Whether you’re motivated by a desire to be kinder to the environment or by fear of high utility bills, you may be thinking about how to make your home more energy efficient. When considering home improvements like this, people are often nervous that really impactful upgrades will be too expensive. In reality, however, you can do a number of things to increase your home’s energy efficiency while spending very little.
- Get a programmable thermostat. This is one of the most important changes you can make that will have an immediate and surprisingly effective impact on your utility bills. Think through how you live–when you are home and when you are away, whether you like to sleep cold or warm, etc.–and program the thermostat accordingly.
For example, in the summer you might feel comfortable at 72 degrees while you are home and awake, want to sleep cooler at 70 degrees at night, and crank it up to 78 degrees when you are out of the house. A programmable thermostat makes those changes automatically. Going away for the weekend? Turn it up to your away temp, then hit HOLD to have it stay at a higher temperature while you’re gone.
Think this type of fix is expensive? You’d be surprised at the functionality and reliability you can get for a minimal financial outlay. While the fancier (and gorgeous) Nest thermostat will run you around $250, you can get a really excellent, perfectly functional Honeywell model for $25 that is as reliable and long-lasting as they come.
- Install low-flow showerheads. I know, I know, you love the environment but you really love the water pressure in your current shower. Don’t worry! You don’t have to give up a thing with some of the great low-flow showerheads on the market. There are highly rated high efficiency showerheads on the market that will give you an even better shower and water pressure than your current standard showerhead. And these come in a variety of styles and, again, incredibly low prices. They’re easy to install and can save you hundreds of dollars each year on your utility bill.
- Unplug unused chargers, appliances, etc. No, you don’t have to go overboard here, but you will find that unplugging chargers and other appliances that you’re not currently using can save you up to 10% on your electric bill. Use the toaster once or twice a week? Unplug it. Coffeemaker once a day? That’s an easy one to unplug. Lamp, TV, or other appliance in a seldom used guest room? Unplug those as well until it’s time to have people visit. And don’t forget big energy drains. Have a second fridge or freezer in the basement for holidays or occasional use? Keep it unplugged until a day or two before you plan to fill it.
- Seal your doors and windows. Check for gaps or cracks around door and window frames and seal them up to keep from experiencing air leaks that waste your heating and air conditioning. A little silicone caulk may be all you need to better insulate these areas. For doors in particular, you may be able to feel outside air coming in under the door. Add a layer of weatherstripping or even a small and inexpensive door draft stopper to help seal that doorway.
- Trade your desktop for a laptop. Okay, this isn’t a cheap fix, though many of the newer laptops are quite inexpensive. But if you have a home office and still use a desktop computer, switching to a laptop could save you 80% on energy use over a traditional desk setup. It’s worth thinking about if you are in the market for a new computer anyway. Have an old desktop just sitting around for occasional use? Make sure you’re not leaving it plugged in between logins.
Looking for a new home with all of the latest green features? Are you a DIYer who would love the opportunity to customize a fixer-upper with an emphasis on efficiency? Whatever your goal, your Eng Garcia Grant real estate agent is here to help make your vision a reality. Sign in at the website and let us know some specifics so that we can begin creating a targeted search that really checks off all of the boxes for you.