5 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Ideas for increasing your home's eco-friendliness and reducing your energy bills

It’s no secret that the cost of energy has been going up recently. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average household energy bill could be reduced by 50 percent by embracing simple energy-conservation methods. Here are five ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Hire an energy expert

A great place to start is by hiring an Accredited Energy Efficiency Auditor or expert to go through your house with you to help find problematic areas. These trained technicians employ specialized tools and technology to assist you in discovering where you are losing energy in your home. They can help you with energy-efficient, cost-effective ideas and solutions, as well game plans to figure out what to tackle first.

Check government websites for ideas and incentives

If you can’t afford a private energy efficiency assessment, the DOE also has many free ideas available. Another way to address the energy efficiency issue inexpensively is by taking advantage of federal tax incentives that were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These energy-conservation incentives are designed to assist you with upgrading your existing home to be more energy efficient.

Check for proper insulation

Two of the most important things to address are your walls and attic. Make sure you have an effective insulation system. Warm air will flow out of poorly insulated walls in the winter and cool air will do the same in the summer. Not only is the insulation you choose for energy efficiency important, but so is the way you install it; hire a professional or research the issue before tackling it yourself.

Consider updating or replacing your windows

After insulation, windows become the next target for energy efficiency. You might need to either replace or upgrade all the windows in your home. Upgrading can consist of weather-stripping your existing windows or purchasing and installing a set of storm windows — a second set of windows that fit over your original windows. According to the DOE, increasing your windows’ energy efficiency can save you between 7 percent and 25 percent on your energy bill.

Tackle smaller projects

There are a host of other things that can be done to increase energy conservation in your home such as, but not limited to: caulking the exterior of the house and filling any cracks, planting trees and shrubs around your house for shade, doing a deeper seal on the area around your flue if you have a fireplace, weather-stripping all doors, replacing your old furnace system with an energy-efficient system and replacing all your light bulbs with energy-efficient models. Taking one step at a time brings you that much closer to having an energy-efficient home.

Whatever time or money you spend on making your home more energy efficient, it is sure to pay off in the end as energy prices continue to rise. The DOE website is a good place to start if you have questions.

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