Many homebuyers are often surprised by larger than expected energy and utility bills once they move in. After you have been in the home for approximately a year, you should have a better sense of your average heating, cooling and electrical costs. By spending a little time and/or money, you can make your home more comfortable and efficient.
For starters, try implementing a few of these quick and simple energy-saving tips to see immediate results on your various utility bills:
- Keep your thermostat set around 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. By avoiding constant adjustments you can stabilize your energy bills while keeping your home at a comfortable temperature year round.
- Water that is wasted from leaky faucets and showerheads can really add up. Fortunately, they’re easy to fix with a do-it-yourself book. Toilet tank water-savers can also mean significant dollar savings.
- Compact fluorescent lighting costs more than standard incandescent bulbs, but fluorescents last more than 10 times longer and use just a quarter of the electricity. Over its lifetime, a compact fluorescent bulb can save up to $60 on your electric bill.
- Fireplaces can be a big energy leak. Check dampers and screens to make sure warm air isn’t escaping when the fireplace isn’t in use. Consider installing an energy-saving firebox to help circulate heat. If the fireplace is just for decoration, cover the chimney.
- Make sure to keep filters clean and operating parts oiled for all your home appliances. Clean air conditioning filters and wall units each year. Change furnace filters frequently, and keep your furnace motor oiled. In fact, paying for a professional inspection once a year will keep things running smoothly and likely save you larger replacement costs later on.
In addition to these basic energy-savings tips, for a reasonable price you can insulate your home, or upgrade your current insulation, to maximize your energy efficiency. Insulating your home is one of the best ways to protect against high heating and cooling costs. Start with any unfinished attics and crawl spaces to get the most savings. Then move on to ceilings and walls and basement and garage. Be sure to check the weather-stripping on your doors and windows as well to keep the house draft-free and energy efficient..