For many homeowners, a high electricity bill can be crippling. It is costly and can signal something wrong with the home’s energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that are not energy-efficient can cost their owners up to $2,000 more per year in utility bills.
The high electricity bill can be a source of frustration, but there are ways to fight back. An energy audit is an inspection of your home that identifies opportunities for improving your home’s energy efficiency. Energy audits get performed by qualified professionals and can be very helpful in pinpointing where your home is losing energy and what improvements can get made to increase its energy efficiency. Here are a few changes you can pursue when trying to lower your utility bills.
Inspecting for Leaks
Leaks can account for a large percentage of energy loss in a home, so it’s essential to do everything you can to identify and fix them. Start by checking the seals around your doors and windows. A simple way to test leaks is to hold a lit candle near the door or window seal. If the flame flickers, there is likely a leak. You can also use a piece of paper or your hand to test for drafts. You have a draft if the paper moves or your skin feels fabulous.
Other places where leaks commonly occur are in the attic, around air conditioning units, and at the base of walls. If you suspect you leak one of these areas, you can use different methods to seal it, including:
- Spray foam insulation
These changes can be a simple and effective way to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
In addition to sealing leaks, you can also take steps to reduce air infiltration throughout your home. Air infiltration is the uncontrolled movement of air into and out of a home through cracks and openings. It’s estimated that homes have an average of 15% air infiltration, leading to significant energy loss. To help reduce air infiltration:
- Use door sweeps on all exterior doors.
- Install gasket seals around electrical outlets and switch plates on exterior walls.
- Install gaskets behind wall-mounted light fixtures.
- Seal any openings where ductwork penetrates walls, floors, and ceilings.
You can also use a blower door test to determine the airtightness of your home. A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pressurizes or depressurizes the house, which makes it easier to find leaks. Once you identify those leaks, they can get sealed to help improve the home’s energy efficiency.
Repairing or Replacing AC
An air conditioner is an essential appliance for many homeowners, but it can also be a significant source of energy consumption. Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States.
There are a few different ways you can reduce the amount of energy your air conditioner uses, including:
- Regular maintenance – Cleaning the coils and filters regularly can help improve your air conditioner’s efficiency and extend lifespan.
- Replacing an old unit – If your air conditioner is over ten years old, it may be time for a replacement. Newer models are much more energy-efficient than older ones.
- Investing in a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat can help you better control the temperature in your home, leading to energy savings.
- Adding insulation – Insulation to your attic can help reduce the heat entering your home, making it easier for your air conditioner to keep the house cool.
It might be better to partner with a company specializing in AC replacement to ensure you won’t have to worry about anything. They can help you figure out the best option for your home.
Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances
Another way to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills is to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Energy-efficient appliances use less electricity than traditional ones to save money on energy bills.
When shopping for new appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that helps businesses and consumers save money and protect the environment by identifying energy-efficient products.
Some of the most common types of appliances that come with the ENERGY STAR label include:
- Washing machines
- Water heaters
- Air conditioners
If you’re not ready to replace all of your appliances, you can still save energy by using them more efficiently. For example:
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave.
These are just a few ways to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. You can save money on energy bills and help protect the environment by making simple changes.
Utility bills can be a significant expense for many households. You can reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills in several ways. The tips above are only a few ways you can make a difference. You can also talk to your local utility company about other ways to save energy and money. They may offer programs that can help you reduce your energy consumption.