Everyone seems interested in reducing their home energy costs nowadays, but without a simple plan to follow you could still be throwing money away this time next year. Heating and cooling normally account for the largest energy use in most American homes, so boosting the thermal efficiency of your home is a good place to start. Here are some easy ways to boost thermal efficiency in your home.
Programmable Thermostats - Adding a programmable thermostat to your home is relatively inexpensive, but can save you significantly on your energy costs. This little device allows you to easily reduce your heating or cooling costs when you are away from home working, or asleep at night. For example, you can have it automatically heat or cool less at these times when no one is home, since its not necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature all day while you are away. Prior to your return, your system will automatically come on and return your home to a comfortable temperature.
Energy Efficient Lighting - Replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs is another inexpensive step that you can take that can lower your home energy use. The new compact fluorescent bulbs use less energy, last longer and put out more light per wattage. This means you can normally cut the wattage of the bulbs without sacrificing the amount of light that is output. Using lower wattage light bulbs translates into using less power.
Insulating Your Home - When it comes to insulation it is always better to have more than you need than not enough. A well insulated home will help keep hot or cold air from entering your home, and keep your interior temperature comfortable. This stretches your heating or cooling dollars, as your system does not have to work as hard or long to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. There are many types of insulation and each has their pros and cons. It really does not matter what type you use, as long as you have enough and it is well fitted without any gaps. Find out what is recommended for your area and then add a little more.
Seal Gaps Around Windows and Doors - While it is great to add insulation in your attic and walls, you don't want to have gaps around your windows and doors. This will allow your comfortable inside air to escape outdoors or allow in too much outdoor air. Particularly when it is very hot or cold outdoors, this will force your heating and cooling system to work much harder and drive up your energy costs. The good news is that it takes very little time or money to replace damaged or missing weather stripping around your doors, or to caulk around windows if there are any cracks or gaps.
Sensors For Outdoor Lights - If you leave porch lights or other lights on all night, then you may want to consider replacing some of these lights with sensor lights. Many outdoor lights now include motion sensors or other settings that provide you with more options and flexibility. This way you can still have outdoor lighting when needed and the security that it provides, without the cost of running lights all night long.
There are dozens of things that you can do that will make your home more energy efficient. Hopefully, the few tips listed here have given you some ideas. Any one of these steps can be done quickly and without spending much money, but the energy savings can be very real. Don't worry about attacking these all at once, but do get started. An energy efficient home is more comfortable, and costs less to operate, and you can take some of the hard earned money you save and start using it for things that you enjoy.