Few homeowners appreciate the importance of investing money into making their home more energy efficient. The reality is that some energy efficient upgrades can pay for themselves in as little as one bill. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on energy upgrades, here are some cheap and simple ways to help make your house more efficient.
Energy efficient lighting
According to the US Department of Energy, artificial lighting consumes about 10 percent of a household’s electricity use. Upgrading to more energy efficient lighting can reduce lighting related energy usage by up to 75 percent. The easiest way to upgrade your lighting is by replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with more energy efficient CFL bulbs. The Department of Energy reports that just replacing 15 incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs could save you $50 per year in home energy costs. Cost: $3 to $15 per bulb.
Surge protectors and power strips are commonplace in many homes but most of us don’t realize how we can use them to help us save energy. They offer a simple way to turn off multiple electronics at once and also helps ensure that the electronics are not still consuming electricity even though they’ve been turned off. The US Department of Energy estimates that standby power can consume as much as 10 percent of your home’s electricity use. Electronics like TVs, DVD players, and computers provide the best opportunity for savings using a power strip. Cost: $12 and up.
The benefits of programmable thermostats have been touted for many years. They can be preset to automatically reduce the temperature in your home at times when heat or air conditioning is not really needed. This feature is especially useful during the day when the family is out and at night while everyone is sleeping. They can be set to turn on the home’s heating and cooling system just before the family arrives home or wakes up. Cost: a good one will run you $25 and up.
Caulk is perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to improve energy efficiency. Caulk can be used along with weather stripping to help seal air leaks around leak prone areas like windows and door frames. Caulks can vary in strength and have different properties so it’s important to get the proper caulk for each area that will be sealed. Cost: $2 to $6
How many times have you fallen asleep with the lights on? Investing in a light timer can help eliminate that problem. Timers save energy by allowing you to control when lights are turned on and off. Timers may be more useful for outdoor lighting and for providing security lighting indoors when you will be away for an extended period of time. Occupancy sensors are best for indoor light control since they can sense when someone enters and exits a room and turn lights on and off accordingly. Cost: Starts at around $7