People who live in older homes love the classic architecture and unique design that gives the home character and makes it stand out on the street. But, one thing they don’t love is the massive electric bill that arrives in the mail every month. Older homes are usually not as energy efficient as newly constructed houses, so homeowners are stuck paying much more than their neighbors who live in more modern homes. Luckily, there’s a way to modernize your home’s energy use while still preserving the integrity of your beautiful, older home. Here’s how you can get started:
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.
Regardless of the age of your home, one way to instantly start saving electricity is switching your standard light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or halogen incandescents. Both of these energy efficient choices are estimated to use between 25-80% less energy than traditional bulbs, and last 3-25 times longer. If you don’t want to switch out every light bulb in your home, choose the five lights that you use the most often. Replacing the five most frequently used bulbs with energy efficient lights will save you around $75 a year on your electric bill.
Insulate your attic.
It’s common for the attics in old homes to be poorly insulated. Why does this matter? During the winter, your heater will use electricity to keep you warm inside your home. But, heat rises, and if your attic isn’t properly insulated, the heat will escape through your attic, meaning your heater has to work even harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. It’s recommended you use batt fiberglass insulation and lay it across the ceiling joists, right above the existing insulation. Once this has been installed, your heater will not have to work as hard during the winter, so you will be able to save a great deal of electricity.
Install Energy Star windows.
As a home gets older, more cracks and holes begin to appear around its windows. Each of these cracks allows air to escape from your home, which puts extra pressure on your heating and cooling system to maintain a comfortable temperature. Luckily, you can easily upgrade the windows of an old home to Energy Star windows, which are estimated to save homeowners up to $465 per year in electricity costs.
Use a programmable thermostat.
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now is the time to make the switch to one. A programmable thermostat will work with any type of home, no matter what year it was built. Preset temperatures into this device to control how much electricity you use on heating and cooling. For example, adjust the temperature by 7-10 degrees during the 8 hours you are at work and no one is home, and you can save around 10% on your heating and cooling costs. Although it’s possible to make these changes without a programmable thermostat, many homeowners forget to do so, so a programmable thermostat makes it much easier.
Change the door.
How old are your doors? If they’ve been around since the time your home was constructed, you should definitely consider changing them to make your home more energy efficient. Newer doors tend to fit the doorway better than older models, so they are more insulating and conserve more electricity. If you’re ready to buy a new door, look for one with a steel skin and a polyurethane foam insulation core. This type of door will not need any weatherstripping once it’s installed, so it will save you a lot of time—and a lot of electricity, too.
Add a window treatment.
The less you have to use your heating and cooling system, the less your electric bill will be. To reduce your need for heating and cooling, consider adding drapes to your windows. Closed drapes can reduce heat loss during the winter by about 10%, and can reduce heat gain during the summer by up to 33%. But, be sure to choose the right style. It’s recommended you pick a medium-colored drape with white plastic backings if you want the best results. Keep the drapes hung as close to the window as possible, and let them fall onto a windowsill or the floor. When the drapes are closed, they should overlap at the center to maximize the energy conservation.
An old home doesn’t have to mean wasted energy and high electric bills. Simply follow these tips, and you will get to preserve the look of your home while also cutting back on the electricity you use!