Cut down your home energy cost with these 7 simple steps
Let’s face it, living in California is expensive! From the land we live on to the gas that takes us to our destinations, we pay more because of where we are. This is especially true when it comes to the natural resources used to operate our homes and businesses. If you’re concerned about the efficiency of your home, or just want to reduce your monthly energy costs, we can help! The pros at Grizzly HERS Testing have created some simple, do-it-yourself tips. For little to no cost, these tips can help you turn your house into a more energy-friendly and cost-effective home.
A quick overview of the 7 simple ways to improve energy efficiency
- Proper Insulation and Air Barrier
- Upgrade Lighting
- Adjust Thermostat
- Use Fans with AC Unit
- Blinds or Blackout Drapes
- Wash Schedule
- Unplug Unused Appliances and Devices
Proper Insulation and Air Barrier
Did you know that only about 20% of homes built before 1980 are insulated to today’s standards? Up to 1/3 of your heating or cooling could be escaping through the ceiling! Insulation is critical to keeping a home comfortable and energy costs low.
A crucial aspect of insulating a building is to create an air barrier between the conditioned and unconditioned areas. An air barrier is made up of various materials and is designed to control the air flow directly around the HVAC unit. Locate areas that you can add or update the insulation. Many homes have little, or no insulation in the attics or crawl spaces. Locate problem areas: investing time and money insulating walls, crawlspaces, floors and garages, could save up to 50% in energy costs!
Check the ‘R’ value. Your attic insulation should be between R-30 and R-60, depending on where you live. The higher the “R” value, the more heat flow resistance your insulation will provide. Do some research to make sure you are selecting the right type of insulation for the different areas of your home. Seal windows, doors, vents and ducts – it’s estimated that up to 20% of heating or cooling is lost due to leaks or poorly sealed connections! Perform regular checks and upgrade weatherstripping and seals as needed.
Investing in energy-efficient lighting can save you up to 25% on your energy bill! Incandescent bulbs are inefficient, while LED bulbs can last 25 times longer than regular light bulbs! LED lights run much cooler than standard bulbs and can also help reduce your air conditioning use in the summer months.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Set your thermostat to 78°F, or higher, in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Keep your thermostat set higher in the summer, or lower in winter months, than usual, while you’re at work or school, and adjust for comfort when you come home. Lowering the thermostat while the air conditioning is running will NOT cool your house any faster and may result in energy waste.
Consider investing in a smart thermostat to make temperature transitions easier. They can be programmed to adjust settings in your home for peak energy efficiency and they learn your preferences and habits to establish schedules that automatically change your temperature schedules to keep your home comfortable. Check into state and local government incentives for installing a smart thermostat. Your energy provider may offer discounts, too! Take advantage of the perks that will help you save money on install and ongoing use of a smart thermometer.
Install/Use Fans with your AC
Running a fan with your AC is a cost-effective way to boost the airflow in your home. The airflow creates a wind chill factor that can allow you to set your thermostat higher, without sacrificing comfort. Just remember to turn them off when you leave. The downside to ceiling and box fans is they do not actually lower the temperature in your house. (A whole house fan will lower the temp in your home, however the purchase and instal will set you back a few hundred dollars. )
Close Your Blinds/Install Blackout Drapes
Good quality blinds or blackout drapes can help maintain even temperatures throughout the seasons. Keeping southern and western facing window blinds and drapes closed will reduce the summer radiation heat transfer. North facing window blinds or curtains can be left open to admit more lighting without producing as much heat gain or loss.
Wash Laundry Strategically
Wash and dry only full loads of clothes, using only cold water to do your washing. Turn off the heat-dry option on your dishwasher and open the door after the cycle completes to allow your dishes to air dry. Consider turning down the temperature on your water heater. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating can account for 14 to 25% of your total energy use. Turning your heater down to the warm setting of 120°F will likely save you a few bucks every month.
If You Aren’t Using It, Unplug It
All electronics generate heat, even when they are switched off. Unplug all electronics when not in use. Shut your computers, monitors and printers off at night. Not only will you save on your energy bill, but they will not generate any heat and can help reduce summer cooling costs.
Balancing comfort and cost can be a challenging task for any homeowner in California. With rising temperatures, energy costs, and regulations it can easily become overwhelming. Luckily, there are thousands of resources with information on how to cut usage and save money each month. It’s important to learn about your specific systems so you can fully maximize their efficiency. If you would like to learn more about Grizzly HERS Testing and how our services can help lower your monthly energy bill, please browse our site, give us a call or fill out our online form today!