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16 Simple Ways To Improve The Energy Efficiency Of Your Home

April 6th, 2023 | 10 min. read

16 Simple Ways To Improve The Energy Efficiency Of Your Home

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Whether you've noticed your energy bills increase, know your AC unit is due for a tune-up, or just have a Green Thumb, you want to improve your home's energy efficiency. 

Improving the efficiency of your home won’t only lower your energy costs and make your home happy, but it will help you become more energy-conscious and help the environment altogether. 

No matter if you make the smallest change in your daily routine around your home or take significant measures to decrease your energy use, you are taking the time and effort to better your home. 

Southwest Exteriors has helped thousands of homeowners improve the efficiency of their homes through high-quality window, siding, and door replacements since 1989. But, we understand investing in a full remodeling project is not always what you are looking for to make your home more energy efficient. 

If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your home’s efficiency, look no further. With these 16 tactics, you can make your home more efficient in just one day, improving your energy costs and comfort while benefiting the environment. 


How To Make Your Home More Efficient In 16 Ways

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. Even if you are an outdoorsy homeowner, the majority of the time, you still sleep inside your home. 

Why not make it as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible? 

Changing how you use energy in your home won’t only improve its efficiency and how it runs, but it will also improve your home’s air quality and temperature regulation. 

Use these 16 simple tactics to tap into your green side, decrease energy use, and improve your quality of life.


1. Repair Leaky Faucets

Check all indoor and outdoor faucets in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and spigots to ensure they are not constantly dripping. 

According to The United States Geological Survey (USGS), one faucet that drips once per minute equates to over 34 gallons of water wasted a year. Think of what you could do with 34 gallons of water. 

Tightening joints around the faucet head and checking under the cabinet to ensure water isn't dripping below will help conserve water and energy. 


2. Make Sure Your Windows And Doors Are Working Properly

If your windows or doors aren’t functioning properly or closing fully, this can allow your indoor air to escape and outside air to come in. This will decrease your home’s temperature regulation and force your HVAC system to work harder. 

If you find any of your windows or doors aren’t working properly and are creating drafts in your home, you may need to replace them. 

Read more about when to know it’s time to replace your windows and doors


3. Ensure All Seams Around Windows And Doors Are Sealed

Any open or damaged caulk and seals around windows and doors allow air to pass through around the seal, both inside and outside. This creates drafts in your homes and wastes energy through your HVAC system. 

If you notice caulk around your windows cracking or peeling, you can easily repair the caulk yourself with high-grade interior and exterior caulking. You can also use store-bought weather stripping around windows to seal drafts. 

On doors, check around the door frame and bottom threshold. This can also be easily replaced, and you can purchase door thresholds at many hardware stores. 


4. Add Curtains, Drapes, Or Other Window Coverings To Your Windows

Adding new window coverings to your windows will help block solar heat, better insulate your home, and help keep your home cooler. 

Whether professionally or personally installed, new curtains or blinds will help regulate the internal temperature of your home and make you more comfortable. This will also take pressure off of your HVAC unit by keeping your home cooler during the hot summer months. 


5. Unplug Unused Appliances

Even if plugged-in appliances are not turned on, they still use energy. Most hold a standby position when plugged in, waiting to be turned on at a moment's notice. This makes them require electricity, even on standby. 

Unplugging any unused appliances during the day or night, such as unused lamps, coffee makers, chargers, or turning off power strips will help decrease your energy use overall. 


6. Unplug And Turn Off Lights And Fans When Away

Along with unplugging your unused appliances when you aren’t using them, turning off and unplugging them when you leave (especially during long trips) will help decrease your home’s energy use and lower your energy bills. 

While timed lighting has its benefits, ensure unnecessary fans, overhead lights, lamps, and other large appliances are turned off and unplugged. 


7.  Install Dimmers To Lighting Units

Who doesn’t love a little ambient lighting as they're winding down for the night? 

Installing dimmers in your most used lamps and overhead lights allows you to enjoy your favorite appliances while using less energy. This will help lower your electricity bills and make your lightbulbs last longer, saving you money in the future. 


8. Change Your Light Bulbs To LED

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, and they last 25 times longer. 

Switching your most frequently used light bulbs with LED bulbs will help you conserve energy, and you won’t have to replace your bulbs as frequently.


9. Adjust Your Indoor Thermostat During The Summer And Winter Months

Keeping your home cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer is a tale as old as time. We’ve heard it all before, but did you know adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees above or below its normal setting can save you 10% per year on your energy bills?

