Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

energy efficiency rating graph for houses

Some may think you have to spend more money on remodels or new equipment to save on energy use in the home. The truth is, there are steps you can take that cost, but there are a lot of ways you can make your home more energy efficient that are also cost efficient.

Tips for Increasing Your Home Energy Efficiency

1. Change your light bulbs

Simply swapping out your traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs will save you money. Traditional bulbs consume a lot of energy but only 5 percent of that is actually converted into light. Compare that with LED bulbs’ that are an average of 85 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. According to the Department of Energy (DOE) that translates into a possible $100 annual savings in energy costs.

2. Close the windows

Whether it’s warm or cold outside, open windows and leaks mean inefficient energy use. Keep doors and windows closed. Also weather strip doors and windows, a small expense that will likely pay for itself in energy savings. Draw curtains over the windows at night for better insulation.

3. Unplug

Even leaving chargers plugged in when they’re not in use wastes energy. Save energy by unplugging electronics that are not in use including:

  • Chargers
  • Laptops
  • Televisions
  • Stereos
  • Game consoles

4. Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans use a lot less energy than air conditioners. EPA-certified Energy Star fans are especially efficient. Use the switches on the fan to rotate the air downward in the summer and in reverse during the winter.

5. Set thermostats to the right temperature

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), turning a thermostat down to 70 degrees saves about 10 percent on heating costs. In fact, for each degree it is lowered for at least eight hours every day, you could save about 2 percent on heating costs. The Department of Energy recommends that thermostats be set to 78 degrees F when you are home.

5. Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat automatically turns heating and air conditioning appliances down at night and when no one is at home.

7. Install a tankless water heater

A tankless water heater only heats the water as it is needed, quickly delivering a constant supply of hot water.

Miscellaneous Ways to Save

There are innumerable ways you can save energy beyond these simple steps. Consider taking these steps:

  • Use low-flow showerheads
  • Install low-flow, vacuum-assist or dual-flush toilets
  • Add double-pane skylights
  • Use the microwave in lieu of the oven to consume about 80 percent less energy
  • Use a convection oven when possible; convection ovens use about 20 percent less electricity than conventional ovens
  • Fortify single-pane windows with storm windows

If you are a homeowner, one of the best actions you can take when you want to save energy is to get a professional whole-house energy assessment every year. The inspector will give you a thorough list of recommendations.