Tips for Saving Money on Energy Bills
The heating and cooling of homes in the United States accounts for about 55% of the total energy costs, with water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting accounting for the rest. While the majority of people in the U.S. spend more on heating, those who live in Florida, anywhere along the Gulf coast, or in the American Southwest are probably spending more on cooling.
How can we use this knowledge to save on energy costs and lower our overall energy bills? For starters, replacing the windows and doors in our homes with new, more advanced and energy-efficient windows and doors should result in a dramatic reduction in energy costs. While you have no control over the ongoing fluctuation of fuel costs and energy company rate hikes, you do have control over choosing the right windows and doors to help with energy consumption.
Even the newest and best HVAC units will struggle to keep up with heating or cooling your home if your windows and doors are letting the extreme outside temperatures into your house. Technology has come a long way in manufacturing energy-efficient windows and doors that will help lower your heating and cooling costs and keep you and your family comfortable. Today’s energy-efficient windows and doors have all of the technological advancements in design, construction, and availability of energy rating systems. Not only can you find beautifully designed and architecturally appealing windows and doors, but you can rest assured that they will keep your home at a comfortable temperature and reduce your home’s energy costs. This drop in energy consumption also benefits the environment, since less fossil fuels and coal will be burned, resulting in reduced carbon emissions.
Here are some additional tips to lowering your energy bill:
Check For and Seal Up Any Air Leaks
Controlling the air that inadvertently comes into your home should be top priority when attempting to cut energy costs. Air leaks allow cold air and heat to come into the house from the outside and compromise insulation effectiveness by up to 50%. The Department of Energy estimates that sealing out drafts alone can save homeowners more than 10% on their energy bills every year.
The proper use of caulking and/or spray foam can help to seal cracks and gaps. Your fireplace can also be a source of major air leaks. If you do have a fireplace, be sure to keep the damper tightly closed when the fireplace or woodstove is not in use, and install a new damper if it’s damaged or was never there. Using batt insulation in the flue during the off-season is helpful, as well as blocking the hearth with fireplace covers made of sheet metal or wood to keep air from creeping in.
Check the ventilation points of your heating and cooling systems as well as utility access points into your home for drafts. Make sure all of the joints are tightly sealed with heat-proof tape and inspect your house’s exterior for gaps where electrical, cable, telephone, and gas lines penetrate the wall.
Properly Insulate Your Home
Proper insulation is critical to cutting down on energy bills, as it keeps your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. 90% of single-family homes in the United States are under-insulated, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), so chances are high that your house needs more high-quality insulation.
The EPA estimates that the average homeowner can save 15% on heating and cooling costs (11% of total energy costs) by adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists. The majority of heat loss is through the top of a house, so making sure the attic is properly insulated is key. Blown-in insulation can be a good option in open, horizontal spaces such as in attics.
Check & Maintain All Windows & Doors
A quick fix may be ensuring that your windows and doors have flexible weather stripping to block both hot and cold window drafts from coming in. But many times, trying to maintain old windows and doors can result in wasted money and energy. One of the best things you can do to reduce utility bills is to install new windows and doors with those that are ENERGY STAR certified. This certification means that the windows and doors have passed requirements that guarantee energy efficiency. You can have peace of mind that your new windows and doors will be taking a big step toward conserving energy and lowering your energy bills. Looking at and understanding such things as the R-value, U-value and The Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient (SHGC) for windows and doors with glass will go a long way in making sure you are achieving the best efficiency and cost savings on your energy bills.
These tips can help you lower your energy bills and achieve better overall efficiency. If you’d like a free estimate for replacing your windows and doors, please contact Shield Building Products today!