How to Identify and Fix Energy-Wasting Habits in Your Home

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Apr 6, 2024

There’s one thing that absolutely everyone who pays bills dreads paying each month, and that’s their electricity bill. In general, electricity rates are known for being pricey—there’s no denying that—and oftentimes, they take up a big chunk of the monthly expenses that households out (outside of rent and groceries). But with that said, why is your bill so high?

While the rate is one reason, it’s also important to try to reduce energy consumption. The best way to do this is to check around your house and see what’s causing all this energy consumption! So, with that said, it comes down to doing an energy audit, and while yes, you could hire professionals to do that for you, it’s technically something you can do yourself (and it’s cheaper, too. So, here’s what you need to know about doing an energy audit in your home!

Start By Taking a Look At Your Energy Usage

So, this might already be obvious, but it never hurts to start with it. So, with that said, the first step in conducting a DIY energy audit is to assess your current energy usage. All this means is to check how much energy your home is using on average. So go ahead and gather up your utility bills, ideally from the past year, and just start analyzing your energy consumption patterns. You’ll want to look for any spikes or trends that may indicate areas of inefficiency. 

In addition, you’ll want to consider the age and efficiency of your home’s appliances, HVAC system, and lighting fixtures, as these can significantly impact your overall energy usage. Sometimes, you’ll see a sticker on these showing their wattage, but you can also look up the model number of these systems and appliances. 

Do You Have Air Leaks?

Now, one of the biggest problems that homeowners (and renters) face is dealing with air leaks. It doesn’t matter what season or time of year it is; if there’s a leak, you’re throwing your money away. So why is this such a problem? Well, it allows heated or cooled air to escape, forcing your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. But how do you know if you have an air leak? 

Well, you’ll want to start by inspecting your doors, windows, and exterior walls. Look for gaps or cracks where air may be seeping in or out. If you don’t see or feel any, great! But if you do, be sure to seal up these leaks with weatherstripping or caulking (both are pretty affordable). 

Is Your Home Well Insulated?

So, it’s not only the air leak that causes such a massive issue; another issue is the insulation itself. You’ll need to check the insulation levels in your attic, walls, and floors to ensure they meet the recommended standards for your climate zone. If your insulation is inadequate or damaged, consider adding more insulation or upgrading to improve energy efficiency and comfort. 

Plus, insulation needs to be replaced about every 15 to 20 years, so if your home hasn’t had it in this time span, then there is a huge indication that it’s time for a replacement. 

Are You Using Older Appliances?

There’s a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to older appliances. They’re built to last a lifetime (if not beyond), they’re super sturdy, and it’s technically seen as eco-friendly to use older appliances rather than throwing them out to use a newer model. There’s some truth to this, to a degree. But at the same time, older appliances are notorious for not being energy efficient! So, this alone could lead to higher energy bills and even an increased environmental impact. 

While it’s entirely understandable if you want to use an appliance you’ve had for decades, this could technically be more expensive, and it’s not too eco-friendly either. It’s a better idea to buy ENERGY STAR-certified appliances. Sure, these can be a bit pricey upfront (unless you buy on sale), but in the long run, you’re saving a lot of money. 

Take a Look at Your Lighting Choices

You really have to keep in mind that your light choices account for a huge portion of energy usage within your homes. It’s something that a lot of homeowners aren’t aware of, actually! So, this is why it’s essential to choose energy-efficient lighting options wherever possible. 

Nowadays, those energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs are super affordable, and more stores are gearing towards selling just these. Plus, they last longer, which is cheaper. If you want to take this a step further, then you might want to consider installing dimmer switches or motion sensors to further reduce energy consumption and maximize efficiency.

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