As every homeowner can attest, costs can add up. A normal month’s budget can consist of a mortgage, food, gas, clothes, utilities, home repair, and the all-important “rainy day fund.” One way to reduce your monthly costs is to make your home more energy efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save between 5 to 30 percent on their utility bills by making minute alterations and upgrades around the home. We have devised a small once-a-month home audit that should take less than an hour to complete. This DIY audit can give you a jump start on making your home more efficient and save you bundles over time.
Something’s in the Attic
For homes that have an attic, make sure it is thoroughly insulated. Without proper insulation, your attic will not retain the warm air which in turn will force your air conditioning system to work overtime to heat the home. If installed correctly, your attic’s insulation should be approximately five inches deep.
Keep it Sealed
Air leaks in the home are problematic, especially living in Florida. Air leaks are caused by cracks or holes around the windows and doors that will let warm outdoor air intrude. By not having your house fully sealed tight, the home’s overall efficiency is greatly reduced and will result in a gradual increase to your energy bill. An easy solution is to seal the cracks with caulk or weather-stripping to keep the cool air inside.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your H-V-A-C
Inefficient air conditioning systems can greatly take a toll on your utility bill. On average, a home’s HVAC system can account for over 50 percent of your energy bill. Easy steps to maintain your system’s efficiency is to replace your air filters monthly, schedule duct cleaning appointments every six months, and yearly maintenance check-ups to keep your machine in tip-top shape.
Don’t Forget the Fireplace
Chimney and fireplace maintenance is one of the most forgotten aspects of the home. They need to be checked and cleaned to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently. Check for buildup and cracks between bricks as well as indoor air escaping through the chimney. An easy fix is to install heatproof glass doors to prevent cool air from escaping.
You’re On the Clock
Many homeowners forget that two times a year, the time changes. At every daylight savings time, don’t forget to change your timers on your exterior lighting. There is no need for extra lights during daylight hours, or lights not turning on until an hour after dark. This may be an opportunity to change your exterior incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs. This will also save you money for years to come.
If you can spare an hour a month to give your home the proper energy audit it deserves, you will be thanking yourself every time you pay your energy bill. Follow these simple do-it-yourself steps to make your house more efficient, and your home and wallet will thank you.