Despite climate change trends, winter still announces its appearance in many parts of the United States, and homeowners are preparing domiciles for the coming season.
There are many small measures you can take to improve the comfort of your home and save on energy costs. You can also finance bigger improvements (HVAC, roofing, insulation) to achieve even greater savings.
Little things count
For years, fiberglass insulation was the standard for homes in the U.S. In recent years, researchers found that loose-fill fiberglass insulation was resulting in 50% heat loss in cold climates. With homes getting larger, manufacturers began reformulating insulation to achieve greater energy savings while using environmentally friendly products.
Insulating your attic can save you hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs in most climates. A U.S. Department of Energy funded initiative is exploring nanotechnology to create even more effective home insulation products with a higher R/inch ratio at a lower cost than current projects.
In the past two decades, U.S. homes have become about 30% larger on average, and new products and technologies are essential to maintain or reduce carbon emissions.
Heat pump water heaters are more efficient than traditional water heaters. They use electricity to transfer heat rather than generating heat directly at the source.
A heat pump water heater can be as much as two to three times as efficient as a conventional water heater. One challenge with heat pump water heaters, however, is that they tend to cool the spaces they are located in. So, it’s best to put them in a room that generates excess heat. For warmer climates, an air-source heat pump can be a cost-savings solution for homeowners.
Conserve water and save money by:
- Fixing dripping faucets.
- Installing low-flow fixtures (showerheads, toilets).
- Substituting drought-tolerant landscaping for grass (where practical).
Financing the big jobs
Rebate programs for landscaping are available in many parts of the country, particularly in the Southwest, where water conservation is essential. Many utility companies also offer rebates for installing appliances that are rated for energy savings.
For larger projects, loans from Fannie Mae and other lenders can be sourced for renovations and energy upgrades. Many states have also adopted legislation for PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loans, which can be used for solar, upgraded appliances, roofing and HVAC projects that reduce energy costs.
Tips for reducing your energy costs
There are simple ways to reduce your electric and gas bill without engaging in large projects. Sealing your chimney flue when it is not in use inhibits cold down drafts from entering your home. This tip is similar to weather stripping around door frames, especially at the bottom of the door where cold air is likely to enter.
Clear carpet and furniture that can block radiators and vents from distributing air properly so that heat can circulate freely in your home. Also keep blinds and drapes open to allow natural solar heat to enter your home for heating.
For added efficiency, install a programmable thermostat. An overall energy savings of 10-20% is attainable, depending on your climate and preferred set points. The latest generation of thermostats can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or device, allowing you to preheat your home and keep it operating at maximum efficiency.
First Centennial Mortgage is committed to providing the highest level of service for all types residential home loans and financing. Contact First Centennial to get started – and get your place ready for the weather.