If you’ve ever moved into a new home, you’ve definitely experienced a moment where all you can think about are the endless ways you’re going to decorate your place. You probably thought about different décor styles, asking yourself, “Should I go with modern or vintage rustic décor?” That’s obviously an important decision to make, but you also should’ve asked yourself, “How can I make my home energy efficient?”
You see, by making your home energy efficient, you’ll be able to decorate your home even that much more. Conducting a home energy efficiency audit – and making any necessary changes – can save you anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill.
Think about that for a second. You can possibly save 30 percent on your bill. You know what that means? Rather than settling for a 65-inch TV, you’ll have enough saved up for a home-theater.
A couple DIY tips that’ll make your house more energy efficient
Before we explain some simple DIY tips that’ll improve your home’s energy efficiency, let us first break down exactly what a home energy audit is. According to Energy.gov, “A home energy audit helps you pinpoint where your house is losing energy and what you can do to save money.”
Now that we got the description out of the way, let’s focus on the nitty gritty. If you’re going to remember anything from this article, remember this, insulation is everything. There’s literally insulation everywhere in your home, which is why you need to focus on three important areas of your home in order to truly tackle any energy misuses. These three areas are:
What to look for in the attic
If you happen to have an attic, there are a couple of things you should look for. First and foremost you need to make sure the hatch that opens to your attic is properly sealed when closed. Otherwise a good amount of air will seep into your attic, causing your house to lose energy.
Next, you want to check for any leaky ductwork. You can easily spot leaky ductwork with a test. Before you conduct your test, make sure the AC is on. Once it is, shine a flashlight on the ducts. While doing so you want to look for any dust that gets blown away on the exterior. Once you spot that, you’ve spotted a crack, which means you’re losing energy.
To patch the holes you can use a water-based mastic sealant with mesh tape, or you can also use some HVAC foil tape.
How to seal up your windows and save energy
Windows can sometimes have leaky frames, which can account for a big portion of your heating costs. Air can easily escape through the leaks, making the energy use in your home less efficient. When you look at the outside of your windows, check for cracked or dried out caulk. If you happen to spot any cracks, be sure to replace them with some new caulking.
According to Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, you want a mildew resistant, paintable exterior caulking. This type of caulking will help seal those openings, which in essence will stop air from leaking out, or leaking in.
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While you’re outside observing your home, do yourself a favor and walk around it. While doing so, try to spot any crevices along the joints and eaves of your home. If you spot any, use caulking to seal them up and preserve energy.
Checking the inside of your windows is important too. Cracks along the inside of your windows are typically around the joints. To fix any cracks along the inside of your window, you can simply add some new weather-stripping, or caulking. This will help keep air from escaping.
How to choose and manage the energy efficiency of your appliances
The first thing you should do is upgrade your appliances to Energy Star certified appliances. Energy Star products are typically 15 to 20 percent more efficient than regular standard products.
If it’s not feasible for you to buy Energy Star appliances, then you’re next best option is to complete the upgrades yourself. Let’s take a look at your refrigerator for example, since they are typically one of the biggest energy spending appliances. A non-efficient refrigerator most likely has a rubber gasket that is no longer working properly. If your refrigerator door swings open easily when you pull on it, then more than likely your gasket seal is broken – which means cold air is escaping.
In order to stop this problem in its tracks, you’ll need to order a new gasket from your refrigerator’s manufacturer. Once you get it, simply follow the instructions. Once installation is complete, open your refrigerator door a couple times, to make sure that the gasket properly seals. When you feel a decent amount of pressure trying to stop you from opening the door – you’ll know your work was successful.
Other simple daily habits can also improve the efficiency of your home. Limiting the use of your appliances, and unplugging any wall appliances when not in use, can go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient.
Calling up a home energy technician is well worth it
The DIY tips we provided are a great way to see immediate improvements in your home’s energy use. But that shouldn’t be it. Hiring a home energy technician (also known as an auditor) can really make a long-term difference in your home’s energy use and your energy bill.
Auditors will inspect both the exterior and interior of your homes. They’ll check everything, from the insulation in your walls, to the state of your appliances – nothing will go unnoticed.
An interesting test that auditors will also conduct is the blower door test. This test helps determine your home’s air tightness. The way it works is auditors will open your door and put on a temporary door cover that’ll have a fan mounted onto it. Once the test begins, the fan will pull air out of your house, which will lower the air pressure inside. This then forces the higher outside air pressure to flow in through all unsealed cracks. With an infrared camera, the auditor will then be able to spot any leaks. This test will help determine your home’s air infiltration rate, while also spotting leaks that can then be repaired.
Your home is a humble abode that should be taken care of, which is why making it more energy efficient should be a top priority. Remember, your end goal should be to save money, save energy, and ultimately make your home even more comfortable than you possibly could have imagined.