Are your home’s utility costs getting you down? Often, homeowners look at their utility bills and feel frustrated and displeased at the high costs, but don’t know what to do about it. Heating, air-conditioning, electricity, water — they’re all essential services, but they can really put a kink in your budget.
Fortunately for homeowners, there are many things that can be done to turn your house into a truly energy-efficient home that is comfortable and budget-friendly. Our team at Siding & Windows Group helps Chicago area homeowners improve insulation, upgrade windows and doors, repair roofs and provide other home care that helps you enjoy a home that works superbly for your needs.
These 9 tips are effective at helping homeowners lessen their utility expenses and enjoy a comfortable, energy-efficient home all winter long—and beyond.
1. Ask for an energy audit
Want to see how well your home is actually performing, compared to others like it? With an energy audit, you can discover areas for improvement and savings. Hire a professional energy auditor, or contact your utility companies to inquire whether they offer this service to their customers.
2. Use modern lightbulbs
Many people still use old-fashioned, incandescent lightbulbs to illuminate their homes. But older bulbs are less efficient. More modern bulbs—fluorescent and LED—save on electricity. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use up to 75% less electricity as incandescent ones. And modern bulbs last as much as 20 times longer than the old-style bulbs.
3. Add insulation
If you have areas of your home that are uninsulated, such as an attic or basement space, adding insulation will help your home to keep warm air inside and cold air out during winter. It’s easier on your heating unit. To get the best results, ensure you use the proper amount of the right material—12 inches or more for fiberglass, 8 inches or more for cellulose.
4. Replace inefficient windows
If you’re noticing outside air seeping in through closed windows, this is not normal. It’s a sign your windows are not properly functioning to insulate your home as they should. Replace old, broken windows with today’s fashionable, energy-saving window options. If you have newer windows, check and replace caulking as needed.
5. Stop door drafts
Another spot where drafts can sneak in, making your heat (or air-conditioning) work overtime is your doors. Check all the doors that lead outside, feeling for drafts and looking for spaces where the door doesn’t hang tightly against its frame. Install weather-stripping. Better yet, install brand-new, energy-efficient doors that beautify and protect your home.
6. Use smart appliances
Old appliances typically use as much as 50% more electricity than today’s modern appliances do. Simply getting rid of an old refrigerator and installing a new one can lead to savings, since fridges often use around 9-10% of a home’s electricity. Beyond new appliances, be smart with existing ones. Don’t put the fridge near the stove. Unplug computers when not in use. Choose ENERGY STAR® options when buying new appliances.
7. Install low-flow water features
Have older toilets, showerheads, and faucets? Then you’re probably using more water than you need to—and it’s costing you on your water bill. To lower water usage efficiently and simply, replace those old bathroom elements with today’s low-flow fixtures. They can reduce water usage by as much as 30-40%, without affecting your enjoyment of your home.
8. Get new heating units
This is a higher-ticket item, so you’ll want to wait until it makes sense to make this swap. But if your furnace was installed before 1992 and has a pilot light, it’s not nearly as efficient as a more modern furnace. A replacement will save you money. Likewise with your hot water heater. Older versions use more energy than today’s tankless water heaters. Even installing a programmable thermostat to automatically turn down heat when you’re not home can save you on energy costs.
9. Take small steps to increase energy-efficiency.
There are plenty of other practical steps you can take to improve the efficiency of your home. Give them a try, as they all save on utilities:
- Washing machine—Wait until you have a full load before washing.
- Ceiling fans—Make use of fans to cool homes in summer, and improve flow of warm air in winter.
- Air filters—Replace air filters in your home regularly to improve HVAC efficiency.
- Thermal curtains—Specialty drapes help keep in warm air in winter.
- Tech chargers—These drain electricity even when your laptops and phones aren’t attached, so unplug them when not in use.
- Oven—If you can, install a convection oven, which uses less energy than conventional ovens.
- Fridge—When you replace a refrigerator, don’t use the old one for extra storage. Two fridges use a lot of energy.
Enjoy an Energy-Efficient Home that Provides Value and Comfort
The good news in all this is—you don’t have to sacrifice all the things you love about your home to make it energy-efficient. Today’s energy-friendly solutions will save you money, without robbing you of a comfortable, pleasing home lifestyle. And many of the options on this list—such as window and door replacements and improved insulation—all add up to a solid return on investment.
When you’re ready to enjoy the energy savings of replacement windows, doors, a new roof, added insulation or new siding, call on the experts at Siding & Windows Group. We’ve served Chicago area homeowners since 1984 with aesthetically pleasing, high-quality design and restoration services that help you enjoy your home the way it is meant to be enjoyed.
Contact us today to schedule a free quote that gives you the home of your dreams.