Green isn’t just a buzzword. Making your home more environmentally friendly can also save you cold hard cash on energy costs. Besides the obvious benefits of going solar and installing energy-efficient major utilities, there are plenty of small changes you can make to your house to keep energy costs down. With some initiative, a few bucks, and a moderate amount of manual dexterity, you could even take care of some of these small fixes yourself.
- Aerate your faucets and replace your showerhead with an energy efficient model. Your local hardware store should be able to direct you to wise choices.
- Replace your light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs last exponentially as long as regular old incandescent light bulbs, saving landfill space as well as electricity costs. They are also way cheaper than they used to be. You really can’t afford not to use them, at this point.
- Unplug your gadgets when they’re done charging. Leaving gadgets plugged in “just in case” burns energy. Even having the electrical cord plugged in, sans gadget, leaks power.
- Tune up your furnace. This will keep it operating at maximum efficiency and with lower emissions. Good for your lungs, good for your wallet.
- Change the air filters on your HVAC. Both heating systems and AC systems generally have filters that need to cleaned (if they are permanent) or replaced frequently during their prime seasons.
- Operate your heat and AC mindfully. Cranking it way up (or down) doesn’t heat up (or cool down) the room any faster; it just increases the risk that you’ll forget to adjust it later on and waste energy.
- Check your insulation. There are various types of insulation, and your local energy commission should be able to make recommendations based on where you live and what part of the house you are insulating. Using the right kind of insulation makes a big difference in the energy efficiency of your home.
- Make sure your attic is properly ventilated and your basement properly sealed. The attic should have screened vents that create natural convection currents to keep air flowing properly. The basement should be checked for foundational cracks that may need to be patched or caulked.
- Replace your windows. Double-paned windows can make a world of difference in energy costs during the chill of winter, but summer is the best time to do the work.
- Weatherstrip your doors and windows. Weatherstripping prevents drafts from chilling out your house, and keeps in the heat and AC.
Energy Star provides a great online resource for more energy-saving tips.