Improving the energy efficiency of your own home will provide you with an array of amazing benefits. From lower bills to better air quality, here is a look at a five simple tips to ensure that your home is as efficient and eco-friendly as possible.
For those who aren’t ready to install a full solar array, there are solar technology options that allow you to start small. Solar shingles, for example, look just like ordinary shingles but produce electricity like solar panels. More importantly, you can install as many or as few as you are ready for. According to the experts at Yorktown NY roofing, “Depending on the size of the array installed, the typical climate of the area and several other factors, homeowners can generally expect to generate enough electricity to offset between 40 percent and 60 percent of the household’s monthly energy consumption.”
Strategic Tree Planting
Improving your home’s efficiency may be as easy as planting some trees and watching your monthly energy bills go down. According to Michael Kuhns of Utah State University, a series of strategically-placed trees throughout the yard can save as much as 35 percent on cooling bills during the summer by blocking direct sunlight. Deciduous trees with minimal water requirements are the best options.
No matter what your water heater is set at or how efficient your home’s plumbing may be, quite a bit of heat is lost when moving water from the heater to a faucet or fixture. One simple and effective way to combat this is to insulate the pipes. Comprehensive insulation can be carried out by a local plumber, but owners can improve their plumbing system’s efficiency by insulating any pipes that they have easy access to.
A solar panel array remains one of the best options for dramatically cutting down on energy bills throughout the year. While homes with good sun exposure will create more energy, these panels, available from places like Jersey Solar, work in almost every climate and can be customized to fit the needs of any family. In addition to cutting down on energy costs, homeowners should look into any tax credits they may be eligible for when switching to solar energy.
Seal the Ducts
Quite a bit of hot and cold air is lost in a home due to cracks around doors and windows, but it is duct leaks that could be the biggest problem. Sealing ducts is another job that can be tackled by more adventurous homeowners, but most will want to contact an HVAC company. Ducts that are not properly sealed could result in a loss of 25 to 35 percent efficiency during the warmest and coldest months.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats remain one of the best options for improving a home’s efficiency when it comes to a return on investment. These simple devices can often be installed in as little as an hour or two and could reduce energy costs by as much as 10 percent. This means that a programmable thermostat installed in your own home could pay for itself in just a few months.
In this period of tight budgets and improved environmental awareness, it is never a bad idea for families to continue looking for ways to cut back on their own carbon footprint.
Rachelle Wilber, the author of this article, is a freelance writer from San Diego, California
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