We’ll set aside the idea of installing solar panels on your roof in an effort to make your home greener – they are incredibly expensive and have very little benefit. And, there are many options for making your home more energy efficient without spending a fortune or sacrificing hours of labour each week to reduce energy usage. Here are five ways to make your home more energy efficient.
Upgrade Your Windows
Replace your single pane windows with double glazed windows. Double glazed windows cost from £300 per window. They reduce heat loss in winter and keep your home cooler in summer, paying for themselves in energy savings in a matter of years. You can combine double glazed windows with light reflecting films that prevent the hottest rays from entering in the summer, but let natural light in during the winter without letting heat escape. If this is beyond your budget, check windows and doors for air gaps that let air out, and put up thermal drapes. You’ll likely need to replace the weather stripping anyway.
Maintain Your HVAC System
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system uses twenty percent or more of your home’s energy. We’re not going to tell you to install a new, high-efficiency furnace in order to reduce energy efficiency. Instead, we’ll address the maintenance that goes a long way into saving energy. Replace filters when they start to turn grey instead of letting the unit run twice as long trying to get enough air. Make sure the air intake for the furnace isn’t clogged so that the fans don’t run long and hard trying to bring in air. Clear out the drains on the furnace so that the flame doesn’t go out because of humidity. You can also reduce demand on your HVAC system by using ceiling fans to distribute the air coming through the vents.
Clean Your Appliances
Clean the heat exchangers on the back of the refrigerator. A thick layer of dust on them prevents the fridge from getting as cold as it could, so the compressor runs harder than necessary. Clean the seals of the oven door and dishwasher to prevent leaks of water or hot air. Don’t forget to check the vents at the back of the dryer to clear dust bunnies that force the dryer to run longer; this is a fire hazard, as well as an energy waste.
Unplug When You Unwind
Unplug your smartphone from the charger when it is fully charged, so that the charger doesn’t continue to pull energy. A smart TV or game system uses almost as much power in standby mode as when it is off, so actually turn it off when not in use. Likewise, turn off your computer instead of letting it sit idle, and unplug your garage freezer if not in use.
Wrap the Hot Water Heater
Before you decide to get an instant hot water heater and re-plumb the house, consider wrapping the hot water heater in insulation. This reduces heat loss from the hot water heater and improves its efficiency. Troubleshoot the hot water heater if it is not giving you as much hot water as it used to. If there is a water leak letting hot water out, you want to address it before there is a catastrophic flood, and replacing a burned out heating element prevents the remaining one from working twice as hard before it fails and leaves you without hot water at all.
By doing these five things, you will not only make your home greener, but save money as well.