The cost of heating and cooling your home is only going to go up. It’s in your best interests both financially and comfort-wise, then, to make your home as energy efficient as you possibly can. Now, if you have a new home, you most likely already have the basics in place, such things as double-pane (maybe triple-pane) windows, energy-efficient appliances, and plenty of insulation. But even with new homes, there are still ways to improve energy efficiency. So let’s take a look at 5 ways to make your new Snohomish County home more energy-efficient.
1. Use Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
A simple and fairly inexpensive way to make your new Snohomish County home more energy efficient is to use energy-saving light bulbs. Just replace the “traditional incandescent bulbs with more efficient options.” While you may spend more upfront for these bulbs, they save energy, and they last longer – which can add up to noticeable savings over time.
A good option in energy-efficient light bulbs is compact fluorescents (CFLs). These bulbs “can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents.. . . One of the new CFLs costs about two or three dollars, but it lasts 10,000 hours and uses only about 27 watts to generate as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.”
And here’s what this means in long-term savings. “During its life, [a CFL bulb] uses about $22 in electricity, so the total cost is about $25. An A100-watt incandescent bulb costs 50 cents but lasts 1,000 hours, so you need 10 of them ($5 to buy) to last 10,000 hours. In those 10,000 hours, you will use 1,000 kilowatts of electricity, which will cost more than $80 at a national average price. So the lighting cost of the CFL is less than one-third of the cost for the incandescent.”
2. Install Tankless Water Heaters
One of the biggest energy consumers in your home is the water heater. So a great way to make your home more energy-efficient is by means of tankless water heaters.
Consider that a traditional water heater just sits there continually keeping the water hot whether you need it or not, both when you use hot water and when you don’t. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, heats the water only when you need it and actually use it. Tankless heaters also typically last longer than conventional storage water heaters.
“Tankless water heaters (also called “on-demand” units or an instant water heater) use 30 to 50 percent less energy than units with tanks, saving a typical family $100 or more per year.” The main benefits are:
- “These units heat water only when you turn on the faucet.
- They usually operate on natural gas or propane.
- The main advantage is that they eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank, so you waste less energy.
- They also offer a continuous supply of hot water, which is ideal for filling a big hot tub or a whirlpool.
- They’re more compact than a standard water heater and mount on a wall.”
3. Install Smart Thermostats
We all know that we should turn the thermostat down in the winter or during the summer at certain times. But the problem is we’re too lazy to do it or we forget or we just don’t want to. There is, though, a painless, energy-efficient way to ensure the thermostat is properly adjusted when it needs to be.
And that is with the use of smart thermostats. It only makes sense when you consider that heating and cooling are the two biggest energy gobblers in our homes.
“Smart thermostats use sensors to tell when you’re away, can learn your daily schedule and temperature preferences, and even use local weather data to make energy-saving adjustments automatically . . .Plus, you can control your smart thermostat from anywhere using a tablet or smartphone. Equipping your smart thermostat with sensors in different rooms can also help you save energy. The sensors let the thermostat automatically adjust to different conditions. For example, it could take advantage of passive solar heating in rooms with open,south-facing windows.”
4. Get a Fireplace Insert
With a traditional fireplace, much of the heat simply goes up the chimney. It looks nice but doesn’t do much to heat your home. And in the summer, you lose cool air through the fireplace. Installing an insert can cure these problems.
A “way to slash your energy costs is to add an insert to your fireplace. This simple addition to your home reduces heated air loss through the fireplace, transforming it from a warm ambiance to an effective tool for keeping you comfortable all winter long.”
5. Have an Energy Audit Done
An energy audit is also an excellent step toward making your home more energy-efficient. Having an energy audit done will let you know exactly where the problem areas are and what you can do to fix them.
“Energy auditors and raters use specialized tools and skills to evaluate your home and recommend the most cost-effective measures to improve its comfort and efficiency, as well as the best sequence for doing them to take advantage of interactions. The rater can also provide independent verification of contractors’ work quality.”
These are indeed some great ways to improve your new home’s energy efficiency, but there are still more things you can do. Your Snohomish County agent can assist you with what works best in your area and, especially, with finding a home that is already highly energy efficient. To make sure your new Snohomish County home is more energy-efficient, contact us today at 425-239-2723.