Most homeowners aren't aware of how easy it can be to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. By performing a home energy audit, you can identify areas for improvement, make simple changes and enjoy lower bills and an eco-friendlier dwelling.
Start by inspecting your appliances and electronics. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), this essential equipment accounts for about 20% of the energy bills rung up by the typical American home. To reduce energy consumption, try replacing older appliances with energy-efficient models or non-electric appliances. Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use.
Your home's lighting is another area where you can increase efficiency and save money. Consider swapping LED or CFL lightbulbs for less efficient incandescent ones. Put lamps and outdoor lighting on timers that will switch them off when they're not needed. Or make use of the sunlight by installing outdoor solar lighting and adding skylights to brighten indoor spaces.
Lowering your thermostat while you're away from home can dramatically reduce your monthly utility bill. According to Energy.gov, you can save as much as 10% a year on cooling and heating costs by turning your thermostat up or down 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting during the eight hours you're at work. Another easy way to save energy costs is by inspecting your windows to make sure they close without gaps and have a tight seal around the edges.
Improvements in your home's electrical, heating and cooling efficiency can be achieved through simple changes — but discovering where the energy is being wasted is key. For more easy tips on how to increase the energy efficiency of your house, use our DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist:
Tom Mascari is President of Mendel Plumbing and Heating. Providing Geneva, Illinois plumbing and HVAC services since 1985, Mendel Plumbing and Heating has a reputation for expert customer service and technical performance.