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5 Ways to Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency
by Isabella Rossellini on Dec 10, 2014
Are you wondering how to make your home energy efficient? Becoming more efficient can have a vast impact on your electricity bill and make it much easier for you to maintain your home for a lower monthly investment.
While there are many options for making your home efficient, five stand out as both practical and inexpensive.
1) Improve Your Home’s Insulation
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, insulation can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills. Insulation not only serves to keep your home warmer during winter months, but also makes it cooler in the summer. When installing insulation, it is a good idea to focus on parts of your structure where heat is likely to be lost, such as the attic.
Older homes may be lacking in proper insulation -- or the insulation used may be inferior to modern styles. Mineral wood, cellulose and other materials are available to suit your needs. Since you may need a great deal of insulation, be sure to balance issues of cost, insulation value and environmental rating when you are considering your options.
2) Get Your Windows Treated
The Natural Resources Defense Council has stated that about a third of all heat loss in a home takes place through the windows. Excessive heat loss through windows may be remedied with two main methods: Window glazing treatments on your existing windows or replacement of the windows themselves. Glazing is faster and less expensive, but may be less efficient as well.
Most windows in older homes are single-pane and do not have the same insulation power as those with two or three panes of glass. You can combine these modern windows with glazing treatments for even more energy efficiency. Adding stylish curtains, blinds or drapes will also help reduce your overall heat loss and protect you from unnecessary energy expenses.
3) Get a New Home Radiator With Greater Energy Efficiency
If you are living in a colder climate, you probably spend a significant amount of money running your home radiator each year. In fact, the radiator is one of the biggest contributors to the overall energy bill in most homes. Getting a new radiator from a reputable supplier is a good idea that can save you a great deal of money over time.
It is important to work with experts when you are looking for a new radiator or other efficient appliance. They can provide you with specific details on the total cost of ownership for your radiator and approximately how long you will need to own it in order to recoup your investment. Likewise, they can inform you of any maintenance needs that will keep it working smoothly.
4) Use Efficient Light Fixtures Throughout the Home
Traditional incandescent light fixtures are being phased out all throughout the world today. That’s because incandescent bulbs generate significant amounts of heat and use much more electricity on average than the more innovative light sources available now. CFL, LED and other efficient bulbs are widely available to replace your older bulbs.
Since there is an ever-growing range of bulbs and fixtures to choose from, be sure the ones you use will be as efficient as possible while still meeting your energy needs. You may wish to put certain fixtures, such as ceiling fan lights, on a dimmer switch so you can reduce overall power use. Putting lights on a timer can help ensure that rooms do not remain lit when empty.
Invest in an Efficient Water Heater for Your Bath
In the past, many homes have included water heaters that run continuously. These heaters make certain that hot water is available very quickly when it is time to take a shower or bath -- at the cost of a large amount of electricity. Efficient heaters may take slightly longer to “warm up,” but they save energy and money.
In some areas, it is possible to purchase a hybrid water heater that is partially powered by a home solar collector. This reduces the energy use from the grid and provides a more ample flow of near-immediate warm water. Homeowners in some communities can benefit from tax incentives for making use of residential solar energy, too.
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