Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Make your TEXAS House Energy Efficient

Raise your hands if you want to save some money. 
      energy efficient house
Duh, who doesn't! 

By making some changes in your house and in your habbits, you could save 30-40% on your energy bills. Here are some ways to do just that ...
As much as half of the energy used in our homes go to Heating and Cooling. By doing 2 simple & inexpensive things to our home's heating & air conditioning (HVAC) systems, we can have a big effect on our utility bills.

 Check your filter every month, especially during winter & summer, if the filter looks dirty, change it. It's recommended to change your air filters at least every 3 months because a dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to warm or cool your house, thus wasting energy and $$$. 
 Have your HVAC units checked by a professional twice a year (best done in Spring & Fall) ... to make sure all parts are in working condition & ready to go for Summer and Winter! Other ways to make our Heating and Cooling more Energy Efficient are to:
  • Install Radiant Barrierswhich can lower cooling costs between 5%–10%! It's usually in attics (on the walls & floor insulation) as well as around water heaters, pipes, & inside of garage doors. Basically, the Radiant Barrier "reflects" the heat to reduce summer heat gain inside the house, which helps lower cooling costs. Here's a great site for more info on Radiant Barriers & how it can be installed    http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11680 
  • Replacing your windows with Energy Star Windows would be the best, but a great inexpensive alternative would be to Install Solar Screens on your windows, or at least the ones that get most of the afternoon sun. Solar Screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home for lowering energy bills. They essentially reflect the direct sun rays off the screen, create an extra area of shade between the window screen & window pane, and also absorb some of the heat in the screen material itself ... all while still allowing you to have a view out of your window. If you're in the Dallas/Ft Worth area or in Houston, I highly recommend Lone Star Solar Screens!!!
  • Install a Programmable Thermostat & Use it ProperlyKeep the temperature set at its "energy savings" set-points for long periods of time (~8-10 hrs). It's suggested that during the day, when no one is at home, set the temp back 8° F of what you'd like it to be when you get home in winter & set it 7° F up in summer. For the night, at bedtime, set the temp back 8° F in winter and set it up 4° F in summer. Here's a quick & informative video about Programable Thermostats  https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=vid_gallery.showGenYTVideo
  • Apply Caulk and Weather-Strip around windows and doorframes that leak air.

Now that we talked about ways to lower your energy usage for Heating & Air Conditioning, the next biggest energy theives are the Appliances. Best thing to do here is replace them as needed with Energy Star Appliances. I recommend starting with the Water Heater. Speaking of water, if you install Energy Efficient Shower Heads you can save ~10,000 gallons of water a year! In addition, if you attach Low-Flow Aerators to your sink faucets, you can save ~4,000 gallons of water a year!
Energy Efficient House

And last but not least, here are some super easy & inexpensive ways to save $$$ and make your house more energy efficient:
  • Switch your Light Bulbs to those squigly "compact fluorescent light bulbs" (CFL). They now make them with a "cover" so you don't see the weird squigly bulb.
  • Plug all major Electronics into a Power Strip & when you are done using the electronic, turn off the power strip. This is a great electricity saver especially for TV's & Computers.
  • Unplug any Power Chargers/Adapters (like what you use for your cell phone) when the equipment is disconnected from the charger or when it's fully charged.
I hope you're able to implement some, if not all, of these suggestions to significantly reduce your home's energy useage, especially in the hot Texas summers, save lots of ca$h...all while doing a little more to help our world! REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE