Depending on which state in the US you live, your monthly electric bill can be $80 to $168. If you think your utility bill is higher than it should be, your home may be less energy-efficient than you’d like. Fortunately, there are steps you can take and simple renovations you can do to make your home more energy-efficient and lower your monthly bills.
1. Replace or Install New Insulation
We all know that hot air rises and can escape from your attic and roof. If too much heat escapes from walls, ceilings, the roof, and other areas that can use insulation, the house gets colder, and you are forced to turn up the thermostat. Check the insulation in your attic and roof. Hire a contractor to replace any damaged insulation or install insulation in areas that don’t have it. Other fixtures to check for insulation are your windows. Old windows with gaps or are misaligned and don’t close altogether contribute to heat loss, so change them out for new ones that fit better and have better insulating properties. Insulate your basement as well so that there are no gaps where cold air can get into your home in winter.
New insulation can cost between $927 to $2,077. That depends on your location, the amount of work, and the areas to be insulated. The upfront cost of a full insulation job may seem a lot, but once it’s done, your home can retain heat better in winter. You’ll use the heater less and eventually get that money back from lower bills each month.
2. Change the Water Heater
An excellent way to lower your electricity consumption is by changing your water heater to an on-demand or tankless water heater. These can cut your hot water energy use by half. Traditional water heaters use up a lot of energy since it fills the internal tank of 40 to 50 gallons of water, heat it to the desired temperature, then works continuously to keep the water at that temperature.
Tankless or on-demand water heaters use much less energy since they only heat the water as they’re connected to the faucet or the shower is turned on. You can also insulate the water lines of your water heater so that the heat doesn’t dissipate as fast when you turn it off. These newer types of water heaters use 30 to 50% less energy to heat the water and can save you as much as $100 a year on heating bills.
3. Let There Be (Better) Light
Replace your old lamps or bulbs around the house with LED lights or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) since these use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last anywhere from six to fifteen times longer. You can make the lights in rooms even more energy-efficient by installing dimmers so that you can turn down and control the light’s intensity and further reduce their energy consumption.
If you use porch or garden lights to illuminate your outdoor spaces, change them to solar-powered lamps that charge in the daytime, then automatically switch on when its sensors don’t detect sunlight. Solar lights provide free lighting for the entire evening and switch off again at sunrise to recharge.
4. Replace Old Appliances
While not technically a home renovation, your appliances may as well be part of its fixtures since you can’t have a functioning home without a refrigerator, freezer, gas range, gas or electric oven, dishwasher, or washing machine. Should any of these be old or defective, they are more likely to use up more energy. For instance, refrigerators from the 1970s consume five times more electricity than today’s models. Replace them with newer, better functioning, and more efficient appliances. Be sure to get ones with the “Energy Star” rating so that you know they are certified to be energy-efficient.
Some of these renovations may seem costly, but they can return the cost by making your home more energy-efficient and lower your utility bills each month. If the upfront cost is too high, you can do these energy-saving renovations one at a time to save money for the higher-priced measures.