Ideas for making home more energy efficient

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with Proactive Maintenance

Energy costs can do a number on your after-tax income, consuming 5 to 22 percent of your hard-earned wages, according to a study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).
If you live in the Louisville area, which is where we energy efficient experts reside and do work, you spend an average of $270 a month on energy costs with an electric bill that weighs in at $131, which is the 21st highest among the 50 states. For comparison, the priciest place to live is South Carolina with a whopping average monthly electric bill of $173 while New Mexico residents have the lowest average of $90.

The data is troublesome. Energy costs are going up, natural energy resources are running thin, and Americans must invest in the efficiency of their homes in the same way they invest in their retirement plans in order to better prepare for the future. A small investment to increase your home’s energy fitness saves money and makes for a more comfortable house in the frigid winter months and blistering summers, while creating a more durable and valuable home. Specifically, you will need to focus your attention on updating your lighting system and electrical service panel, while considering the use of a smart thermostat and power strips, and taking a closer look at the efficiency of your windows, doors, and insulation.

Update Your Home to Energy Efficient LED Light Bulbs

It is time to retrofit your home’s lighting situation to energy efficient bulbs if you haven’t already. The U.S. Department of Energy says that energy consumers can save $75 per year by replacing their current bulbs to LED bulbs in the five most utilized light sources in their home. If your home is still loaded down with conventional incandescent bulbs or fluorescent lighting tubes, you must make the switch to LED because the change can save up to 75 percent on your electric usage, and can last for up to 50,000 hours

In addition to working more efficiently, LED lights expend less “waste heat” than conventional bulbs, so the AC doesn’t work as hard at your house, and overall, they provide a more pleasant “feel” than fluorescent light. Also, rebates are offered for switching to LED bulbs; the most prominent being the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program.

A solid electrical contractor can put together a lighting maintenance plan, incorporating energy efficient lighting from ambient and accent to task lights that breathe life into your living environment and lower your electric bill.

Update Your Outdated Electrical Service Panel for Safety and Efficiency

Old electrical service panels can cause significant issues in your home. Safety is the key factor because new appliances tend to overload old electrical panels, which can cause melted electrical wires and fires if overheating occurs.

Essentially, your electric company supplies your home’s power, and that energy runs through your home’s service panel to redistribute the electricity to certain parts of your house. An outdated panel is not efficient in distributing power, which can cause lights to flicker, crackling and corrosion of wires, fuses to blow, and a failure to “trip” the circuit breaker in some cases that can lead to shock. These things can cost you money through poorly distributed power, or through major repairs to the entire system due to overheating.

Install a Smart Thermostat to Create an Energy Efficient House

Smart thermostats adjust the temperature in your house like a regular thermostat, but they do much more toward cutting costs. Smart thermostats perform according to your behavior. For example, you can set a timer to shut off the system when you leave for work and restart before you get home, so that the house is at a comfortable temperature when you arrive. They also allow you to change the settings remotely from your phone in case you forget to turn off the thermostat when you leave your house for an extended period of time. In addition, smart thermostats consider ambient conditions like humidity when adjusting, and give you real-time spending costs.

Use Smart Power Strips to Avoid “Phantom Power Drain”

Standard power strips with a surge protector are a great choice for many reasons. They allow you to expand the number of electrical outlets throughout you home and save your electronics from permanent damage if the power spikes because of a lightening strike, power outage, short circuit, or tripped breaker. However, Smart power strips go one better by preventing “phantom power drain” or “vampire draw”, which is what normal power strips do—suck energy—even when an electronic device is idle while plugged into it. Smart power strips block this occurrence, and can save you money by keeping your computer, printer, television, DVD player and other electric devices from draining energy even when they are in stand-by mode.

Install Energy Efficient Windows, Doors, and Insulation to Reduce Costs

To create an all-around energy efficient home, you must pay some attention to your windows, skylights, doors, and insulation. As much as 40 percent of your home’s energy is lost because of air leaks through gaps and holes. If extra insulation is properly installed along with creating an airtight home design, you will not only reduce your energy costs, but assist with keeping out allergens and pests.

The following is the criteria for doors and windows:

  • Doors
    • Create a tight seal between the door and the door jam for maximum energy efficiency. A magnetic strip can be used to create a seal that eliminates air leakage around the edges.
    • The core material of doors that are the most energy efficient are made of fiberglass, wood cladding, or steel with a polyurethane foam core.
    • For doors with a glass panel, double or triple insulation panes significantly reduce heat flow.
  • Windows
    • Two, three or more panes of glass with air or gas in the middle provide better insulation than a single pane window. Nontoxic gas like krypton or argon insulate more efficiently than regular air.
    • “Low-E” glass has a coating that keeps the heat outside on a hot day and the heat inside on a cold day, and reflects infrared light, which helps protect furnishings from fading or discoloring.
    • Warm edge spacers insulate the pane edges, reducing the transfer of heat through the window.

To assist you with your home’s electrical efficiency in the Louisville area, contact Can Do Electrical Services, a trusted family-owned company that will work with your specific needs to create a plan to cut your energy costs and create a safer home for the years to come.