Below are 10 easy home energy efficiency tips from certified home energy auditor Brad Brinke. Last Friday he gave a presentation at the Mid Atlantic home and Garden Show. He referred to these tips as low hanging fruit when it comes to home energy efficiency improvements.
Easy tips to improve your homes energy efficiency and reduce bills:
1) Reduce hot water heater thermostats to 120ºF.
- According to Energysavers.gov, for every 10ºF reduction you can save between 3-5% in energy costs. Reducing to 120ºF can also reduce mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.
2) Seal your chimney. I love/hate fireplaces. Half the time it seems like a fireplace just heats the air outside it. When it’s not in use you basically have a hole in your house.
- Brad showed us a chimney balloon that you can inflate to stop drafts.
3) Replace incandescent (old school) light bulbs with an energy efficient ones, like a CFL (Compact Fluorescent) or LED(Light Emitting Diode).
- According to Energystar you can save about $6/year/bulb in energy costs.
4) Replace an old thermostat with a programmable one.
- Brad said this can save you up to $180/yr
5) Change air filters and make sure they are sized properly. If airflow is blocked then your hvac system will have to work extra hard to circulate the air.
- I wrote about changing air filters here.
6) Weather stripping. I think an entire article could be devoted to weather stripping. Weather stripping is a cheap and easy way to make sure there aren’t tiny leaks in doors and windows.
7) Other air Leaks: There are some less obvious places where leaks occur… where different materials meet, faucets, outlets, you name it.
8) Insulation… most homes don’t have enough insulation. Add some!The best way to check for harder to find air leaks is a blower test from an energy auditor.
- Brad mentioned that could try to detect big air leaks. Shine a flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will allow light through.
- Don’t forget to insulate your attic access. Most homes have no insulation over the attic entry which means it’s a big leak. Insulate and weather strip your attic access.
9) Seal leaky ducts. Lots of homes have gaps in their duct work that should be sealed up.
- Duct tape is great for everything but sealing ducts.
- Use foil tape to seal in duct work.
10) Check HVAC vent covers. If you see gaps between the duct work and wall then seal you can seal it up with caulk.
These tips came from a seminar held by Brad Brinke at the Mid Atlantic Home and Garden Show. Brad is a home inspector and energy auditor with ProCraft Inspection Services in Hampton Roads.