The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 22.5% of the country’s energy is collectively used by its 115 million residences, who on average spend $2,200 a year on energy bills. Needless to say, finding ways to increase home energy efficiency is in everyone’s best interest — it’s great for the environment, saves homeowners money, and helps families stay comfortable throughout the year. Even small changes can have a big long term impact on energy consumption and the size of an energy bill.
Whether done with mother nature in mind or in the interest of staying within a budget, maximizing home energy efficiency is a good idea. Here are a few simple tips for making your home more energy efficient:
1) Properly insulate your home
Ensuring proper insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling bills. Proper insulation also cuts down on noise pollution, permits better temperature and humidity control, and reduces the number of allergens and pests that can get into the home. Sealing door trims; weatherstripping windows; insulating the attic, basement, and crawl spaces; and sealing leaky ductwork all go a long way to improving energy efficiency and reducing energy expenses.
2) Turn off lights, appliances, and plugged-in electronics when they are not in use
By far the easiest thing to do, and it can save you 2–5% on your energy bill. We know it can be a pain to walk around the house unplugging everything, so consider outfitting your home with timers or smart devices to save you the hassle. Automate your lights with smart bulbs like those from Phillips Hue, or smart wall outlets like the Belkin WeMo.
3) Close your drapes and curtains
In the warm months, closing your curtains or drapes on the sunny side of your home helps reduce the temperature of those rooms by limiting how much sunlight gets into them. Opening them in the winter lets more light in and increases the temperature. In both cases, you’ll reduce how hard your heating and cooling system has to work to balance those rooms with the rest of the house.
4) Invest in a programmable thermostat
When properly programmed by yourself or an HVAC professional, programmable thermostats can save you 5% to 15% on your heating and cooling costs. By setting your programmable thermostats to a heating and cooling schedule, you’ll ensure that you are only running your system when you need it. Smart thermostats — such as those from Keen Home partners Nest and Ecobee — go even further. They can regulate the temperature of based on your presence, your proximity to your home, and triggers from other devices (such as Smart Vents, your car, or sensors in your home).
5) Clean or change your HVAC return air filters regularly
Your HVAC return vent is an integral part of your home’s heating and cooling system. Air from inside the home is pulled in through it, warmed or cooled by your furnace or AC, and then supplied to the rest of the home through supply registers. Every return vent has a filter that prevents dirt, dust, and other particles from entering your system and transported to other areas of the home. If the filter is dirty or clogged, it will reduce airflow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool you down.
6) Replace your “dumb” vent registers with Smart Vents
It’s common for homeowners to close vent registers in rooms that go unused throughout the day or are too warm or too cold due to temperature imbalances. As we’ll discuss next week, this has its limitations, but installing Keen Home Smart Vents will give you all the benefits without the shortcomings. With Smart Vents you can intelligently create zones in your home, effectively reducing the square footage that needs to be heated or cooled at a given time. Want one room to be cooler than the rest? Use your Smart Vents to redirect air between rooms. You can pre-order Smart Vents today at up to 35% off the retail price.
The key to saving energy and money in your home is take a whole-house approach to energy efficiency. Think of each part of the home as interdependent parts contributing to your overall energy output. Improving the efficiency of any will raise overall efficiency for the entire home. That means less impact on the environment and more money in your wallet. Who doesn’t want that?