If you’re like most homeowners, you probably dread the number that greets you at the bottom of your monthly energy bill. Even if you unplug chargers, keep lights turned off, and set your thermostat a few degrees in the right direction, it might not produce the savings you’re looking for. It might seem intimidating to take the next step toward heightened home efficiency, but not every green home improvement project needs to eat through all of your extra time and money.
When you’re ready to make your house more energy efficient without breaking the bank, we’ve got a few easy projects you can tackle on your own over the course of a weekend.
Reduce Your Water Heater Temperature
You expect to get hot water from the tap whenever you turn on the faucet, and your heater works around the clock to keep the contents of its reservoir at the desired temperature. While most models default to 140 degrees, you can actually dial it back without sacrificing your warm shower. To accomplish this task, use a thermometer to measure the output from the faucet farthest from the heater, and slowly turn down the thermostat until you reach 120 degrees. You could save as much as $60 annually while also preventing unintentional burns. This project might also extend the heater’s service life, as it can slow corrosion and mineral buildup.
Seal Unwanted Air Leaks
Heating and cooling are some of the biggest energy expenses for any home, which is why it’s important to use caulk and weather stripping to keep leaks from happening. San Diego might enjoy a year-round mild climate, but there are still a few cool evenings and sweltering afternoons. Whenever you turn on the furnace or air conditioner, the output is going to try to escape through small gaps in your doors, windows and other surfaces. It’ll only take a few hours to seal everything up, but you could save as much as 10% on your utility bill while spending less than $100 dollars on materials.
Insulate Your Plumbing Components
Once water reaches the desired temperature in your heater, it’s only a matter of time before the thermal energy leaks into the outside world. The faster this happens, the longer the heating unit needs to run so there’s always warm liquid available. To slow this process down, owners of eco-friendly homes can apply a layer of insulation wherever hot water resides. Depending on the size of your house, you can expect this project to take less than a day as you cover your heater and pipes with an insulating coating.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
The thermostat is the nerve center of your entire climate control system, as it determines when it’s time to turn on the furnace or air conditioner. If you still have an old-fashioned model, you could be wasting energy. Newer, “smart thermostat” designs allow you to program temperatures for specific times of the day so the heating or cooling unit isn’t running when nobody’s home or at night when everybody is asleep. This project can be complicated, so be sure to follow the instructions provided with the device, and make certain your electricity is turned off before you start. Depending on the size and shape of your new thermostat, you can expect to spend a few hours on the replacement process.
If any of these undertakings seem daunting, you can start small and still achieve significant results. By replacing your home’s incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or LED models, you can cut electricity use and lengthen the time between replacements. Be sure to replace your furnace filters regularly and upgrade to pleated models to keep your climate control device working efficiently. You should also consider treating your windows with film that keeps thermal energy from entering or exiting the building.
Work With an Expert
These are just a few DIY projects to help boost home efficiency, but you can take things even further by working with an experienced contractor to make some bigger upgrades. Energy prices are skyrocketing, so why not take every opportunity to reduce your usage? At Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel, we have more than 40 years of experience in eco-friendly home remodeling in San Diego, so turn to us when it’s time to go green. Contact us to schedule an in-home consultation today!