With cold weather around the corner, fall is a great time to evaluate your home’s energy usage to see how you can ensure optimal efficiency. To understand your home’s energy efficiency, start with a home energy audit. This is something you can do on your own or hire a certified energy auditor to perform. This way, you can make appropriate changes to increase efficiency with a clearer understanding of where and how your home is losing energy. Not sure where to start? Here are a few improvements you can make at home to prepare for this coming winter.
One of the biggest areas of heat loss is through windows and doors. Reducing or eliminating these drafts and leaks will keep the heat in and cold air out, providing a more comfortable and energy-efficient living space. To reduce energy loss through existing windows, you can seal drafts using a variety of methods. To improve the efficiency of your windows, you can add weatherstripping to block drafts and use heavy-weight curtains to better insulate your home. Alternatively, you may consider replacing your windows altogether.
Some homeowners have found installing solar control film on windows to be beneficial as well. Installing a storm door is another great way to add an additional barrier between your home and the exterior elements. While you have several options, selecting the appropriate ways to improve efficiency around your windows and doors will require careful consideration and possibly personalized recommendations from a professional.
Incorporate Smart Technology
In today’s technology age, it should be no surprise that there are devices and gadgets that can help increase your home’s energy efficiency. Smart technology has taken the world by storm, even infiltrating the home energy space. For example, you can link your HVAC system with a compatible smart thermostat to save both money and energy by detecting home patterns and away activity to better regulate the temperature in your home.
Smart lighting can save you money, too. By programming lights to be on or off at certain times of the day or using motion-sensor lighting, you can reduce your household’s energy consumption. It’s not just about how you use lighting, though. Even the type of bulb you use can make a difference. If you aren’t already, consider investing in LED bulbs for even more efficiency.
Plan For Improvements
As mentioned above, new windows, doors, or HVAC upgrades may be necessary to make your home more energy efficient. With this in mind, you will need to determine if the work is something you’re capable of doing yourself or if hiring a contractor would be more appropriate. You may think that such an undertaking is doable on your own, but it’s important to be realistic about how much time and energy you can contribute. These tasks are not ones you want to go about haphazardly. Doing so may result in unnecessary costs, or even needing to hire a professional to redo or undo your work.
Beyond time and energy, with any home upgrade, there comes a cost. Careful planning will help you determine a realistic budget, and then figure out how to account for the expense. It may be wise to use cash upfront for smaller upgrades, such as caulking leaky windows or adding insulating window treatments. However, with more involved projects, financing might be more appropriate. Consider researching options around using a personal loan or a personal line of credit. There are also options for using a home equity line of credit or a credit card. With some research and analysis, you can determine which avenue is best suited for your financial situation depending on the scope of your project.
These small, and sometimes big, changes can provide long-term value and savings on your home energy bills. When you learn how much you can save on your home energy bills, figuring out what changes to make will be a no-brainer. Taking into account how you can reduce energy loss will help create a comfortable home for many winters to come!