Home energy efficiency tips and advice
Keeping your home energy efficient is no easy task. Heating, cooling and ventilation bills can pile up extremely fast, and this tempts many people to undertake major home energy efficiency projects.
You have to be careful, however. If you don't plan your projects out prior to getting started, you may wind up going way over budget or even paying more for your energy bills than you did before. Here are some tips on making the most of your home energy situation and your money.
Identify Potential Energy Issues
Most households that experience energy issues don't have uniform problems. For instance, you may notice that only a few of your rooms are hard to heat or cool. Before getting started with a whole-house siding project or insulation job, it might be a good idea to take some notes on which spaces need the most attention.
It's also important to monitor your usage statistics for a while. Many energy utilities offer online trackers that let you look at your meter usage in between official readings, and it's not hard to tell that you're using way more energy by watching the meter on the side of your house change. Take notes on which appliances seem to run up your energy bill the most. The solution to your home energy crisis may be as simple as adding new, more efficient home wiring for your washing machine and dryer, fixing a circuit breaker box or having your water heater repaired.
You can also make a lot of minor changes that go a long way towards improving your home's overall energy efficiency. For instance, adding weather stripping or seals around windows and doors is a good way to prevent the transmission of heat. Such additions can drastically lower HVAC costs. Similarly, checking the seals in your concrete basement slab prior to finishing the basement with new flooring will make it easier to hold heat in and keep moisture out later on. These changes lead to hidden energy savings in basement heating and sump pump operation expenses.
Planning Ahead for Home Energy Efficiency
Big projects require additional consideration. While you'd certainly love to install a huge new solar panel setup that lets you generate your own power, for instance, you'd hate to discover that your panels weren't pointed in the optimum direction after the install. Make sure to investigate these little details before starting your DIY project or calling a contractor. You may find that some projects, like wind turbines and generators, won't even work in the space you have.
Whether you decide to go with a renewable energy source or a simple diesel backup, you need to take multiple factors into account. Remember that home energy improvements are usually more effective when you approach them from an all-inclusive perspective.