Most people are well aware of the importance of energy efficiency in their home, both for the sake of the environment and in order to keep household bills reasonable. However, there is a vast amount of advice regarding energy efficiency, which can make it difficult to know what the priorities should be.
So, let’s keep things simple, and focus on four “golden rules” that form the foundation of any energy-efficient home.
Rule #1: Service your temperature control systems regularly
By temperature controls, we mean whatever systems or devices you use to control the temperature of your home; for example, your central AC, boiler, radiators, and so on – if it’s related to temperature control, it requires extra attention. Not only will servicing ensure you can avoid having to fix inconvenient problems such as your central AC blowing warm air or one of your radiators failing to heat as directed, regular servicing also helps to ensure maximum energy efficiency is achieved at all times. Unfortunately, even the most energy-efficient temperature control devices and systems will quickly begin to lag behind if they develop leaks or faults, so opt for annual servicing to ensure all is well.
Rule #2: Monitor humidity levels
Most homeowners see humidity as problematic for health reasons, but humidity also dramatically influences the way you perceive temperature in your home. For example, if humidity levels are high, you’re likely to feel that your home is too hot – which could mean that you turn your air conditioner to a higher setting. Furthermore, the opposite is also true; if humidity is low, you’re more likely to feel colder, and thus crank the heating up. To avoid excessive bills and energy usage solely due to humidity alone, ensure your home is adequately ventilated; if the problem is particularly severe, you may save money by purchasing a dehumidifier.
Rule #3: Check your windows regularly
Given you will be using your air conditioning system and boiler to cool or heat your home as appropriate for the season, it’s also important to think about how you can maintain the temperature that you set. While insulation is the most common method of maintaining the internal temperature, it’s also important to think about your windows; it’s been estimated that 30% of heat is lost through gaps around windows, so regularly checking your windows are air-tight is incredibly important.
Rule #4: Limit your use of standby
The majority of modern devices have “standby” modes, when the device is plugged in and partially powered, but not fully switched on. Unfortunately, when a device is in standby mode, it’s still drawing a significant amount of electrical power; it’s thought that US households waste upwards of $100 per year on standby power alone. As a result, limit your use of standby in preference of simply unplugging each device when you’ve finished using it.
Ensuring that your home is energy efficient doesn’t need to be complicated. By focusing on the “rules” above, you can be sure that the basics are in place, and that your home’s carbon footprint – and your utilities’ bills – will be as low as possible in the future.