There are lots of ways to make your home more energy efficient - from big ticket items like installing solar panels to simpler improvements like using low flow showerheads. Here are 8 suggestions.
1. Fill Attic with Insulation
If your attic is unused for storage, take advantage of that and fill it with extra insulation. This will keep your warm air from escaping in the winter and help keep the hot air out in the summer.
2. Turn Water Heater Down
Turn your water heater down to the more warm setting instead of super hot. When it's turned up high there is a risk for scalding, and you use a lot more energy keeping it that hot.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will allow you to set how and when you want your furnace and air conditioner to run. You can keep the settings low when you will be away from the home and have them kick on as you return. There are even ones now that you can control with an app from your smart phone!
4. Keep Furnace Tuned Up and Filters Changed
Your furnace runs most efficiently when tuned up and clean. Change your filters as indicated by the manufacturer and get it tuned up once every couple of years.
5. Switch to LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs have come down a lot in price recently. And they use a lot less energy to run. They also have a very long life span. We switched out the bulbs in our house and our power bill went down about $10 a month!
6. Plant Shade Trees
If you have a side of your home that gets hammered by the sun, plant some shade trees there. They are beautiful, great for the environment, and they really do help keep your house cooler when the sun is beating down.
7. Replace Old Windows
If you've got old single pane or aluminum framed windows, consider upgrading to double or triple paned vinyl windows. They help protect your home from the elements and are easier to maintain.
8. Take Advantage of Tax Incentives & Rebates
The federal government and many state governments offer tax incentives to residents who upgrade the energy efficiency in their homes. Ask your tax accountant how you could take advantage of these programs. Often you can get rebates from local power and gas companies for the upgrades as well.