Turn the lights off before you leave, the A/C down when you’re gone, and schedule the hot water heater for the times you use the shower… you’ve heard all the tricks to saving energy at home, and you are a master of your domain.
Congrats on doing your part to show some concern for the environment and for saving a little bit of money on your utility bill. But what if there were a few other ways you could save money by making your home more energy efficient? Let’s explore a few.
1. Get a professional home energy audit
You can read all the environmentally-friendly blogs in the world and still not get an idea of where efficiency can be improved if you don’t have a professional energy audit. This investment sees that a trained professional, armed with assessment tools and a wealth of energy-saving knowledge, comes by and documents each and every area of your home where you can become more efficient.
A simple Google search for one of these professionals will help you track one down. However, the mere process of having them come out won’t do anything. You actually have to do what they recommend!
2. Install a water softener
The build-up of scale within your water-using appliances causes them to be less efficient. As a result, things like your dishwasher and washing machine will have to work harder to produce the same levels of cleanliness you are used to. This hard work translates to more energy consumption. By installing a Salt-Free Water Softener, you can reduce scale by up to 99.6 percent and prolong the life of your home’s assets.
3. Use seals and weather strips
The need for seals and weather strips is something that is likely to be found during your energy audit but is also something you can be proactive about now. By sealing up areas around your home – particularly around doors and windows – that let cold air in or hot air out, you will be reducing the work your air conditioner has to do, therefore creating more energy efficiency. Weather strips for doors and windows are a fairly cheap way to prevent conditioned air from being wasted and can be installed quickly and easily.
4. Insulate your home
Insulating your home with the proper material can help you to keep the cold air out and the hot air in much the same way seals and weather strips do. However, unlike sealants and weather strips, insulation covers much more area, including your walls, attic, basement, floors, and ceiling. While retrofitting is an option for areas like the floors and walls, insulating the attic is a much easier option that can do wonders for energy efficiency. In fact, most Canadians will spend more money on heat energy than nearly every other expense in their lives, doesn’t it make sense to keep the heat in once it’s there? Natural Resources Canada provides some good resources on insulation and air sealing, including how to get insulation inspections, health and safety concerns, and how to retrofit homes.
5. Solar panel installation
Let’s get a bit higher-tech for a moment. Installing solar panels on your roof can help offset a lot of your energy use. The thing is, purchasing solar panels and installing them can cost you anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000. An American company has put a new twist on this investment and allows homeowners to reap the benefits of solar panels without the upfront costs. The company installs the panels for free and enters an agreement that sees that the homeowner pays them for the energy they generate, typically at costs that are 20 percent less than what they’d normally pay. Edmonton solar panel installation offers energy-efficient solar panels to help you save money on your power bills.
Other common energy-saving methods
The above-mentioned ways of saving energy around your home are a bit less run-of-the-mill than what you’d normally expect. Here are some of the more common methods to save money on energy bills each month:
- Fluorescent light bulbs: While these cost a bit more than traditional light bulbs, they tend to last four to eight times longer and allow you to save money on energy as well as the resources used to replace them (i.e., gas for the drive to the store) each year.
- Programmable thermostat: It’s one thing to set your thermostat higher or lower when nobody’s home and another to have one that is smart enough to do it for you. Programmable thermostats are said to save homeowners up to $150 per year, offering a quick return on investment – most of them cost less than $100 – in a short period of time.
- Tankless water heater: These sleek water heaters can help you to be 24 to 34 percent more energy efficient and can help you save big bucks on energy each year. They also last twice as long as storage water heaters and never run out of hot water.
- Ceiling fans: At about $50 a pop, these appliances can help you save money on your energy bill by allowing you to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without having to turn the air down as low.
- Energy Star appliances: Installing Energy Star appliances such as dishwashers, washers/dryers, air conditioners, and the aforementioned water heater can save you money on energy each month. This certification will ensure you that you are getting the new standard of appliance that provides more energy efficiency than what is likely provided by your current appliances.
Where Can You Save?
As you can see, the areas of your home where you can invest in energy savings are virtually limitless. Whether it’s as simple as spending $20 on new light bulbs or as advanced as installing solar panels, there are lots of ways you can improve your energy reliance while benefitting from a more comfortable home at the same time.