Saving energy at home is very important as the electricity bill alone can cost you a significant proportion of your wages.
While there are different ways to save electricity at home with smart appliances and energy-saving devices, temperature changes at home can make you use heating and cooling systems more at home.
As the temperatures begin to fall, our thoughts turn to how we can maintain temperatures in our homes.
These “shoulder” seasons – fall and spring often present heating and cooling challenges.
As the joke goes, we experience all four seasons in one day
How can we best protect our homes and our climate comfort?
Hire energy saving expert and auditor
The easiest, hands-off approach is to hire a qualified energy auditor to assess your home.
There are home energy management companies you can consult for help.
Hiring energy auditors or energy management companies can cost up to several hundred dollars and can perform a series of tasks.
The most common is the infrared scan of your home.
The purpose of an infrared scan is to evaluate the hot and cold spots of your home to identify points of air leakage; drafts, points of minimal insulation, etc.
More involved audits are comprised of air leakage tests, equipment testing (furnace and air conditioning), and energy usage (lighting and appliances).
Do it yourself
There are some of the items you can do yourself. Things are now easier with smart home technology.
You can install a smart home energy monitor in your house to check on your energy consumption.
There are also some other home energy management devices to save electricity at home.
Having said these, let’s evaluate several areas that are easy do-it-yourself items.
Windows: Are your windows insulated?
Check to see if they are double pane glass and if the frames are vinyl, fiberglass, or good quality coated wood.
Insulated attic and/or walls: Your want at least R-30 in your attic and older homes rarely have insulated exterior walls.
Until the end of the year, DTE Energy is offering rebates for energy savings home projects like these.
Weatherstripping: Seal all joints at window jambs, door jambs, floor to wall connections behind baseboards, install neoprene gaskets behind outlet covers, and replace gaskets at exterior doors.
Furnace/Air Conditioning: Make sure your furnace is the highest efficiency you can afford (95% is recommended) and a two-stage gas furnace will save on your fuel costs.
For air conditioning, look for the ENERGY Star label and a SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 14 or better.
Maintenance: Check your equipment yearly, and when replacing coils DTE Energy recommends replacing both the condenser coil (outside) and the coil located inside the furnace unit- an item that is often overlooked during replacement.
Lighting: Check all lighting in your home for CFLs (compact fluorescents) and replace those that aren’t. Even exterior lights now can be CFLs.
Appliances: Major appliances (refrigerator, stove/range, dishwasher, washer, dryer) should be ENERGY Star rated.
Usage: Good practices like timers on lights, running the dishwasher during “off” hours, and doing the laundry in complete loads with high-efficiency washers will conserve the most energy.
These basic practices will help conserve energy and put some money back in your pocket as you complete home improvement projects such as furnace upgrades, window replacements, or simply replacing lamps in your light fixtures.