Not everyone can afford to put a new energy-efficient climate control system for their home, but there are budget-friendly ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption that not only make your home more comfortable but can lower your heating and cooling costs as well. Here are six tips to make your home more energy-efficient on a budget.
Free and Easy
Some of the most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy usage are also free. Close off unused rooms. Use window treatments, such as blinds and shades, to keep the sun out in the summer and let the sun in during the winter. Unplug unused electronics because they use electricity even when they’re off.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat offers a potential energy bill savings of $180 a year. With a programmable thermostat, you control the heat every hour of every day. Program a comfortable temperature when you are home and reduce it when you are at work. Most programmable thermostats have options to customize the settings daily to fit your schedule.
Insulate Your Hot Water Heater
If your hot water tank is an older model, you can save energy and money inexpensively by wrapping it in an insulating blanket made specifically for hot water tanks. You can purchase an insulating blanket kit at home improvement stores for less than $50. An insulating blanket reduces standby heat losses by as much as 45 percent.
Vacuum Behind the Refrigerator
Refrigerators consume a lot of energy and older models are big power hogs. To help your refrigerator run more efficiently no matter how old it is, gently vacuums and dust the coils behind the unit twice a year. Clean coils keep the fan balanced and functioning at optimum levels.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
If you feel drafts around your closed doors and windows, see gaps around the trim or peeling paint on the door or window frame, your home has air leaks. Closing the gaps around frames with sealant is an affordable do-it-yourself project that can result in significant reductions in heating and cooling costs.
Install window film to reduce energy loss in the cold winter months and reduce heat from the sun’s rays in the summer.
Insulate Your Attic and Basement
If your home is drafty, exhibits uneven room temperatures and you have high heating bills, it is likely that you don’t have enough attic and basement or crawlspace insulation. If you can’t do both, insulate the attic first because that’s where the bulk of your heat goes in the winter. You can install some types of insulation yourself, but adding insulation is a project that pays off even if you have to hire a contractor.
Most states offer a Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) that provides financial assistance to eligible homeowners who want to improve their home’s insulation and air sealing. Check your state’s official website for more information.