To save money and improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’ll want to start with its outer shell – the walls, windows and doors – then move to the inside spaces.
- Insulate the walls and attic. Old homes with big attics are notorious for leaking air due to inconsistent or thin insulation. If you hire a contractor, make sure they use an infrared camera during and after installing fiberglass, cellulose and most foam insulation, so they can see any voids or gaps.
- Replace or upgrade windows. Replacing single-glazed windows will give you one of the biggest bangs for the buck, because ENERGY STAR-rated replacement windows are typically $15 more than other windows, and can result in a savings of about 12% in heating and cooling bills.
Replace your old furnace. The age of your furnace may determine what you should do about it:
Built before 1992 with a standing pilot: You may be wasting up to 35% of the fuel it uses. Replacing it with a condensing furnace with annual efficiency of at least 90% will save you more than 25% on your bill.
Built after 1991: Ask a heating service technician or energy auditor to determine the efficiency level.
Improve your hot water heater’s efficiency
- Install “on demand” hot water circulating loops and low-flow fixtures
- Insulate the hot water lines
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting
Change air filters and tune up your HVAC equipment. An annual HVAC tune-up can help your system work more efficiently. You can also install a programmable thermostat and check to make sure all ducts are property sealed.
Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The lighting cost of a CFL is less than one-third that of incandescents.