Energy efficiency is more accessible and more affordable than ever before. Not only that, but most of the steps needed to improve your home’s efficiency can be done on a DIY basis. In fact, a lot of the initial work isn’t much work at all! In this article, we’ll take a step by step look at it and help you learn how to make your home as efficient as possible.
The very first step you need to take is to determine the amount of your utility bills dedicated to the different areas in your home. As one DIY expert said, “Based on national averages from the U.S. Department of Energy, 44 percent of utility bills resulting from energy usage is heating and cooling the home, 33 percent is attributed to lighting, cooking and other appliances, 14 percent is due to water heating, and 9 percent is energy used by the refrigerator alone.”
And how do you get an idea of the percentages for your home? You contact your utility company and ask them to do an energy audit. Most will do it entirely free or a small charge, but you can also find professional contractors who will do it for you. They look at the many systems in the home and how their performance affects your utility bill. The audit often involves cameras, blowers, thermometers and other gear to find air leaks, energy waste and so much more.
The audit will also consider any ductwork. This is a big area for inefficiency since the ducts can often leak heated or cooled air and cause you to waste energy. If the audit determines there are problems, you’ll probably need to hire an expert to seal the seams and prevent this waste. Your audit can also reveal whether you can have a more efficient home by merely closing off vents as this can typically reduce heating/cooling costs by up to 20%.
Eliminate the Wasters
You can also start to look at your appliances and find those that could be wasting a lot of energy. For example, older ovens, washers and dryers, stoves and refrigerators, dishwashers, and air conditioners can gobble up electricity. Take a look at each of them and be sure they have the Energy Star label. They are guaranteed to reduce expenses and can save enormous sums as well as a lot of energy.
Remember, too that a lot of energy can be wasted by what are known as “vampires”. Everything from chargers for cell phones to certain household appliances like clocks, TVs, and other electronics draw electricity when they are not in use. The good news is that there are now many “smarter” home devices that can learn your habits and even begin turning various items on or off according to your needs. The whole IoT or Internet of Things is becoming a significant way to save on energy costs, and investing in a system is a brilliant step towards cutting energy consumption. DIY enthusiasts can turn to sites like Lowes to find many of the best devices, low energy light bulbs, efficient appliances and other tools for saving on energy.