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Cutting Costs: Save Money by Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Updated on January 27, 2010

Making your home energy efficient is one of the best ways to save money. By making simple improvements, you can easily lower your utility bills, increase the value of your home and make it more comfortable.

A Home Audit

To find out what improvements are needed, you can hire a professional to audit the energy efficiency of your home. The auditor can give you a list of ways in which your home is losing energy and improvements to make. An energy auditor can also set you up with contractors who can make these improvements. Or, you can inspect the home yourself.

To audit the energy efficiency of your home, make a diligent walk-through. As you walk through your home, note where you have inspected and the problems you have found. With this list, you will be able to prioritize your energy efficient improvements.

Making Improvements

A drafty home zaps your finances. Look for drafts around windows, doors, electrical outlets and switch plates, baseboards, corners, fireplace dampers, wall and window mounted air conditioners, and attic doors. Look around the plumbing pipes, electrical wires and mail slots for air leaks. Check to see if the caulking is still in good condition. If you are having trouble detecting leaks, use a stick of incense since the smoke will waver where there is air movement. When you find leaks, you can fix these with caulking or weather stripping. If you have big gaps around pipes and are experiencing a mouse problem, fill the hole with steel wool before caulking. This will prevent the mice from chewing their way back into your home. If your windows are drafty, and you cannot afford to replace them, install clear plastic sheeting over the windows.

Once you have taken care of drafts, check the insulation. Poor insulation in the walls or attic of your home will cost a small fortune in the coming years. Good insulation will help to keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Other areas of the home that need to be checked for proper insulation are the floors under living areas, around heating ducts, plumbing pipes and around the hot water heater.

Keep the filters clean on your heating and cooling systems, as dirty filters require more energy to do the same work. By emptying out your water heater twice a year, you will keep sediment from building up, which helps it to run efficiently.

Appliances and light bulbs are other potential energy hogs. Take time to examine the light bulbs you are using. Do you really need 100 watts in your reading lamp? Have you switched your main lighting to compact florescent bulbs? When upgrading or replacing appliances look for the energy efficient star. An old refrigerator may cost $100-$150 a year to run, while a new energy efficient one will only cost $30-$60. A full fridge or freezer is more efficient to operate, so keep bottles of water in it when you are low on food.

(c) Copyright text and photo Christa Dovel 2010

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    • Shane Belceto profile image

      Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

      Quite welcome .. and yes us too with one of the bathrooms and the others as we get to them smiles. Homes are always something more to work on huh lol .. but great HUBS like these help ... thank YOU again.

      ~Expect Miracles

    • Christa Dovel profile image
      Author

      Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      Thank you Shane. I have noticed the same thing about lights. The fixtures in the bedrooms all took three bulbs, so we changed them over to fixtures that only used one or two, depending on the brightness wanted. We have also been replacing bathroom lights with LED bulbs--they cost a bundle, but last and last.

    • Shane Belceto profile image

      Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

      I like the bottles of water idea that is a good one. Thank YOU for that suggestion. Another thing I noticed when we first got our home is each of the lights in each room when I took the covers off had 3 bulbs in each one ... how silly one does the trick just fine. Still using those bulbs we took out years later too lol

      ~Expect Miracles

    • Christa Dovel profile image
      Author

      Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      Glad to help out! I think it is especially good to know for freezers, where large amounts of food are stored at a time... which reminds me, I need to fill up some milk jugs for my freezer.

    • Sylvie Strong profile image

      Sylvie Strong 8 years ago

      I had never heard the information about keeping your fridge full. Thank you for an informative hub!

    • Christa Dovel profile image
      Author

      Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      It is a shame the windows didn't last longer! Hopefully your insulation is still good.

      Quilted curtains sound like a great idea, especially when you can not replace the windows. I made simple floor length curtains for one place we rented. They greatly reduced the amount of time that the heaters ran and the comfort of the house.

    • LiftedUp profile image

      LiftedUp 8 years ago from Plains of Colorado

      Good tips. When we moved into this house, we began the process of replacing windows, of improving insulation, and all those basic things, and now, nearly 30 years later, it is time to replace windows again! However, the investment is well worthwhile in both the energy savings and the comfort. I recently saw quilted curtains in more than one catalog, and thought, what an idea! I think it would be fun to make some for more than one room. Now for the time . . .

    • Christa Dovel profile image
      Author

      Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      One rental I lived in had such drafty windows, that the furnace ran almost all day long. Just by adding floor length curtains, to contain the drafts, our energy use was cut drastically.

    • amulets profile image

      amulets 8 years ago from Singapore

      This is good. I have been having problems with high electricity bills. Guess it is time for me to look into this and helps to reduce some costs. Thanks!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Another good advice and thank you.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Most interesting and useful advice. Thank you

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