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May 31, 2016
High heating bills in the winter and high cooling bills in the summer can really add up. Most homeowners recognize that making their homes more energy efficient is the cheapest and easiest way to lower monthly costs and add value to their home. In the Denver area, intense winter seasons and warm summer months make energy efficiency particularly important. So, what are some things that homeowners can do to increase energy efficiency at little or no cost? Here are seven of the best ways:
Most of these strategies simply involve changing bad habits. Your mother probably mentioned these when you were growing up.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
This seems obvious. But, most of us could do better in this area. Make sure to open exterior doors only as long as it takes you to get through them, including the garage. This minimizes the amount of outside air that enters your home. This helps keep the workload down for your heating or cooling system.
Turn it Off
This is another area where bad habits should be corrected. Turn off lights, TVs, ceiling fans, etc., in rooms that are empty. These things just don’t need to be on if nobody is using them. Make it a habit to turn everything off when you leave a room. As this becomes second-nature to you, you will notice a difference on your utility bills.
Close the Damper
For homes that have a fireplace, it is very helpful to close the damper when you’re not using it. Your chimney is a large duct that allows outside air into your home. This is just like leaving your front door open. Closing the fireplace damper is a great way to help maintain the temperature inside of your home.
These strategies can be used if your home has these features already, or you can purchase the necessary items at a reasonable cost.
Use the Drapes
In addition to keeping your windows closed, use the drapes or blinds. Keeping your window coverings closed creates an additional thermal barrier to keep heat and cold at bay. If you are missing any drapes or curtains on the windows in your home, they can be purchased and installed for a modest expense. Mini-blinds are an affordable option and are very easy for most people to install.
Use Ceiling Fans
Sometimes it just isn’t necessary to run your air conditioning. Simply getting the air inside your home moving can have a nice cooling effect. Rather than turning on the A/C, turn on your ceiling fans. For homeowners without ceiling fans, it’s probably worth it to install them in the rooms you use the most, like the living room and the bedrooms. Ceiling fans are surprisingly affordable and relatively easy to install into an existing light fixture. If you’re not very handy, an electrician can install the fan for you in less than an hour.
These strategies can be employed with very modest expenditures to help you save energy over time.
Seal Windows and Doors
The most common areas for outside air to enter a home are around windows and doors. To keep your home leak-free, take the time to caulk around windows and doors. Air leaks usually occur where the trim meets the side of the house. It is also a great idea to install weatherstripping on the bottoms of exterior doors to help seal it up. Caulking and weatherstripping are available at any hardware or home improvement store, and can be easily installed by the homeowner. Making your home airtight is the best way to improve energy efficiency.
Change Your Filter
Replace your air intake filter on your HVAC system regularly. It is recommended that you change your filter twice a year, in the spring and fall. Having proper airflow is critical for efficient operation of your HVAC system. A clogged or blocked air filter makes your furnace work much harder, and can significantly add to energy costs. Disposable air filters are surprisingly affordable and easy to find. Even better, they are extremely easy to change. You can spend more on a cleanable filter, but cleaning them is a messy job. Change your filter regularly to maximize the energy efficiency of your HVAC system.
Making your home more energy efficient is a great way to save money and resources. These activities are easy and cheap methods to save you some money in the long run. If you have any questions about making your home more energy efficient, have an energy audit performed on your home to identify any problem areas.
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