5 improvements you can make to save on your energy bills
These days, it seems like the cost of just about everything is going up. This spring, higher global oil prices, combined with inflation, are especially driving up the cost of electricity, especially as we head into peak electrical demand over the summer. If you haven’t already, you’re going to start seeing higher electric bills coming in the mail. Now’s the time to be proactive and work to lower your electric bill.
Ultimately, there’s little any of us can do to control the cost of electricity. What you can control is how much of it you use. By making your home more energy-efficient, you can greatly reduce the size of your utility bills, canceling out the pricing increase you’d otherwise be seeing due to inflation. Start wherever you’re comfortable, from changing out your lighting to implementing some of the ideas in this article.
In this article, we’ll call out five energy-efficiency home projects that you should consider taking on to lower your electric bill this summer.
1. Insulate your attic to lower your cooling and heating bills
The insulation in your attic helps trap cooled and heated air—depending on the season—in your home below, while also keeping heat energy from the roof from raising the inside temperature during the summer. Your home’s attic insulation plays an important role in your property’s overall energy-efficiency.
Unfortunately, many homes have an insulation problem: they don’t have enough of it. Many older homes were built with minimal insulation—prior to a certain point, electricity was generally inexpensive, so home builders didn’t design or construct homes with energy-efficiency in mind.
There’s a few ways to determine how much insulation you currently have and how much more might be needed. The simplest is to measure the depth of the insulation. If you own an older home, you probably have R-15 insulation that’s about 4-5 inches deep. That’s really not good enough. Even 6-7 inches should be augmented by more insulation.
Here in New Mexico, you really want insulation between 14-18 inches in depth. If your attic isn’t quite there, then you’ll need more insulation added. Read this guide from the Insulation Institute to learn more about how to calculate and measure your current insulation.
2. Seal any gaps or cracks around your home
All the attic insulation in the world isn’t going to help a home that has other significant air leaks. Seeing daylight under your front door? Have a crack in your window frame that lets a breeze through? Any gaps or cracks that expose the inside of your home to the outside are undermining your attempts to save money.
This might be the most beginner-friendly of all energy-efficiency DIY projects. All you need is some caulk and weatherstripping to seal around your doors, windows, vents and more. Spend a few hours doing this inside and outside of your home, and you’ll be well on your way to lower electric bills moving forward.
3. Have Wagner seal your home’s air ducts
While we’re on the subject of sealing gaps and cracks, there’s one area of your home where this is vitally important—and where you’ll need to bring in a professional. As your home aged from the day it was first built, its air ducts have moved and shifted with the house settling. This can cause ducts to separate, develop cracks and pinholes, and encounter other kinds of air leaks. Leaking ductwork is a major contributor to energy waste in your home—it means that every time you turn on the thermostat, in any season, you’re losing air you already paid to cool or heat.
Here in Albuquerque, you’ll want to give our team a call and have us out to inspect your home’s air ducts. Using specialized tools, we can find even small air leaks in your ducts that are adding up to big energy waste. By repairing and sealing these leaks, we can help you cut down on your summer electric bills.
4. Make the switch to a tankless water heater
Your home has quite a few electricity-hungry appliances. But, they’re typically turned off when not in use. There’s one particularly energy-hungry one that you’re probably not thinking about, however: your water heater. If you have an electric water heater, you’re paying for it to heat and then store hot water around-the-clock. This can quickly start to add up. Next to your HVAC systems (more on those below), your water heater is one of the most energy-demanding appliances in your home.
When it’s time to replace your current water heater, you should strongly consider upgrading to a tankless system. While these systems do cost more upfront, they’re far more energy-efficient, saving homeowners an average of 30% on the cost of heating water for their home. Plus, tankless water heaters can generate unlimited hot water for your home—a major game-changer for large families.
5. Schedule an air conditioning or heating checkup
This is less of a home improvement and more of something you should do every year. Have the friendly experts here at Wagner inspect and tune up your air conditioner in the spring and your furnace in the fall. Routine maintenance isn’t just about ensuring everything continues to run (although that’s important, too!). Getting a cooling or heating checkup from our team will lower your energy usage and, ultimately, your electric bills.
It isn’t rocket science: when your air conditioner is running at its best, it needs to run less to cool your home. Even small increases in its efficiency can have a major impact on your electric bill. In most homes, nearly half of the entire electric bill goes to cooling (or heating) alone.
There’s a number of reasons why a cooling or heating checkup just makes sense. Contact our team to schedule yours today.
Watch: See even more ways to make your home more efficient
When it comes to making your home more energy-efficient, we’ve only scratched the surface in this article. Watch this video to see even more ways you can boost the efficiency of your home.
Get even more tips from the experts at Wagner
Ready to save money on your electric bill by improving your energy-efficiency? Your friendly local pros here at Wagner are here to help. From replacing your air filters to installing smart switches and outlets that can be programmed to use less energy, our technicians, plumbers, and electricians have a number of ways to help you save money this summer.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your energy-efficiency improvements.