Make your home energy efficient from the inside out
Creating the energy efficient home.
Most people are interested in saving energy—if not to save the planet, then to save money. That’s pretty clear. But not everyone has an easy time saving if their home isn’t equipped to save as much as they want. Take, for example, one of our responsible energy users. She is diligent when it comes to regulating the AC during the summer, making sure her kids turn off the lights when they leave a room, and not using big appliances during price spikes (which, as a Griddy member, she finds out about when they happen). And besides, just by being Griddy and getting real-time electricity prices, she saves a ton of money every month. But even after all of that saving, she thinks she could be saving more. And, living in an older home with poor insulation, she’s right. Her home is holding her back from saving as much energy as she could be saving. Plenty of people living in older homes find themselves in similarly frustrating situations. Whether you’re building a new home, doing a full renovation, or tweaking a few things here and there to increase your home’s energy efficiency, we’ve listed some steps below to make sure your home is set up to save as much as you want.
Assess your home with a DIY energy audit.
If you’re doing a revamp on your home, start by figuring out how much energy it’s causing you to lose. There are professionals who can come out and do a full energy audit, but you can also dive in yourself by doing a quick walk-through to figure out areas you can improve.
Check for air leaks.
Sealing up air leaks can save 10-20% per year in energy savings. To find air leaks, you can do a pretty easy visual inspection. Starting with the outside of your home, walk around the perimeter and inspect every spot where two different materials meet. For example, find areas where the foundation of your house and the bottom of the siding meet. Also check outdoor water faucets and all exterior corners of your home. Check the exterior caulking around doors and windows, and make sure exterior storm doors as well as primary doors seal tightly. Inside your home, you’ll want to check these spots for cracks or gaps:
- Electrical outlets
- Door and window frames
- Fireplace dampers
- Vents and fans
- Attic hatches
- Electrical and gas service entrances
Once you’ve found your home’s weak spots, you can patch them up with caulk and weatherstripping. If you need some help, this could be a good time to call in a professional.
Check the insulation.
Older homes are often really poorly insulated. When your home was built, the recommendations for insulation were likely far lower than they are today. To check your levels, you’ll need to do some attic crawling. Look for openings in pipes, ductwork, and chimneys and seal any gaps with an expanding foam caulk. Also check for a vapor barrier under the attic insulation—if you don’t have one, you can buy vapor barrier paint to reduce the amount of water passing through the ceiling. While you’re checking insulation in the attic, make sure that none of the attic vents are blocked. Seal electrical boxes in the ceiling with flexible caulk and cover the whole attic floor with the correct amount of insulation. Since checking your wall’s insulation is more difficult, you may want to have someone come in to check and properly insulate the rest of your house.
Take a look at your heating and cooling equipment.
A professional should come out and check and clean your equipment about once per year. If you’ve already had that done this year, just do a quick check yourself to make sure the filters are good to go and that the ductwork doesn’t have any air leaks. If the equipment is more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to replace it with energy efficient units.The rest of the audit will involve checking your lighting and appliances, but you’ve likely already optimized those if you’ve committed to revamping your home for energy efficiency. If you haven’t, consider updating the items using the most electricity in your home.
Make energy efficient updates.
After you’ve completed your home’s energy audit and addressed any of the issues brought to your attention, you can go even further with your energy efficient home updates. For example, you could look into replacing bigger parts of your home—like your roof. Cool roofs are roofs that use highly reflective material to reflect instead of absorb heat from the sun. This can make a big difference in your home during the summer months. You could also consider replacing your windows for energy efficient ones. Of course, the energy audit and all its subsequent repairs could take a decent amount of time and money, so consider it a long-term project.
Save even more with a smart energy provider.
Once you have your home completely equipped to help you save, you can use smart home technology to control the temperature of your house and the lights—even when you’re not around. And if you’re a Griddy member, you’ll already be saving a ton on electricity just by getting real-time prices, so when you add in the power to know when prices are low or high (or free!), the amount you can save is almost limitless. Welcome to Griddy.