This will help your HVAC system not have to work as hard and help it last longer.  


10. Dust Indoor Fans And Air Vents 

Dusting your indoor ceiling fans and all air vents won’t only improve the air quality of your home but will also ensure your cooling units function better and last longer. 

Removing excess dust and debris will also improve the overall airflow in your home, allowing you to use your cooling units more efficiently.


11. Change Air Vent Filters Monthly

While dusting your air vents helps prevent dust buildup, it's important also to lift up the vent and change your filters monthly.

Filters are made to do exactly as they are titled - filter out what you aren’t supposed to breathe, like dust, dander, and other allergens. When your filter becomes cacked with these contaminants, they will start to make their way from your air vents to your home. 

Changing your air vent regularly improves the air quality and airflow from your vents into your home, which will help make your temperature more comfortable and keep you healthy. 


12. Rinse Your Outdoor HVAC Unit Routinely

Did you know you can wash your outdoor HVAC unit? Gently rinsing all around your unit regularly will keep debris from building up and blocking the airflow. Once the debris is gone, your HVAC unit will work better and ensure the air quality of your home is top-notch. 

It is important not to use a pressure washer when rinsing your outdoor air unit, though, as the high-pressure water could damage the exterior and interior components of the unit. 


13. Collect Rainwater 

Whether you’re an avid gardener or are looking for ways to conserve water, collecting rainwater is a great way to use less water and improve your water consciousness. 

Rainwater can be used to water plants, vegetables, and grass regularly. Collected rainwater can also be used to nourish outdoor wildlife and your livestock. 

You can also use rainwater for flushing toilets and fire prevention (in case of an emergency) and can be filtered and treated for drinking, washing dishes and clothes, and cleaning.  

Rain collection barrels can cost around $50-$175


14. Use Cold Water To Wash Clothes When Possible

Depending on what you’re washing, try not to use hot water if it isn’t necessary. 

Using cold water more often than hot water when washing clothes will save energy through your water heater as you won’t have to use as much electricity to heat the water up. 


15. Leave Your Oven CLOSED When Cooking And Baking

Any average homeowner knows how much using your oven can increase the temperature of your home. But, allowing more air to escape from your oven doesn’t only heat your home up, but it makes your oven work harder. 

The U.S. Department of Energy says that “every time you open the oven door, the oven temperature can drop 25 degrees.This then requires your oven to be turned on longer, work harder, and ultimately use more energy. 


16. Look For Other Ways To Cook Other Than Your Oven

Because your oven uses so much energy and heat, finding alternative cooking methods can lower your electricity use and better regulate the temperature of your home. 

Think about it. When you use your oven, heat is transferred throughout your home, causing you to lower the thermostat until your desired temperature is reached. If you use a microwave, virtually no heat is transferred into your home, and your food cooks faster. 

While, of course, sometimes an oven is the only option for cooking, consider using a microwave instead of an oven or stovetop for reheating or defrosting food. 


Improving Your Home’s Efficiency And Lowering Your Energy Use

Now that you know 16 simple ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you can take numerous small steps to lower your electricity and water bills and better conserve your energy. 

Whether you’re an experienced energy saver or have decided you want to make a change in your home, remember these simple tips to conserve energy and lower home costs. 

  • Ensure all seams around windows and doors are fully sealed
  • Use cold water instead of hot water when possible 
  • Turn off and unplug unused devices 
  • Use alternative cooking methods instead of your oven 
  • Dust and clean fans, air vents, and air units regularly 

Each of these tactics will help improve the air quality of your home, better maintain its internal temperature, and ultimately help you use less energy. This will bring down your energy bills over time, and becoming energy conscious helps better your community and the environment. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we aim to help transform homes through new windows, siding, and doors to improve your home’s efficiency and make your home look great. 

If you’ve noticed your energy bills exponentially increase over the years or know your windows just aren’t doing their job, replacing your old windows drastically improves the energy efficiency of your home by blocking harmful UV and infrared rays and solar heat. 

So, if you want to drastically reduce your home’s energy use and improve the comfort of your home, you need to know what makes a window energy efficient to ensure you choose the right window. 

This article will outline two key questions to ask any contractor about a window’s energy efficiency so you can understand whether they offer the right window for you. Then, you can find the right replacement window that will meet your needs for efficiency and find a trustworthy contractor to install your windows.