When you hear or see the words “energy efficient”, what comes to mind? Does the phrase conjure images of affixing solar panels to your roof or devoting a quarter of your backyard to composting? Making your home more energy efficient does not necessarily require you to spend a lot of money for costly changes. In fact, many changes can easily be folded into your current budget at little to no additional cost and without causing a single discernible hitch in the regular operations of your home. Below are just a few examples of how you can make your home more energy efficient.
1. Watch your water use!
You’d be shocked at how much water you can save just by turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or wash your face. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average consumer can expect to see a savings of about $170 a year through small changes just like that. Other ways you can save water can be switching to showers in lieu of baths and saving laundry loads until you have a full load to wash (half-loads use the same amount of water as a full-load but need performed twice as often). Additionally, opting to wash clothes with cool or cold water instead of warm or hot as often as possible will save energy overall.
2. Do you feel a draft? Seal it up!
Drafts during the extreme heat of summer or the severe cold of winter can make your house’s AC or heating work overtime, respectively. Trying to heat or cool a house that isn’t sealed properly is not just frustrating, but it can send your energy bills skyrocketing. Assess your home. Are the windows not sealed tightly? Perhaps the doorways aren’t closing as flush as they should be. A little bit of weatherstripping is fairly inexpensive and, when placed over gaps in windows or door frames, can help to keep your energy costs and needs low. Once your heating and cooling systems are no longer working overtime keeping your house at optimal temperature, you may see the life of these appliances extend, too.
3. Natural light is the best light.
Not only is it beautiful, but natural light is inexpensive; literally, it’s FREE! If you’re lucky enough to have a house that offers a decent amount of natural light, take advantage of it. Keep the lights off as much as possible during the day, open the blinds, and let the sunshine in.
4. Switch to energy efficient appliances.
Like the name suggests, switching to energy efficient appliances will help you reduce the energy your home uses. Energy Star is the designation given to products that have met or exceeded the standard of regular appliances while having less impact on your energy use and costs. Products that are considered Energy Star use 10-50% less energy than their counterparts. That doesn’t mean you must go out and purchase energy efficient products now, but as the larger appliances in your home -like the dishwasher or the refrigerator- require replacement, look into replacing them with a lower energy alternative.
5. Why not ask an expert?
If you want to make your house as energy efficient as possible, ask a professional. Many energy providers throughout the US offer audits through public utilities or energy conversation departments at little to no cost to you. With an energy audit, a specialist will come to your property and observe how energy is consumed currently and make suggestions on how you can improve your home’s energy use.
Making your home more energy efficient can be little steps or major changes, depending on what you desire as the homeowner. At Southern Trust Mortgage, we offer an Energy Efficient Mortgage program, which can be used to finance energy efficient home improvements. If this or another type of mortgage interests you, contact us today.