Are you wondering how to improve your home energy score? Or maybe you’re wondering what a home energy score is.
Your score assigns a numerical value to show your energy use and your home’s energy efficiency. Think of it as a score or grade for how well you’re doing in keeping your energy use down.
Lots of things go into your score, including how energy-efficient your home and appliances are. Your habits in how you use energy can also impact your score.
Keep reading to learn ways to improve your score so you use less energy.
Take Care of Leaks
Leaks inside and outside your home can make your HVAC system work harder to keep the temperature comfortable. By stopping air leakage, you can save up to 10% on energy bills. Look for and fix those leaks to seal up the issues and keep more of the cooled and warmed air inside your home.
Exterior leaks often happen around windows, doors, and utility pipes, such as where your cable, gas, or water enter the home. Foundations can also be a source of leaks. Find and seal those cracks and gaps.
You can also stop air leakage around doors by adding weather stripping. Caulking around windows can help prevent air leaks.
Inside your home, your air ducts can decrease efficiency. If the ducts have gaps or cracks in them, the heated or cooled air from your HVAC system leaks out before it reaches your rooms. Have a pro check your ductwork and seal up any leaks so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work so hard.
Improving your home’s insulation is another way to make sure the cooled and heated air stays inside. This means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, which cuts down on how much energy it uses.
If your basement and attic are unfinished, you can easily add insulation to those areas. By controlling the temperature in those areas, you keep the rest of your home more comfortable and rely less on your HVAC system.
Improve Your HVAC System
Sometimes it’s the HVAC system itself that’s an issue. Regular HVAC maintenance, including changing the filter, cleaning the outdoor air conditioning unit, and scheduling professional tune-ups, can make your system run more efficiently and save energy.
If your unit is old or has major problems, replacing it with a newer model can cut down on repair costs and reduce your energy use. Choose an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace to improve your energy score even more. Compared to a conventional furnace, an ENERGY STAR model can improve efficiency by 15%.
Are your windows old and inefficient? You could be spending 25% to 30% of your heating and cooling energy due to the heat loss and gain through your windows.
Replacing inefficient windows with ENERGY STAR rated windows can cut down on the energy use. Windows come with coating and film options that reduce solar heat gain, which can help improve your home’s energy efficiency.
If your current windows are in good shape, you can still save energy. When the sun shines directly into windows in the summer, close the curtains to keep heat from coming in. In the winter, open your window coverings fully to let the sun’s heat in to naturally warm your space.
Install Solar Panels
To ease your reliance on the electric grid, consider installing solar panels. On sunny days, you can use the sun’s energy to cut down on how much electricity you need to use. Depending on where you live, you can significantly cut down on your energy bills if the sun can handle the majority of your energy needs.
Searching for solar companies near me can help you find options for reliable installers. You may qualify for federal and state tax credits for installing solar panels, which can offset installation costs.
Use Home Automation
Home automation tools can help you save energy. Smart thermometers are one of the most effective options because you can easily program temperatures based on when you’re home, away, or asleep. You can also use your app to adjust the temperature remotely when you’re not home to reduce how much energy your HVAC system uses.
Lighting control through your home automation system can also reduce energy use. You can easily turn lights off that were left on even if you’re not home. Motorized shades connected to your home automation system can help you block out the sun easily during the day from home or anywhere.
Change Your Behaviors
It might not seem like a big deal to leave lights on or TVs running when not in use, but those little habits can increase your energy consumption significantly. Get the entire family on board with shutting off lights, appliances, and electronics when they’re not being actively used.
Reducing your use of energy-sucking appliances can also help. You might hang-dry your some of your laundry instead of putting all of it in the dryer. Washing dishes by hand instead of always using the dishwasher is another way to help.
When you do use those appliances, wait until you have a large load so you can run it less frequently.
Replace Inefficient Items
Think about all of the appliances and items in your home that use electricity. Some of them might be older and ready for replacements.
Those older appliances can suck a lot of power for regular use. Choosing newer, more energy-efficient replacements can instantly improve your home energy score.
All new appliances are required to display an EnergyGuide label. This label shows you how much energy that model uses and how it compares to similar models. Use those labels to help choose an energy-efficient option when it’s time to replace your appliances.
On a smaller scale, you can replace light bulbs to save energy if you’re still using incandescent bulbs. CFL and LED bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs. The energy-efficient options also last longer than traditional bulbs.
Start Improving Your Home Energy Score
Your home energy score directly affects how much you pay for energy. Improving your home’s efficiency saves money and helps the environment.
Look through our archives for additional help around the home.