It never hurts to save money as a homeowner or decreasing the impact we have on the environment. This day and age, we are always looking to find smart ways to remain more energy efficient, especially in our homes. This time of year, when the temperature goes below zero, many of us have already implemented some energy-efficient changes that are one-time investments, but here are some easy tips you can manage every day with little effort to keep costs down, especially during the colder months in Iowa Great Lakes.

1. Replace Old Appliances

One of the most effective ways of having a cost-efficient home is to replace old appliances that are nowhere close to being energy-efficient like ENERGY STAR® certified appliances. Replacing your dated appliances will conserve energy and lower electric bills immediately. Low-flow appliances save a lot of water for the average household, including low-flow toilets, shower heads, and washer and dryers that use the appropriate amount of water for each load. High-efficiency on-demand water heaters only fire up when you need hot water. It heats the water up in a heartbeat and then quits burning fuel.

If replacing old appliances with new ones aren’t in your budget, make sure that you’re using appliances efficiently! Take a good look at the manuals, and learn how to minimize their use of energy, like doing full loads of laundry, and filling up the dishwasher. When you’re away for more than a few days at a time, unplug all of your appliances. Wasted energy equals a heftier bill!

2. Air Sealing the Attic

Sealing your attic goes for both old and some new homes in Okoboji real estate. It should be one of the first things to consider when trying to keep your house cost-effective. This can be done by adding extra insulation to your ceilings, walls, attics, including weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows to prevent nasty drafts from coming through, and letting the warm air out! Another benefit of adding more insulation is that it will trap cold air in the house during the warmer months.

3. Warm-up the Water Heater

Older water heaters warm range is between 120-140 degrees which is the average temperature. New water heaters typically turn down to 140 degrees if you turn it past that. Insulating hot water lines and upgrading your water heater’s “jacket” will prevent them from cooling off too quickly between uses. You can also install-on-demand hot water circulating loops that are only activated when you turn on the tap. They turn off once the hot water has reached the fixture. Or you can go out and buy a new energy-efficient water heater to save all of the hassle!

4. Investigate the Furnace

Investing in a high-efficiency furnace will burn less gas, burns at hotter temperature, and produces far less carbon emissions. If it’s out of your budget, consider changing your air filters. By clearing out dirty filters, it helps the air circulate efficiently therefore making your furnace work less. Close the vents in rooms you don’t use very often in order to conserve heat. You can also seal ducts to keep air in the ducts until it reaches an opening. Adding a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to conserve energy. Set it up so that it turns on 20 minutes before you head home.

5. Weather-proofing Windows

Revamping windows with ENERGY STAR® Milgard® efficient windows is your best bet to keep from losing heat in your home. It does take some time and money to invest in, so other more economic ways of preventing your windows from seeping out warmth can include the following:

  • Tinting windows helps insulates windows
  • Closing drapes or curtains
  • Opening blinds to let in warmth created by sunlight
  • Install shrink-to-fit plastic wrap over existing windows Caulking and sealing around window frames

Iowa is no stranger to tax incentives when it comes to energy-efficient practices. Before buying or investing in energy-efficiency, take a look at what the state has to offer. Geothermal heat pumps installed on residential property are eligible for a tax credit up to 20% of the Federal Tax Credit. Homeowners who switch to energy-efficient water heaters will receive rebates of up to $300 for upgrading. Gas high-efficiency cooking equipment rebates up to $500 are also available. Ask Hoien Realty about other energy-efficient incentive programs we know about in Dickinson County.

Posted by Eric Hoien on
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