When you’re a kid, getting mail can seem like the greatest thing in the world. Whether it’s a letter from a pen pal, a birthday card with money or Sports Illustrated for Kids, a trip to the mailbox and finding something with your name on it, is a real treat. Flash forward 30 years and a trip to the mailbox brings invites to overpriced home cleaning supply parties, offers to switch cable providers and the dreaded utility bill. Many of us cringe as we rip the envelope open thinking “it can’t possibly be higher than last month…” only to find out it is! Why continue to pay outrageous bills month after month, year after year? Wouldn’t you rather get to the bottom of the situation and do something about it? We’re here to clue you in on six reasons your energy bills are higher than they should be.
Inadequate Insulation: To have optimal energy efficiency in your home, you need to be properly insulated from your foundation all the way up to your roof. Sometimes, insulation in your home seems to be an overlooked area until you already have an issue with an ice dam or inconsistent temperatures throughout your home. Insulation is the single most important home improvement project to increase your comfort and save money on your energy bills. (Shameless plug: Lindus Construction performs home performance tests that utilize a blower door testing so that you can identify the problem areas in your home!)
You’re Not Using a Programmable Thermostat: In the winter months, what’s the point of heating a home to a warm temperature when there’s no one there to use it? With a programmable thermostat, you have the ability to control the temp throughout the day and ensure that the home is heated up to your ideal temperature before you arrive home from work or a weekend getaway. It’s a simple solution that can make a big difference over time.
Unreliable Windows & Doors: As the cooler weather sets in, it’s to your benefit to inspect the outside of your windows & doors for cracking and seal them. The use of weather-stripping and caulk around doors & windows will prevent cold air from entering the home, saving on your energy bills. You can also use shrink wrap around your windows if you do not plan on opening them for the winter. If you have older doors and windows, you can install storm doors & windows which can increase your home’s energy efficiency significantly. If your home has single pane windows, consider upgrading to double or triple pane windows. Multiple panes of glass trap a layer of air or gas between the panes increasing the insulating factors allowing less heat to pass through the window. If the space between the panes is filled with argon or krypton gas you will have more insulating power than just air.
Your Furnace Filter: Every furnace has a filter which periodically will become clogged with particles floating in your home’s air. Routinely changing the air filter will not only keep your home’s air cleaner and reduce the strain on your furnace, it will also lower your energy costs.
Your Chimney Damper is Open: The purpose of a chimney damper is to prevent your home’s heat from filtering out through the chimney when the fireplace is not in use. Closing the damper after using the fireplace is a must or the temperature of your home can quickly lower and your furnace will need to work double time in order to get your home back to a comfortable temperature.
Outdated Appliances: As appliances reach the end of their lifespan, you can save beaucoup dollars on your energy bills by replacing them with ENERGY STAR rated appliances, which are certified to use significantly less energy than federal mandates require. The biggest energy guzzler appliance is typically the refrigerator because it runs continuously. Some homes have a secondary refrigerator. There’s nothing wrong with having one if it’s being used for overflow items that don’t fit into your primary fridge, but if it is being minimally used, the damage to your utility bill isn’t worth the convenience of having it.