With the winter looming just around the corner, your home’s energy efficiency starts to weigh heavily not only in terms of being green from the environmental, personal, and social perspective, but it is becoming increasingly important because of very high heating costs.
In this guide I am going to present some fairly easy to implement ideas on how to increase your home’s energy efficiency on a budget.
Home Insulation Ideas
If your home was built before 1970s, then it is very likely that it does not have sufficient levels of insulation, which results in unnecessary heat loss. Many states now offer some very attractive home insulation programs, grants and rebates. For instance, the state of Massachusetts, my home state, provides a 75% tax credits rebate on energy efficient insulation up to $2000.00 in year 2011.
There are many similar programs in other states, and taking advantage of similar energy efficient insulation rebate programs will not only put money back in your pocket, and reduce your heating and cooling costs. But it will also increase the saleability of your home, reduce the chance of your heating pipes bursting in the winter, reduce cold air drafts in your home, and make your home a more comfortable place for you and your family.
Going back to older homes built before 1970s, if you happen to live in one, chances are that your loft or attic insulation is not sufficiently insulated and ventilated, which is a common reason for ice dams on the roof in the winter and costly roof, walls, and insulation damages that may not necessarily be covered by homeowners insurance. If you plan on having a new roof installed any time soon, then consider replacing your old roof with an energy efficient metal roofing system, which will help reduce your cooling costs in the summer, and help stop ice dams in the winter.
You can better insulate your attic by locating air leaks, and applying a caulk sealant to stop the unwanted air leaks. You can feel for this air leaks with your hand, or buy a special tool for detecting thermal leaks in your home at your local home improvement store. Another alternative would be having a professional home energy audit performed in your home, which would give you a complete report outlining locations where energy loss due to insufficient insulation and air leaks occurs.
You can then, follow up on recommendations of home energy audit report, and have a contractor insulate and seal poorly insulated, and poorly sealed areas in your house for you, or you could save a bit of money by taking on these inadequacies in your home insulation levels yourself with the help of specialty sealants, and attic insulation bats for your attic.
Having a sufficiently insulated and properly ventilated attic will help prevent ice dams on your roof. Being prepared for cold storms with a properly insulated home can save a ton of money and headaches from having to deal with busted pipes and ice dams damage in the winter. Trust me on this!
You can have your walls insulated with a blown in insulation, or you can have more insulation installed if you are planning to install new siding on your house some time in the near future. Obviously, blown insulation is much easier and less costly then, ripping apart your sheet rock to install a cavity wall insulation, but if you are doing a complete remodel of certain rooms in your home, and you are taking off old sheet rock, then you can have your wall cavities insulated during this time. Although, in all honesty ripping off your old sheet rock, or plaster and installing a new one is a messy and expensive way to do it.
Simple way to insulate your windows for the Winter
If you do not quite have the money to replace your old windows with energy efficient ones, then you can install a special film over your old windows, which will help reduce the cold air drafts thereby helping to keep your rooms warmer and saving on money on reduced heating bills.
These are the simple yet effective basic ways to make your home greener and more energy efficient on a budget. If you have already done these and are ready for the next step, then consider replacing your old oil burner with an energy efficient gas heating system. Once again there may be some good rebates available for that when you choose to upgrade your heating system with a 92 to 96% energy efficient gas burner. The cost of gas is less than the cost of oil, and having an energy efficient burner will further reduce your heating costs in the winter. You can also install energy efficient gas-powered hot water burners to reduce the cost of heating water in your home.
You can obtain even more energy efficiency in your home by replacing your lights with energy efficient lighting, and by installing, eco-friendly shower heads in your bathroom.