How We Use Energy in Our Homes

Did you realize that one of the largest expenses for homeowners is energy costs? Between heating and cooling our homes, making hot water, lights, and running all of the electronic devices in our homes, we spend a lot of money on electricity and natural gas. Over time, as our home ages, the cost of heating and cooling our home and even running our hot water heaters can increase. The increase may not be substantial enough to notice month to month, but over time, it can make a big jump. Here is how energy is consumed in our homes, and how you can reduce these costs, saving you a bunch of money each year.

Energy Consumer #1

We’ll start with the largest consumer of energy in your home – your heating and cooling system. Older inefficient systems can really cost you a lot of money, this is obvious. However, even brand new heating and cooling systems can be energy inefficient if your home has old windows, drafty doors or poor insulation. Your heating and cooling system, even in a highly efficient home, accounts for almost 40% of your energy costs, so making changes to your home and HVAC system could bring you big savings on your electric and natural gas bill. Make sure that your home’s windows, doors and insulation are working correctly. If windows and doors are drafty or if you have older, single or even early double pane windows, it may be time to consider a window and door upgrade. If windows and doors aren’t your problem, it may be time to reinsulate your home. New attic and wall insulation can keep heat and cool air from escaping your home and costing you money.

Energy Consumer #2

Believe it or not, the second largest consumer of energy in your home is your hot water heater. And, if you have a teenager in the house, your hot water heater could be using as much energy as your heating and cooling systems. Seriously though, on average, your hot water heater accounts for 18% of your annual energy costs. If you are noticing that your water doesn’t feel as hot, takes longer to get hot, or never gets hot at all, it’s time for a replacement. Today’s hot water heaters are highly efficient and can heat water in half the time of older models. Increase your hot water heater’s efficiency by insulating your hot water heater and pipes. If your home’s insulation is old, you may also increase your energy efficiency by having new insulation blown in between walls.

Energy Consumer #3

Your lights account for just less than 20% of your annual energy costs. To reduce these costs, consider switching to energy efficient LED bulbs in light fixtures. Just by switching to LED bulbs, you can save as much as $75 a year on energy costs. Many homeowners also like to install motion sensors in rooms that you don’t spend much time in, like guest bathrooms, utility rooms and entry ways. Motion sensors ensure that lights don’t get left on in those spaces we don’t spend that much time in.

Energy Consumer #4

Did you know that on top of the normal appliances like refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers, the average home now has as many as 20 electronic devices? This includes our televisions, entertainment systems, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones and computers. Many of these appliances and electronics will continue to pull electricity even when they are “off.” Consider installing surge protectors on electronics to reduce this ambient energy use. If your appliances are old, you may want to consider upgrades to more energy efficient options. Making these easy changes could save you as much as $100 per year.

While Martino Home Improvements can’t do much to help you with lights and appliances, or teenagers that take long showers, we can help you have a more energy efficient home with new windows, doors and insulation. Because heating and cooling costs are the greatest in most homes, you can easily justify new windows and insulation with the savings you get on your monthly utility bills. And many homeowners can qualify for rebates and tax incentives from installing new energy efficient products like windows, doors and insulation. If your utility bill needs to be smaller and your home needs to be more energy efficient, let the window and insulation experts at Martino Home Improvements show you how we can help. Call us today at (248) 629-9260 to learn more about energy saving products for your home.

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