Energy saving tips: start with a full home inspection
The cost of energy is a constant strain on everyone's budge, therefore, anytime is a good time to conduct a full home inspection and see where adjustments can be made to help lower costs.
The professionals at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation offer the following suggestions for surveying your home and making modifications to improve your utility bills.
Proper insulation. Appropriate insulation for the home offers many benefits to maintain reasonable expenditures, acting as armor against outside temperatures, both hot and cold, air leaks and moisture. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates homeowners can generally save up to 20% of heating/cooling costs (or up to 10% of total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.
Ducts. The critical network tucked away in ceilings, walls and floors that moves air from the furnace and the central air conditioner to each room in the home can be the biggest culprit in terms of wasted energy dollars. Ducts that are poorly or improperly insulated can allow heated air to seep into unconditioned areas (space that is heated and cooled), adding significant dollars each year to heating and cooling bills. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can lose up to 60 percent of heated air before it reaches the register if ducts are not insulated and they travel through unconditioned spaces like the attic or the crawlspace.
Appliances. Major home appliances such as refrigerators, washer/dryers and dishwashers can account for as much as 20 percent of household energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. When shopping for replacement appliances, study the federally required EnergyGuide labels on appliances. They will outline annual energy consumption and operating costs of each appliance. Also look for EnergyStar compliant products, which are more efficient than older models.
Windows. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that inefficient windows, skylights and glazed doors account for more than 25 percent of a typical household's energy bills. Those costs can decrease significantly by installing windows with double-pane insulated glass, heat-resistant coatings and/or airtight frames.