Energy efficiency is something all homeowners strive for, yet few ever take the time to do much about it. But if there was ever a time to make it a focal point, it’s during the fall. Because it’s during this transitional period that temperatures start dropping and the threat of cold weather begins rearing its ugly head. Do you know what to do?
Try These 4 Energy Efficiency Tips
Energy efficiency is important for a couple of key reasons. First off, it’s about lessening your carbon footprint and being a responsible member of your community. Saving energy doesn’t just have a positive impact on your home – it makes your little corner of the world a better place.
Secondly, energy efficiency leads to cost savings. From a few dollars per month to thousands of dollars per year, you can shave digits and decimals off your utility bills.
But in order to enjoy either of these byproducts, you have to be intentional in your approach. And with that being said, here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks:
Use What the Sun Gives You
The sun works to your disadvantage during the dog days of summer. But the reverse is true in the winter. You can take advantage of heat from the sun and allow it to warm your home. (It won’t be enough to keep your house a comfortable temperature, but it certainly helps.)
During the day, you can open curtains on your south-facing windows to allow sunlight to naturally heat the home. Then close them at night to reduce any chill or draft that may enter through the windows. Skylights are also helpful and can be strategically placed in key rooms to encourage more sunlight and natural heat.
Seal Drafty Windows
Speaking of windows now is a great time to check all of your windows for drafty areas and/or gaps. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use caulking around windowsills and frames to fill any visible gaps where cold air may be able to infiltrate your home. For any large gaps, weatherstripping is a good option.
- If your windowpanes allow cold air to permeate into the home, you can use a heavy-duty (clear) plastic sheet or film on the inside of the window. Seal it tightly and it’ll block out most of the air transfer.
- Heavy insulating drapes around windows or overshades can provide even more insulation.
While much more expensive and involved, you may also benefit from replacing old windows with newer energy-efficient options.
Install a Wood Stove
Blocking out cold air and preventing heat loss are only two elements in a much larger equation. You also need a good energy-efficient heat source. And while most homes have some sort of central heating system, you want to do everything possible to lower your reliance on it.
One good alternative is a wood-burning stove. These old-timey stoves allow you to heat your home (or at least a large portion of your home) using wood pellets (which burn slowly and create a lot of heat).
When shopping for a wood stove, consider the ratings – which are typically measured in three ways: high heating value (HHV), low heating value (LHV), and thermal efficiency.
“In terms of overall efficiency, this rating tells you how much of the heat remaining in the combustion chamber actually radiates into the room,” eFireplaceStore explains. “Ultimately, this is the rating that matters the most. It lets you know how much heat you can expect your appliance to produce to heat a given area.”
Other considerations include venting and locations. Speak with a wood stove expert before having one installed. This will ensure you do it properly and economically.
You can save a lot on your heating costs by simply bundling up. Wear proper clothing – including socks – when inside. When going to bed, use a large comforter and turn down the thermostat roughly 10 degrees. You’ll stay warm without running up your heating bill.
Adding it All Up
Want to make your home energy efficient? This is just a start. Being smart with your carbon footprint requires more than a few home improvement projects – it’s a lifestyle. Use these tips as a launching point and then continue to grow and improve with time.