping in to lower them long-term.  As much as we like to complain about this, the best thing for us to do is to insure that we are looking for ways to use the least amount of fuel as possible.  When we do that, we can find many benefits overall in the way that our home looks and the way that it functions.

 

Making your home energy efficient is a process and one that is definitely worth it every step of the way.  Start now and keep working at it.  Keep your money in your pocket instead of out the cracks in your floors and windows!

 

Do you have any other tips not mentioned here, that could improve energy efficiency? Please leave them as a comment and help out the community.

6 comments to Energy Efficient Home Guide

  • Energy Efficient Home Guide | Downtown Homestead  says:

    […] post Energy Efficient Home Guide appeared first on Downtown […]

  • Edith  says:

    We should all do our part to help out, thank you so much for this guide.

    • DowntownKevin  says:

      Edith;
      Glad you found the guide helpful in making your home energy efficient. Let me know if you have any specific interests and we’ll try to help.

  • Kiersten  says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!
    It is the little changes that produce the most
    significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    • DowntownKevin  says:

      Every little thing we do to bring about less energy used in our home is important, bu as pointed out, remember ROI is very important when calculating the costs of the energy efficient changes.

  • […] Check out this post to learn more about making your home energy efficient? […]

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>