Slashing Your Power Bill

by Olga Yakimenko 10/18/2020

Image by RoadRunnerDeLuxe from Shutterstock

Heating bills are an engrained part of homeownership. Make some energy-savvy updates to your house that will give you more to spend (or save) throughout the year.

  • Windows: Upgrade old single-pane windows with double- or triple-pane versions with low U-factors (energy efficiency ratings). Repair leaky seals or drafty sashes too. If you can’t replace your windows, cover them with heavy clear vinyl during the cooler months to protect your home from the winter chill.

  • Insulation: Check the insulation levels in your rafters. Over time, loose-blown insulation settles and shifts, leaving gaps and thinner areas. You can purchase bags of loose insulation at DIY stores and use a lawn rake to spread it evenly to fill in where it needs more. Add layers of rolled insulation atop existing insulation for added thickness. Insulation comes in R-values with a higher number denoting better insulation.

  • Go solar. Adding solar panels is an excellent way to reduce energy costs. You can go one step further and install a solar water heater. A flat-paneled solar system that sits on your roof can heat water up to 140 degrees. They even work on cloudy days and have a backup system to augment if necessary. Another use of solar is metal or passive solar roofing materials that allow snow or ice to slip off the roof. These products protect your home from the snow's weight, and any damage ice could cause.

  • Live outdoors year 'round. To get the most from your outdoor living space, roof patios, sunrooms, and porches with glass panels so that winter sun warms the space with radiant heat. Screen your outdoor space with heavy-grade transparent vinyl curtains. That way, you're protected from the wind and chill and heated by the sun.

  • Invest in a smart thermostat. Install a thermostat that adjusts your home's energy usage down while you're away and adjusts up to a comfortable temperature a little before you arrive home for the evening. If you get one you can operate from an app on your phone, you can make adjustments without being home.

For other ideas on getting the most from your home’s energy usage, ask your local utility about a home energy inspection. They’ll check for leaks in vents, around windows and doors, and in the attic and basement, too. If you require a more energy-efficient home, be sure to let your real estate agent know that it's top of your list.

About the Author

Olga Yakimenko

Hi, I'm Olga Yakimenko and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.