Here are 10 ways to make your home more energy efficient from Home Depot.
1. Install a programmable thermostat.
Home Depot estimates that you could save up to $180 in energy costs by utilizing a programmable thermostat. While conventional thermostats are programmed manually, Energy Star thermostats offer a range of options for controlling your home’s temperature. According to your schedule and your temperature preferences you can set a program for your thermostat to follow so you won’t have to think about programming it manually. Automatically lowering your energy costs during the day if you work outside the home adds up to significant savings over the course of year. There are many options available depending on your needs, and the price ranges from around $40 to $100 dollars.
2. Change to CFL bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs are inexpensive and each bulb can save you $30 over its lifetime. CFLs use about 10 times less energy than regular bulbs and last much longer. My Home Depot advertises a 9-year warranty.
CFLs are now available in soft white, bright white and daylight. The only downside of CFLs besides the slightly higher initial cost is that they take about 20 seconds to reach their full brightness.
3. Choose Energy Star qualified appliances.
Energy Star appliances use between 10-50% less energy and water than their conventional counterparts. These appliances have to meet certain criteria set by the EPA and DOE. You can purchase Energy Star qualified dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers and a few other appliances. However, buying a new appliance to replace an older appliance that is still functioning is rarely going to be a frugal or environmentally-friendly choice.
4. Update your exterior doors.
For energy efficiency, steel or fiberglass-clad doors are your best bet. Storm doors can also boost your home’s energy efficiency. Screen doors allow air to circulate during the warmer months while still keeping the bugs out.
5. Update your windows.
Depending on whether your home currently has single- or double-pane windows, updating your windows with Energy Star qualified windows can save you between $100 and $500 a year in energy costs. However, replacing all the windows in your home is an expensive improvement, and it may take several years to recoup the cost.
A cheaper option that still allows for energy-savings in the summer is heat control window film. There are several varieties of window films available including glare-control, frosted or mirror for added privacy and decorative or tinted.
6. Install dimmer switches and motion detectors.
Dimming your lights saves you money on energy costs. Dimming the lights 25% saves you an average of 20% on lighting costs. Adding a dimmer switch to your lights also allows you to control the ambiance of the room with the flick of a switch (or the slide of the lever, twist of the knob etc.)
Motion detector lights turn on when they detect any movement making them ideal for security and energy savings.
7. Install a ceiling fan.
In the summer, run the fan so the blades circulate counter-clockwise and circulate the air downwards. Although the movement of the air won’t affect the temperature, the wind chill effect makes your body perceive a cooler temperature allowing you to turn the air conditioning up or off and remain comfortable.
Ceiling fans are useful in the winter, too. When it’s cold outside, run the fan so the blades rotate clockwise and circulate the air upwards. There should be a switch on the side or top of the fan to reverse the direction of the blades.
8. Regularly maintain your furnace and water heater.
I learned that water-heating is the third greatest energy expense in the home. Proper maintenance keeps energy costs down and increases the life of the furnace and/or water heater.
9. Seal your home from heat and cold.
Almost half a home’s energy expenses go toward heating and cooling so making sure the air doesn’t escape through cracks is essential. There are several inexpensive products and tools to seal cracks including caulk and weather-stripping. Check for daylight or drafts to find any potential leaks. Places to examine are around all windows and doors, folding attic stairs, the dryer vent and the fireplace.
10. Insulate your home.
Inadequate insulation and air leakage are the leading causes of energy waste in a home. Insulation is measure by an R-value, and the higher the R-value, the better the insulation will perform and the lower your energy costs will be. Many homes are constructed without enough insulation because builders often add only the minimum required. Insulating your home properly can save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs.