“Responsible homeowner” may not be be a very exciting way to describe yourself, but it’ll definitely save you money and keep you warm this winter! We’ve gathered the best tips to make your home energy efficient without breaking the bank so you can enjoy a Portland winter like a pro.
Bonus! Potentially useful tax benefits that initially expired but were then retroactively renewed for 2017 involve energy-conservation and improvements made to your home. The new extension allows you to get a tax credit of 10 percent of what you spent on certain energy saving improvements such as insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, and roofs. Check with your tax professional to see how you can take advantage of this benefit and make your home more energy efficient!
In the meantime, try implementing these DIY home energy saving ideas:
Start at the Source: Walls, Windows, and Doors
1. Add Insulation Especially to Leaky Areas
Escaping heat can become an easy way to lose a huge amount of energy in your home during the winter. You can find inexpensive insulation from Lowe’s or Home Depot to fill in all the areas in your home that might allow heat to escape in the winter or cool air in the summer.
If you have an unfinished attic in your home, adding insulation to it can save energy and money in the long term.
2. Seal All the Windows and Doors.
Use window treatments that improve energy efficiency throughout your home.
Add foam weather stripping for your doors and windows. It’s easy to apply and an affordable way to conserve heat.
3. Use the Sun to Your Advantage
When the sun is out, open window coverings and let the sun heat your home! Sun can pass through your windows and help keep rooms in your home warm without turning on your furnace, making it both cost-effective and energy saving.
4. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Moist air feels warmer AND holds heat better, so you can feel more comfortable even when your thermostat is set to a lower temp.
Create Efficient Systems: Water Heaters, Thermostats, and HVAC (continued below)
5. Lower Your Thermostat - Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Set times that you’re not typically home for cooler temps. Change the heat setting (or automatically schedule with a smart thermostat) from anywhere to avoid wasting energy heating your home when no one is there.
Limit space heater use, which can be more expensive and less energy-efficient to heat your home.
6. Tune Up & Maintain Your HVAC System
A well maintained furnace and vent system will reduce home energy consumption. Check your furnace’s filter monthly and replace it regularly to keep your home systems energy efficient.
Consider replacing an older furnace with a new high-efficiency furnace system.
7. Turn Down Hot Water Heater Setting to 120 Degrees
Many conventional water heaters have their temperature set too high, which can cause you to lose a lot of energy in your home because it’s keeping water warm when no one is using it. Turn the temperature setting down to 120 degrees, which will easily get your clothes and dishes clean without wasting excessive home energy.
8. Consider a Zone Heating & Cooling System
A zone heating and cooling system allows you to heat the areas of your home that need more warmth without wasting heat in areas of your home that don’t need it.
Simple Tricks to Easily Conserve Home Energy
9. Bundle Up!
Pull out those cozy sweaters, blankets, and socks to keep warm without cranking up the heat. You can even add area rugs to insulate floors, reducing the amount of heat energy you use.
10. Adjust Ceiling Fans
Create better airflow by changing your ceiling fans to turn clockwise on a low setting in the winter. This will trap heat inside to keep rooms in your home warmer during cooler months.
11. When decorating for the holidays, use LED lights to reduce cost and energy.
If you want to conserve energy but still want to decorate with lights this holiday season, replace older, incandescent lighting with new LED holiday lights (these use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than the incandescent lights). They also don’t emit as much heat and are less likely to break.
12. Only use exhaust fans when necessary.
Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air up and out of your home. Use them sparingly to save home energy for where it's really needed.
We’re always available to talk through any additional questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone to contact us!
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