Saving money and improving one’s health are two of the most important aspects of living for many families right now. Between worries of getting sick, saving money due to job losses and money constraints, and the upcoming holidays, families and individuals alike are stressed. However, there are a handful of ways to lower your energy bills while simultaneously maintaining — and even improving — the health of you and your family. Consider these five ways you can accomplish greater health as well as make your home more energy-efficient for your family and the earth’s well-being.
1. Energy-Efficient Windows
Air quality in a home is highly important because it is what your family is breathing in each and every day. Not only this, but “[heat] gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use,” Energy.gov writes. This significantly impacts energy and heat costs. How old are the windows in your home, and have you considered repairing or replacing them to improve the energy efficiency and air quality in your home?
New windows can lower energy bills. In fact, depending on where you live, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that you can save up to $501 a year by replacing old single-pane windows with new Energy Star approved models! In this way, your family can save money every year as well as have more efficient and possibly more visually appealing windows in your home.
About 5% of the average home’s energy costs are dedicated to lighting. To lower your energy bills, consider making the lights in your home more energy-efficient. You can do this by investing in more energy-efficient light bulbs, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), halogen incandescents, or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Installing and utilizing timers and dimming features on lights will cut down on energy costs associated with lighting, too.
3. Make Use of Plants Both Inside and Outside the Home
Both indoor and outdoor plants have benefits for your home, too. Adding houseplants around your house is therapeutic, is visually appealing, allows natural life to grow inside the home, and are known to improve people’s moods and productivity. Houseplants can provide clean, fresh oxygen that can be soothing for people to breathe in. Consider decorating your home with houseplants.
Outside the home, strategically planting shrubs and trees around a property can save up to 25% in energy bills. How is this possible? Strategic landscaping will shade the sun from warming a home in the summer and will barricade the home from strong and cold winds in the winter, reducing air conditioning and fuel costs throughout the year. Consider your outdoor landscaping to lower your energy bills.
The ductwork in your home is one of the most important systems in your home, as it impacts the air quality within the house as well as the energy bill costs. Energy can be wasted if your ducts are not properly insulated or if they’re leaking. Be sure that nothing is blocking the registers that allow airflow throughout the home. Clean the registers regularly to ensure only clean air is being circulated throughout your home.
If you are following these precautions and your energy bills still seem to be too high, have your ductwork inspected by a professional. There could be a larger issue at hand that can be fixed, which can lead to improved air quality in your home and lower energy bills for your family.
5. Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling systems are other major components of your energy bills. If one component of your air conditioning system is compromised, it can force your system to work harder. This can lead to reduced energy efficiency levels and increased energy bills despite a subpar performance from your air conditioner. To prevent your air conditioning system to work harder than it has to, regularly clean the unit. Dirty and/or clogged filters are both unhealthy and inefficient.
Heating your home can make up about 42% of your energy bill. Air sealing, insulation, and thermostat settings are key factors when it comes to the heating systems in your home. With the proper maintenance, and perhaps upgrades are necessary to accomplish this, then your home will be more energy-efficient, the air quality in your home will be improved, and you will be helping the environment, too. Your energy bill can even be reduced by 30%. Consider more energy-efficient improvements, maintenance, and perhaps replacements when it comes to your heating and cooling systems.
How you take care of your home and the energy efficiency within it is reflected in your energy bill costs. By making your home more energy efficient with these tips, your family’s health will be improved and your energy bills will shrink. This is the best of both worlds — and you’ll be helping the environment, too. With the help of professionals, some research, and discussions with your family, you can accomplish a healthier, more energy-efficient, and more eco-friendly home today.