Your Is saving energy really that big a deal for your Poconos-area home? According to the Department of Energy, what you’re probably paying to heat and cool your home is pretty significant. A quick look at energy.gov indicates that, “heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.” With that in mind, here are five tips for creating an energy-efficient home in the Poconos.
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat for Your Heating System:
You really don’t have to sacrifice comfort in order to use less energy (and save money). One way to do that is to make sure you’re not over-heating your home when nobody is around. There are a number of programmable thermostats on the market and you’ll recover any investment quickly with what you save in energy consumption. Some thermostats, such as the one from NEST actually learn your patterns on their own and self-adjust. And if you decide to come home early (or late) you can adjust the thermostat remotely via your smart phone.
2. Add Attic and Wall Insulation:
Your home probably has insulation already, but if it was put in several years ago it may not be at the levels that are recommended today. On top of that, it’s probably not as effective as current insulation. It may take you a few years for your savings to fully recover the cost—but your comfort level will increase immediately.
3. Check and Reset the Thermostat on Your Water Heater:
This small change won’t cost you anything to implement and can save you some money. If you have your hot water set too high you’re paying to keep it hot all day and night. Try turning it down incrementally until you get it to a level that your comfortable with. You don’t have to settle for lukewarm water, but you also don’t need to pay for scalding hot water.
4. Consider Fuel Sources If Your Replace Your Furnace:
Generally speaking, heating with natural gas is more affordable than heating with electricity. If you have access to natural gas in your area, a newer high efficiency gas furnace may be worth installing. New furnaces (and water-heaters, for that matter) will have their average energy consumption posted. Check with your contractor before you install. And while you don’t want to over-do it when installing a new furnace, an underpowered furnace has to work harder and can actually cost you more.
5. Install Energy-Star Appliances:
This is almost a “no-brainer.” As you replace appliances make sure your new appliances have an EnergySTAR approval sticker. Compare energy use of the devices you’re planning to install as even EnergySTAR approved appliances can differ greatly in their energy use.