5 Simple Home Improvement Projects that Lower Utility Bills
Each year, Americans let hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling fly out the window, and quite literally. However unintentional it may be, most homes are not operating at a high-efficiency level. Whether it be due to outdated appliances and entryways, or improperly insulated outer walls an inefficient home is just a wasteful home. Finding ways to reduce your wasted energy costs can lead to lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
Let’s take a look at some ways to achieve this.
1. Programmable Thermostat
One simple way to lower your utility bills is to install a programmable thermostat. A basic programmable thermostat can be installed in about an hour and comes with preset temperature settings for different times of the day. Some of the latest models offer greater control, easy programming, sophisticated displays, and control via Bluetooth or smartphone app. They can offer separate programs for each day of the week, and can even alert you if service is required.
These programmable thermostats can be very useful for people who work long hours during the day and may not need their heating or cooling running while they are gone. Your smart thermostat can lower the temperature as you leave and keep it down until an hour or two before you get home. This reduces energy consumption, and thereby reduces your bill. Why run the heat if you are not there to enjoy it?
2. Switching to Energy Efficient Appliances
Image source: energystar.gov
If you have extra cash to invest in new energy efficient appliances, you should do so. The old school appliances that you use every day can rack up your home’s gas and electric usage. If the appliances are old, they may be in need of maintenance, and even require outdated parts that are no longer available. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars on energy and heating costs by investing in newer, more energy efficient appliances.
Do not attempt to make a complete overhaul of all appliances at once as this will rack up a huge bill. Perhaps start with a washer if your water bill is too high or a dryer if your heating bill is too high. Even one change can help kick start your savings.
3. Replacing your Windows
A sneaky theft of your precious heating is your windows. Windows that are older than 10 years old are not providing your home with the protection and heat retention it needs. This is because older windows are usually made from a single-paned design. In recent years the quality and craftsmanship of windows have greatly improved, as is also the case with their functionality and energy efficiency.
The new windows available on the market these days can come in double and even triple paned designs. This adds more sheets of glass in between you and the outside air you are trying to avoid. Some newer windows also feature trapped argon in between the glass panes which again adds more protection from you and the elements of nature. If you are looking into replacement windows think about your geographical location to decide what design structure will work best for saving you money.
4. Make Your Water Heater More Efficient
For many water heaters, heat can be escaping right out the sides of the water heater before the water even gets to you. If it’s an old heater, chances are it’s not as well insulated as it could be. Most hardware stores sell insulating sleeves for water heaters for around $20-$30.Likewise, make sure the pipes leading from your heater to the wall are insulated. If they’re not, simple pipe insulation, again available at most hardware stores, should do the trick.
If you want to go a step further with lowering your heating costs you can turn down your Water Heater. If your water heater is set at 140 degrees or above,chances are that you can get away with only setting it at 120. Having your water heater up too high can make it work overtime for little to no actual benefit. This is because even if your water can go that high in temperature,you aren’t actually going to use water that hot for anything.
Insulating your home may seem like a very daunting task. If you are an owner of an older home, your house most likely needs more insulation than it was originally built with. Installing new insulation in your house most times requires getting into the wall and putting new fiberglass or spray insulation in, then installing new drywall.
You do not have to rip open all of your walls to help insulate your home. Perhaps insulating your attic is a better option for you. Calling in the professionals to do a quick spray insulation job of the attic can take as little as a day, and can provide huge savings over time. It is estimated that 25% of heat wasted floats out the roof. Dropping a quarter of your wasted energy is sure to lower your heating bills.
Go Get Started!
Now that you have some ideas on home improvements you can do to save you some money on your utilities, start putting some of them to the test. Before you know it you will have an efficient home that is running smoothly, and costing you less money.