Energy Savings Tips for Homeowners to Reduce Their Heating and Cooling Costs
August 28, 2020
If you’re seeing your home energy costs rise in the summer and winter months, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration, more than 50% of home energy consumption in the U.S. is used for heating and air conditioning. For homeowners like you, that means small improvements to the thermal efficiency of your home can have a big impact on your energy use. They can also dramatically reduce your monthly energy bill. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment, these home improvements will also help reduce energy waste from poor home insulation.
Where your home is losing the most energy
According to Energy STAR, the most common places in a home for air leaks, where energy used for heating or cooling is being wasted, are crawl spaces, dryer vents, outdoor faucets, sill plates, stove vents, heating and cooling ducts, attic hatches, recessed light fixtures, plumbing vent stacks, dropped soffits, and chimney sill and top plates. In addition, old windows and doors, windows and doors without proper insulation, plumbing penetrations made through floors and ceilings, fireplace dampers, attic access hatches, the tops of partition walls, and fan installations can also cause air leaks in a home.
Energy efficiency is also affected by outside factors that you may or may not control, including the design of your home, where it is located, and what building materials were used. Improving your own home maintenance, ensuring its foundation is secure and has not settled over time, and using energy-efficient insulation and building materials can also make a big difference. If you live in an area with high heating and cooling costs due to weather conditions, adding exterior enhancements – like a shady tree – can help too.
Identifying air leaks in your own home
Each home is unique and has its own distinct insulation issues, but there are commonalities as well. Think about walking around your own home. If you feel a draft of cold or warm air near windows or doors, you are probably losing heating and cooling energy. In addition, if there is one room of your home that’s always hotter or colder – think of basements, attics, and crawl spaces as well – you are probably not using your heating and cooling system efficiently.
Improving home energy efficiency for every season
To start reducing your heating and cooling bills today, consider the energy efficiency of your home appliances. For example, you can save up to 15% by installing an EnergyStar gas furnace. In addition, new green-home technologies like programmable thermostats can save 10% or more. Finally, for even larger energy savings, consider sealing air leaks in floors, vents, electrical outlets, doors, and windows. A professional home renovation team can help you install enhanced stripping, caulk, or foam to increase energy savings up to 30%.
Depending on the season, you may want to prioritize different areas of the home for improvement. Areas that need professional insulation all year round include attics and crawl spaces. Don’t forget those out-of-the-way areas. You can save 20% in home energy use and reduce monthly bills with crawl space insulation and encapsulation as well.
Saving money with home energy efficiency upgrades
Not only does improving your home’s thermal performance make your living space more comfortable – from cozier spaces in winter to cooler rooms in the spring and summer – it also saves you money in heating and cooling costs. Small updates to your home’s energy efficiency can reduce your electrical costs up to 30%, saving you $600 or more in utility bills each year.
In addition, some areas of the country offer tax credits for green home additions. For example, in 2019, homeowners nationwide could claim a 10% tax credit for insulation upgrades. Whether this federal credit, which has been extended for a few years already, becomes available in 2020 or not, there’s still money to be saved in improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Finally, with 40% of U.S. energy consumption coming from electricity use across the country, one major result of improving your home’s insulation is reducing your own carbon footprint. Reducing air leaks and installing energy-efficient appliances will help you improve your own impact on the environment. Just upgrading old appliances to more efficient ones will help you improve performance and lower electricity use. By conducting regular maintenance each year, you can keep that efficiency going for years to come.
To start improving your home’s energy use today, before the next heatwave or cold snap, contact your local crawl space, foundation, and basement waterproofing professionals for a free inspection and estimate.