A woman adjusting her thermostat

How to improve your home’s energy efficiency

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 20% of what the average American spends yearly on electricity could be going to waste. Drafts, air leaks and outdated heating and cooling systems can all reduce your home’s energy efficiency.

As energy costs continue to rise, not only do energy-saving improvements help the environment, but they can also help you save on your electric bill.

Where does your money go on your energy bill?

To improve your home’s energy efficiency, it helps first to understand where your money goes for your energy bill.

Category Percentage
Heating 29%
Electronics 21%
Cooling 13%
Water heating 13%
Appliances 12%
Lighting 12%

7 great ways to save on your electric bill

Top real estate agents around the country surveyed by Homelight responded that high electric bills make efficient homes more attractive. When it comes time to sell, you may find that homebuyers in your market value energy-efficient upgrades in their new home search.

Because energy-efficient homes reduce your energy consumption, you’ll also spend less on utilities. So, whether you’re putting your home on the market soon or looking to stay awhile, now is a great time to prioritize these seven home improvement areas to save on your electric and utility bills.

  • 1. A/C and heating

    42% of a typical energy bill is spent on heating and cooling. To combat the rising price of power and the strain on your wallet, start with these HVAC tips to conserve energy.

    • Automate your home with a modern, programmable thermostat that can learn your daily habits and cool or heat your home as much as needed. A smart thermostat that meets ENERGY STAR certification may save approximately 8% on your heating and cooling bills.
    • Schedule routine maintenance. This is essential to ensure your system is working efficiently. Family Handyman advises scheduling an appointment to have a system tune-up by a professional once a year unless you don’t use your furnace or AC that often.
    • Consider upgrading your HVAC system if it’s more than ten years old or requires frequent repairs. A new system requires a bigger upfront investment but could be worth it as you’ll save on your monthly electric bill.
  • 2. Appliances

    Installing highly efficient refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines can benefit your wallet. While you may pay more upfront, the cost of operating these products is less than their non-energy-efficient equivalents.

  • 3. Air sealing and insulating

    To save an average of 11% on your energy bill and make your home more comfortable in the summer and winter, properly insulating your home from top to bottom is key.

    Start by sealing air leaks in the attic and around windows, doors and air ducts. Then consider adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, basements and foundation walls. Air sealing and insulation may lower your heating and cooling costs by preventing wasted energy, and you may also be eligible for tax credits for sealing and insulation. Visit the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder to learn more.

  • 4. Lighting

    One of the easiest low-cost steps to light your home for less money is replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient lighting. LEDs last longer, so you won’t need to replace them as often as traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen lighting. While you may be investing more per bulb upfront, the average household saves about $225 per year in energy costs with LED lighting.

  • 5. Windows

    Windows and doors act as a barrier to wind, heat and cold. Unfortunately, they can also be a significant source of heat loss and gain. By reducing the energy lost through windows, you can save on your energy bill and make your home more comfortable in extreme weather. If your windows are in good condition, you can update them by adding weatherstripping, window treatments, storm windows or exterior shades.

  • 6. Water usage

    From fixing water leaks to installing water-efficient plumbing fixtures, decreasing water waste is a great way to lessen your home’s environmental impact. Reducing water usage also reduces the energy required to process and deliver it to your home.

  • 7. Solar panels

    Installing solar panels can lower electric and natural gas consumption and utility bills by converting sunlight directly into electricity. The cost to install solar has dropped more than 60% in the last ten years. In addition, as a current homeowner or new homebuyer, you may be eligible to bundle the cost of an added solar energy system into your home loan with an energy-efficient mortgage program.

How to get the entire family involved in your home’s energy efficiency

Not all ways to save on your electric bill involve home improvement projects and home renovations. You can include the whole family with these five easy ways to reduce energy waste at home.

  • 1. Turn off the lights

    According to ENERGY STAR, the average home has 40 light bulbs. With the cost to light your home accounting for 12% of your electric bill, the whole family can help by turning off lights when they leave a room for more than a few minutes.

  • 2. Unplug electronics and devices

    Every little bit helps. In addition to turning off the lights, turn off fans, TVs, computers, video games and other devices when not in use. Devices can still draw power even when off or in sleep mode. Unplugging them can save as much as $100 per year on your electric bill. Or use a power strip that can easily be switched off when electronics are not in use.

  • 3. Help load the dishwasher

    Believe it or not, hand-washing dishes is more wasteful than running the dishwasher. Even though they use electricity, you’ll save energy and water when you run a full load through an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher. So put down the sponge and enlist the family to help save thousands of gallons of water each year.

  • 4. Plant a tree

    Planting a tree is a simple thing everyone in the family can do. Properly placed trees can provide energy-saving benefits by blocking cold winter winds and offering shade to cool your home.

  • 5. Take showers as opposed to baths

    It takes energy to heat the water used in baths and showers. However, taking showers saves water compared to taking baths.

Energy-efficient upgrades can reduce utility costs, which helps lower your monthly expenses and make your home more affordable in the long run. Whether you’re looking to improve your home, update your appliances or upgrade your home’s air conditioning and heating systems, we have energy-efficient mortgage programs to help you create the home of your dreams. To learn more, connect with an experienced loan officer.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.

By |Published On: November 23rd, 2022|Categories: Guild Blog, Mortgage 101|Tags: , , |

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About the Author: Guild Mortgage

Founded in 1960 when the modern U.S. mortgage industry was just forming, Guild Mortgage Company is a nationally recognized independent mortgage lender providing residential mortgage products and local in-house origination and servicing. Guild’s collaborative culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion enable it to deliver a personalized experience for each customer. With more than 4,000 employees and over 250 retail branches, Guild has relationships with credit unions, community banks, and other financial institutions and services loans in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Guild’s highly trained loan professionals are experienced in government-sponsored programs such as FHA, VA, USDA, down payment assistance programs and other specialized loan programs. Guild Mortgage Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guild Holdings Company, whose shares of Class A common stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GHLD.