Blast your A/C in the summer and crank up the heat in the winter? Save on your electricity bill (while staying comfortable) with these energy-saving home repairs.
Tip #1: It’s all in the insulation.
Almost 50% of your energy bill comes from heating and cooling your home. Keep your air conditioning and heating bills down by making sure none of that energy is wasted. One way to do that is to upgrade your attic insulation. But a quicker insulation fix is to caulk your windows (or install dual-pane windows) to prevent temperature leaks. Check out your window treatments too — insulated cellular shades, blinds, window quilts and window films are all great ways to save energy.
Tip #2: Get energy efficient appliances.
The next biggest energy costs in your house often come from heating water and running your washer and dryer. When it’s time to buy new appliances, look for units with an Energy Star sticker on them. The average Energy Star-qualified fridge uses 15% less electricity than other models on the market today — and fridges with the freezer mounted on top (instead of the bottom or the side) are even better. Plus, Energy Star-approved washing machines and clothes dryers use 20-25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional appliances.
Tip #3: Upgrade your lighting.
The incandescent bulbs on sale today are distant cousins of the light bulbs you grew up with. Those bulbs didn’t just look warm — they would actually burn your fingers if you touched them by accident. That’s because the electricity they used didn’t just generate light, it made a lot of (unnecessary) heat. Today, you can get incandescent bulbs that actually use halogen, so you get the same warm glow without the wasted heat. But while halogen and compact fluorescents (CFLs) are better than yesterday’s bulbs, LED bulbs are today’s standard for energy efficiency. A professional electrician can help you assess and upgrade your lighting — as well as double-check for any faulty wiring that may add more unnecessary costs to your electricity bill.
Tip #4: Hire an HVAC professional.
Saving electricity doesn’t mean you turn off the heater while shivering under three sweaters. You can still use your HVAC unit — just make sure that it’s working efficiently. Schedule regular maintenance with an HVAC pro. Get the air filters changed and your air ducts checked. An HVAC pro can also install a programmable thermostat that will keep your house as warm or as cool as you like it, but ease up on the energy use while you’re away from home or in rooms you don’t spend as much time in.
Tip #5: Don’t just focus on appliances, water and central air.
The easiest way to save electricity is not to need as much of it. If you’re in the mood to invest in some home upgrades, look for improvements that help with temperature control and add natural lighting to your house. If you have access to ceilings in rooms you spend a lot of time in during the day — like kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms — consider adding a skylight. Not only is it a great way to make a small room feel bigger, it also means you don’t need to turn on the lights in the first place. For a bigger impact, front landscaping updates can add curb appeal that improve your home value, while also helping you spend less on central air. A professional landscaper can help plant trees, shrubs and vines to shield your house from wind or direct sunlight.
Tip #6: Get a home energy audit.
What works best for one home might not work for another. All of these home repair tips really depend on your location, the construction of your home and more. A home energy auditor can paint you a more complete picture of your energy usage. They’ll check for air leaks, examine your attic insulation and inspect your lighting and more.