Your Older Bay Area Home Can Be Energy Efficient! January 22 2014, 0 Comments
Not surprisingly, today’s newly built homes use energy-efficient home design more than ever before as builders are incorporating features that work to passively reduce its overall energy consumption. Homes that are more energy efficient are friendlier to the environment, but will also provide you with savings for years to come on your energy bills.
“But Starley, my San Francisco Bay Area home isn’t new, it’s old!”
Don’t worry! Even if your home is not recently built, there are plenty of improvements that you can make, in addition to adopting some new behaviors that will help make your home more energy efficient.
Some Solid Steps to Take
Consider Upgrading Your Heating and Cooling System
The biggest energy drain on your home is your heating and cooling system. During the hottest times of the year, your air conditioner alone could account for over 50 percent of your electric bill! Older, more inefficient furnaces waste precious fossil fuel and release pollution into the air. Over the past decade, furnace and air conditioning manufacturers have been required to comply with making their appliances more energy efficient and meeting standards for their AFUE and SEER ratings.
By choosing to upgrade your system, you may reduce your home’s energy usage by 30 percent or more, which means savings in your pocket every month and more available to shop online with one of your favorite home décor shops.
Once you have upgraded your system, keep it running efficiently by having it serviced as recommended. This will also help keep its manufacturer’s warranty in force.
Make Your Home Air Tight
I know I mentioned this in the last post Building an Energy Efficient Home, but it’s so important, I thought I’d mention it again! One reason newly built homes are more energy efficient is that they are more airtight than older homes. You can make your older home more airtight by caulking around windows, doors and molding to reduce air leaks. Fill any cracks or gaps around pipes with expandable foam to keep air from seeping in and out of your home.
Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Consider upgrading the larger appliances in your home to new Energy Star rated models. When shopping for new appliances, pay attention to the yellow EnergyGuide labels to see what your estimated annual energy costs will be for each one before buying. This is especially important for appliances such as refrigerators that are constantly running.
Be sure to unplug smaller appliances when not in use. Even though they may be Energy Star rated, many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power even when not in use. Electronics in your home, including computers, big screen televisions and cable box are often the biggest offenders of this. Even though they go into a standby mode, they still use energy in that state.
Be sure to also unplug all of the many chargers you may have throughout your home for your various electronic devices, such as cell phones, iPods or tablets. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly electric usage by up to 10 percent.
Think Energy Efficient Lighting
With incandescent light bulbs soon to be a thing of the past, fluorescent and LED lighting will be taking center stage when it comes to lighting your home. Consider investing in LED lights over fluorescent bulbs because not only are they more energy efficient, but they also last longer. Many LEDs will last up to 20 years and provide you with a more natural light than fluorescent lighting.
Consider trading your light switches for dimmer switches. You can then control the amount of light you need and save electricity at the same time. Just be sure to purchase light bulbs that are specially made for dimming for the best results.
Most times, making changes to your HVAC system or upgrading the insulation in your home comes when you are set to do some sort of redesign. If you are considering some changes and don’t know where to begin, start by contacting me, Starley Moore, to create an energy efficient home plan.