With the cost of fuel taking a huge bite out of budgets year-round, finding ways to save energy has become more important than ever. While many energy-saving steps, such as foregoing air conditioning or taking shorter showers, involve sacrificing comfort for savings, using less energy doesn’t have to be unpleasant.
In fact, here are five energy-saving home improvements that will actually make you more comfortable this season:
Keep the weather outside
All energy-saving home improvement plans start with taking steps to keep your heated or cooled air inside your home and preventing harsh temperatures from coming inside.
Seal any cracks that lead to the outdoors or unheated areas first, then make sure that your home’s insulation meets the upper range of the recommendations for your area.
Get a programmable thermostat
You may think one of these gadgets is a waste of money if you already adjust your thermostat when you leave your home or go to bed at night. However, a programmable thermostat will make it easier to stick to your resolve to use less energy by turning the heat down after you are asleep and warming things up before you have to get out from underneath the covers.
It also will never forget to turn the air conditioner up before you leave for vacation, and it will have everything nice and cool for you when you return home.
Do something about those old doors and windows
Old, inefficient doors and windows can be huge energy budget busters. Replace your windows with higher rated ones if you can afford it. Don’t overlook less obvious energy wasters such as outdated windows that were marketed decades ago as energy efficient or metal doors that appear solid but may have uninsulated hollow cores.
If you can’t afford to replace the old ones, consider installing storm windows and doors as a good second choice.
Consider a new water heater
The luxury of constant hot water on tap is costly. If you have an old or improperly sized unit, or if your builder or previous owner went with a budget model, you may be paying a lot more than you have to.
Check out your heater’s energy rating and find out how long it would take for a new one to pay for itself and start paying you back in fuel savings.
Your HVAC system makes a difference
If you have air ducts, you may be losing a lot of your hard-earned money due to leaks. A reputable HVAC repair company can put a stop to this by inspecting your ducts and sealing any leaks.
While they are at it, your HVAC professionals can determine whether you can save money by replacing your old system. Newer systems are dramatically more efficient than older ones, and some of them can even make you eligible for government tax credits.
About the Author:
Karleia is a freelance blogger and author residing in Utah. Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her two young daughters.
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