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Whether you’re concerned about our environment or you are wanting to save some money on your electric bill, it’s a good idea to determine just how energy efficient your Des Moines home is. Sure, you can try to go completely off the grid with solar panels, composting toilets, and a water catchment system, however, that isn’t necessarily realistic for most and can cost a pretty penny upfront. There are some simple things you can do to determine if your home can be more energy efficient, and here are a few to get you started.
Do You Feel a Draft?
If you feel a draft throughout your home, your heating or air conditioning could literally be going out the window. It’s a good idea to do a maintenance check a few times a year to ensure that the caulking and weather stripping is still in working order and doesn’t need replacing. Without the proper insulation in your walls, basement, and attic, air can enter and escape through your siding so you want to verify that you’re properly insulated. Drafts from your doors and windows along with mediocre insulation take a toll on your HVAC system, as the unit will be working overtime to achieve your desired temperature. Aside from wasting the energy, you’ll also need to repair or replace your system more frequently.
Address the Windows
The addition of energy efficient windows can certainly save you money, but replacing your windows may not be in the budget. There are a few things you can do to help those original windows from affecting the efficiency in your home. One idea to consider is adding a tint to your windows, which preserves the heat in the winter and the cooler air in summer. Not a fan of tinted windows? Try changing up your window treatments. Adding curtains made from a heavier fabric will act as an additional form of insulation when they’re closed. The same can be said for wooden shutters or blinds. In addition to saving energy, you’re also reducing interior glare, adding additional privacy, and reducing the chance of UV damage to your belongings.
Appliances are probably the largest culprit of energy loss, as the average household typically has at least ten plugged in on a full time basis. If your larger appliances such as your refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer are more than ten years old, they may not be energy-efficient models, so splurging on new ones is a good idea if the budget allows. If you do opt to purchase new, be sure to choose models that are “Energy Star Certified.” Once you have your energy efficient appliances, be mindful of your usage, for example, when using the washing machine or dishwasher, make sure you have a full load prior to use. You also want to get into the habit of running your appliances in the evening as opposed to times in the heat of the day. Appliances put off heat too, so running them at the hottest time of the day affects the temperature of the home and in turn your HVAC has to work harder.
Adjust the Thermostat
While this has been a running joke for years, it really can save you money to adjust your thermostat just a bit. Consider getting into the habit of lowering the temperature when you’re away from home in the winter and raising it in the summer. Adjusting the temperature by just three degrees will make a difference on your bill and your usage.
Planting trees is not only good for the environment, it can also save you energy and money. Carefully positioned trees around the perimeter of a home will provide shade in the summer months, keeping your house cooler, and act as a wind blocker in the winter, giving you additional insulation. Be careful not to plant the trees too close to your home, as the root system can damage your foundation.
There are so many things you can do to your home to become more energy efficient, even if you’re not able to spend a lot of money. If you’re able to make some small adjustments to your lifestyle, you’ll be able to save some money and help the environment at the same time.