Your home is probably the biggest investment you'll ever make, and the costs associated with it most likely take up the biggest chunk of your budget. Keeping your home in the best shape and controlling the costs matters, so when you’re paying a lot in your energy bills, you might want to know why this is. Understanding the possible reasons behind this and how you might be able to make changes could mean that you'll pay a little bit less than what you have been. While you can hire a professional energy audit company, did you know that you’re able to do your own energy check-up right inside your home to pinpoint those little things that might be costing you thousands of dollars a year? Not only that, but small changes can boost the comfort, value and cost of maintaining your home every year. Get a Free Home Walk-Through Most electric and gas companies will provide you with a free walk-through to make sure that everything in your home is energy efficient. With the help that they provide and the tips they give, you’ll have a better idea of what you can do to change the energy bill in your home. If they do not do free walk-throughs, ask them if they charge for one and then decide if the price is worth the knowledge. Conduct Your Own Walk-Through To Spot Energy-Wasters Some things you can spot yourself without needing a professional. Check certain spots of the home yourself, and then change out things that might be causing energy waste. Here are the most common ones:
- Light bulbs - Are you using energy-efficient light bulbs throughout your home in your lighting fixtures? Compact fluorescents (CFLs) light bulbs are the best to use compared to the incandescent light bulbs that were used in the past. We know some of you have a stash of those discontinued, inexpensive bulbs hanging around, but they actually are costing you money. While the new CFL bulbs are more expensive, they last much longer and use much less energy.
- Water Heater - The pipes going to and from the water heater should be insulated or the whole tank wrapped. This will save on energy and ensure that the heat is maintaining the water temperature and not floating out into the air around it. Also check your water heater for an energy rating sticker - if you've got an old water heater that doesn't have one, you may want to consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient model.
- Outlets - The outlets throughout the home should have smart power strips for your electronics. This saves energy, gives you more plugs and protects the electrical wiring throughout the home all at the same time. (Check out this article for more information on smart power strips.)
- Doors and Windows - Make sure that you check for drafts in both. If they are older, consider replacing them since this can keep much more warm (or cool) air in your home than you can imagine. For the time being, placing new weather stripping around them can cut down on the drafts and air leaks.
- Heating and Cooling System - Have your filters replaced regularly for the heating and cooling system to work the best it can, without having to overwork in order to heat or cool the home. If it is older, replace the furnace.
- Appliances - Replacing your old appliances with EnergyStar certified appliances is a way to save cash on your energy bills. It is also a great way to get great working, high efficiency, new appliances installed in your home.