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15 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

By Jarrod Heil

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There are so many easy ways to make your home more energy efficient that we should be wondering why there are homeowners out there spending unnecessary money on their monthly energy bills.

You can start your journey to home energy efficiency by focusing on breaking a few habits and becoming more conscious about things like your water and power usage. Chances are good there are a few areas in your life where you could cut back

Personally, I used to use too much water when I brushed my teeth. Scientists say it takes 21 days to break a habit — and breaking that habit took every second of those 21 days.

You can become more energy efficient by taking these 15 tips about how to increase energy efficiency and putting them into action! While some are free and most are cheap, some upgrades do require a sizable investment and a bit of research.

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Switching to a programmable is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase home energy efficiency. Just by programming your thermostat to increase or decrease by about 10 degrees while you’re at work can save you up to 10% per year on heating and cooling bills.

  • Estimated time: About 30 minutes
  • Estimated cost: About $35

2. Add Extra Insulation in Attic

Adding excess insulation in your attic may sound like a tall task to undertake, but it’s fairly easy if your attic isn’t too cluttered and doesn’t have drywall installed. This helps to seal leaks that may be drafting air in from the exterior of your home.

While it’s among the most costly energy-efficient home upgrades, it helps to save a lot of money by cutting down on your heating and cooling bills.

  • Estimated time: About 12 hours
  • Estimated cost: About $500

3. Replace Old Appliances

Old appliances are filled with outdated technology and years of use, which causes efficient to significantly decrease over time.

Energy-efficient appliances, especially those Energy star, are equipped with newer and better technology that can help to save money with each load of laundry, stack of dishes or opening of the refrigerator doors.

  • Estimated time: Research varies by appliance
  • Estimated cost: Varies by appliance

4. Install New Windows and Doors (Or Re-Seal)

Have you had those windows and doors installed for many years? If so, it may be time to replace them. They could be letting in unnecessary hot or cool air in every season that causes you to adjust the thermostat more than usual.

If new windows and doors aren’t within the budget, you can always seal the old ones to make sure that outside air stays outside and interior air stays inside.

Just use a little caulk around the base, top and sides of each. You can also install jammers on the bottom that block air from entering or escaping.

  • Estimated time: About 4 hours to install new or 30 minutes to re-seal
  • Estimated cost: Varies by installation and about $20 to re-seal

5. Install More Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are more than just home decoration pieces. They’re actually an adamant form of home energy efficiency. They help to circulate interior air in the summer and heat in the winter, which means your thermostat doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature.

  • Estimated time: About 1 hour per fan
  • Estimated cost: About $100 per fan

6. Install Low-Flow Plumbing

Replacing your showerhead, faucets and toilets with low-flow alternatives can help you to save a boatload of money each year on your water bill. Plus, using less water helps the environment, so you’re saving money while taking care of Mother Earth.

Adding aerators to each faucet can substantially cut down on your home’s water usage by decreasing water output from 2.5 gallons per minute to 0.5 gallons per minute.

That’s a steep decrease, especially if you’re one of those people who runs the faucet the entire time you’re brushing your teeth.

  • Estimated time: About 
  • Estimated cost: About 

7. Switch to LED or CFL Lighting

While the days of old-school light bulbs have all but passed us by, there are still light fixtures in our homes that haven’t been updated to accommodate LED or CFL (compact fluorescent lamps).

Both types of bulbs last longer than conventional bulbs and are far more energy efficient than their old-school counterpart.

  • Estimated time: About 2 minutes per bulb
  • Estimated cost: About $2 per bulb

8. Cut down Unnecessary Water Usage

This point kind of goes back to the low-flow plumbing recommendation. If you’re one of those people who leaves the faucet on while you brush your teeth, stop. It’s a complete waste of water. Think twice about thawing the dinner meat under a running faucet as well.

Try to remember to put frozen meat in the fridge the night before to thaw it. If you forget to do that, put it in a bowl and fill it with cold water. Wait 30 minutes, empty the bowl, flip the meat, fill it again and wait another 30 minutes. It should be adequately thawed in about an hour.

If you have a sprinkler system or water your lawn on your own, try to water it at night after the sun has gone down. That way the sun won’t have a chance to evaporate any water and it’ll have time to seep into the soil overnight.

  • Estimated time: About 21 days to break the old habit
  • Estimated cost: FREE!

9. Unplug Chargers

Chargers that aren’t being used may not be powering your personal electronics, but they’re still sucking power from your home. Unplugging them will save you some money and make them last longer.

The easiest way to do this is to get a power strip for all chargers and flip it off when you’re finished. That way you don’t have to constantly unplug and replug your chargers.

  • Estimated time: About 10 seconds
  • Estimated cost: FREE!

10. Wash on Cold

It takes quite a bit of energy to heat water. So, if you do a lot of laundry and use hot water, you’re actually using way more energy than someone who does the same amount of laundry on cold.

Try switching everything to cold water and, for the things that absolutely need warmer water, use warm instead of hot. Do this for two months and check on that electric bill. You’ll definitely see a dip!

  • Estimated time: About 21 days to break the old habit
  • Estimated cost: FREE!

11. Tune up Your HVAC

You should be getting an annual HVAC tune-up anyway. But, if you’re not, getting a tune-up on your home’s heating and cooling system will root out any potential problems before they become bigger issues.

It could also extend the life of the system, which can cost a pretty penny to replace.

  • Estimated time: About 2 hours
  • Estimated cost: About $150

12. Switch to Laptops

Still have old desktop computers in your home that you only use occasionally. You may want to consider donating, selling or tossing them out. Laptops are far more energy efficient for your home, running on less electricity and energy. Plus, they don’t have to be plugged into your electric outlets 24/7.

  • Estimated time: Varies by research
  • Estimated cost: Varies by make and model

13. Get a Chimney Draft Stopper

If your home has a chimney, you may be bummed to find out the damper doesn’t block all air from entering or leaving through the chimney. But that’s what they make draft stoppers for — and they’re pretty cheap, too.

  • Estimated time: About 20 minutes
  • Estimated cost: About $50

14. Drain Water Heater Sediment

You’ll want to drain the sediment from your water heater each year, and it’s pretty easy to do. This ensures the water heater is running at full capacity and that no sediments are floating around in the tank and potentially destroying your tank.

  • Estimated time: About 1 hour
  • Estimated cost: FREE!

15. Replace Washing Machine Hoses

The rubber hoses running from your washing machine to the wall don’t last forever. Check the hoses every few months to make sure they haven’t sustained any cracks, bulges or small holes. If they’re looking good, it’s still important to remember they should be replaced every three or four years to prevent further damage from occurring.

  • Estimated time: About 15 minutes
  • Estimated cost: About $15

If you set your mind to it, all of these tasks can be completed in a single weekend and you could be on your way to a more energy-efficient lifestyle in no time!

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