Green home improvement upgrades reduce your monthly utility bill
No matter what your political beliefs or level of concern is for the environment, everyone can agree that knowing how to save money with green home improvement projects is important to homeowners. If you can save money by making simple, inexpensive upgrades to your home, why wouldn’t you? Here are the top green home improvement updates you should make to your home now and why each will potentially save you hundreds every year. The green energy experts with Palatin Remodeling will provide you with advice on taking advantage of all of these methods and improving the efficiency of your home.
1. Energy efficiency audit: Your utility bills may seem high to you, especially during the winter when even Southern Californian residents are cranking up the heat, but if you have no idea exactly how much you’re over spending on your energy consumption an energy efficiency audit could be just the thing to get you started. The great news is these audits are frequently free when performed by an energy utility employee, so check the website of your local gas and electric supplier. You can also hire an independent auditor to assess your home or talk with your contractor about having your home inspected. An audit is also smart for your water consumption to determine if you can save money on water, which becomes much more expensive and much more important to conserve during the hot summer months. An auditor can tell you where you can save money on your energy bill and what upgrades you can make right now to save even more.
2. Windows: By far your windows leak more energy than any other part of your home. Replacing your windows with energy efficient windows (double or triple pane) can cut your utility bill by 30%, while adding blackout curtains can save 25% and sealing any cracks between the pane and the sill saves even more. Allowing warm air to escape means you’ll have to run your heater at higher temperatures and for longer amounts of time to get the same effect as properly sealed windows, costing you plenty extra. If replacing your windows isn’t an option right now, at least seal any cracks and make sure your blinds and blackout curtains are open during the day and closed at night for optimal savings. During your next home renovation or remodel, put in as many energy efficient windows as possible.
3. Water heater jacket: Most water heaters waste a ton of energy because they’re constantly on in order to provide hot water instantly. With the water heater constantly running, usually in the chilly garage, your energy bill will be sky high at all times, but you can control this with an inexpensive water heater jacket. These cozy blankets wrap around your water heater to keep the heat from escaping, letting you keep it at a lower temperature to save money. It’s also a good idea to wrap the pipes leading into and out of the water heater to continue the effect. Keep in mind that water heaters only last about 15 years so when it’s time to replace it go with an energy efficient model to start seeing massive monthly savings.
4. Replace old appliances: The kitchen is the biggest energy wasting room in any house but there are many ways to reduce the energy expenditure of the home through this one room. Replacing your old kitchen appliances with new Energy Star models will significantly reduce your energy bill enough to have the new appliances paid off within 5 years. Remember that gas appliances are cheaper to operate than electric appliances, and induction heating cooktops are more efficient than gas cooktops. There are other energy saving tips that can be applied to the kitchen, such as keeping the freezer well stocked, skipping the pre-heat step of recipes, and applying the same window tips to your kitchen window.
5. Close your fireplace: The fireplace is often a forgotten part of the home when it’s not in use, and if the flue and doors are left open plenty of heat can escape. Think about replacing the flue and damper to reduce the energy loss by as much as 90% and keep your fireplace doors closed.
6. Reduce your energy and water use: This tip is perhaps the most important one for homeowners, but it’s also the easiest to forget. As people of habit, we all get stuck in our ruts, take long showers to relax, forget to turn a light off every now and then or leave the sprinklers on for too long. Even changing just one thing, like watering your lawn in the early morning or late evening hours or putting a timer on your showers, can make a big difference on your utility bills. As time goes on, remind yourself and your household to always turn off the lights and be more efficient in your habits, which will make your home more energy efficient.