In this week’s post I want to step a little away from the landscaping and talk about some home improvement tips that I have embarked on in the last few years. All these projects were started with the main intention being to save energy and become a more environmentally friendly household. Some of these will cost quite a bit of money, but there are many that can be quite inexpensive and will prove a huge benefit. On this page I want to give you some ideas and resources that you will be able to use to make your own home more energy efficient.
Ensuring that your attic is properly insulated is one of the best ways to increase your energy efficiency. In the colder climates of the northern states such insulation upgrades have been popular for a long time. But what people in the hotter climates don’t realize is that attic insulation will also benefit energy efficiency as there is less thermal exchange of cold air in the house and hot air outside.
One of the simplest ways to do this as a DIY job is to use blow in insulation and pump it directly into the attic. The pumping machinery can be rented at many hardware stores that will also be able to provide you with the insulation material. In most cases you will be using a fiberglass material which provides a great thermal barrier and the job only needs to be done once.
If you live in a state which is blessed with lots of sunshine and dry weather then solar panels will make a huge amount of sense. Some of the installation costs can be offset against tax so don’t be put off by advertised prices. When it comes to solar panels there are two main types that you can have installed.
The first one is a solar water heating panel, and its objective is to absorb solar rays and pass the resulting heat onto water that circulates the system. Such panels are a great way to provide your household with pretty much all the hot water you could need. But for very sunny areas electricity producing solar panels will probably be the best option. The reason is that you get to use solar produced energy wherever it is needed. And in the summer months it can great help with the cooling of your home as well.
One thing to keep in mind though is that solar panels can still be quite an expensive project and are probably not a DIY job for most households.
Upgrade Heating and Cooling Systems
Many people install central heating systems and air-conditioning units and then just go and forget about them. The first important task for you to consider is to get the equipment regularly serviced, just like you would have your car serviced. This first of all will ensure that it operates efficiently, but will also ensure safety and longevity. When I moved house about 10 years ago we go the boiler serviced and everything seemed fine. Only after a couple of years I decided to find out more about our boiler and it turned out that it was over 20 years old, which kind of explained the amount of oil it was using.
The same was the case with aircon which was so old that the service guy couldn’t get adequate parts. I bit the bullet and had them replaced and the energy usage plummeted. So, if you have older boilers or aircon units then it may be sensible to check out how efficient they really are and get an estimate how much energy you may be saving. You may be surprised how quickly an upgrade will pay for itself, not to mention the benefit it will have on the environment and climate.