Written by Spotloan

Energy efficiency in our homes is important for two reasons: costs and comfortability. While most of us are looking for ways to save money, few of us are interested in turning the heat all the way down, wrapping ourselves in a dozen blankets, and wearing gloves inside to stay warm. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of practical and affordable ways to make our homes more energy-efficient, budget-friendly, and as a result, more comfortable, too. We’ll start with one of the easiest ways to stay warm without losing money to the heating bill:

Check for Drafts 

Leaky windows and doors can drain the heat from your home during the winter and let too much of it into your home in the summer. But this common problem has some simple and cost-effective solutions. 

Once you locate any drafty areas in your home, use caulk, spray foam, weather stripping, or door draft stoppers to keep your home more comfortable throughout the year. Sealing leaks is a quick and easy way to hold on to your heating and cooling without breaking the bank.  

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward

Adding insulation in the attic or garage is another way to help moderate the temperature in your home. This will cost a bit more than caulk, but it will pay off quickly. 

Strategically Add Appliances 

Running your central heating and cooling systems all day and night can be costly. Give them a break now and then by using energy-efficient appliances like space heaters and box fans. But be cautious about how often and where you’re using them. 

Blasting a space heater in each room around-the-clock won’t help you save, especially if you’re heating a handful of empty rooms. But running an electric fireplace, space heater, heated blanket, or even a heating pad or two when everyone is gathered in the same space can help. 

Let There Be (Softer) Light  

By no means do we expect you to sit in the dark at home all day, but we do recommend reevaluating how often you need to turn on the lights. Often, we enter rooms and turn on lights out of habit. But during daylight hours, we rarely really need to. 

And when we do need the lights on, some light bulbs are built better than others. LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy than traditional bulbs, and they last up to 25 times longer. Since they’re easy to find and just as affordable as traditional light bulbs, swapping them out makes for an easy and efficient DIY weekend project. 

Adjust the Thermostat 

Our bodies are incredibly adaptable, and we likely won’t notice a few extra degrees in the summer or a few less in the winter. But our bills can pick up on even the slightest differences. Throw on an extra layer this winter, heat up a drink, and get cozy while you test out your new temperature setting.  

The Department of Energy estimates savings of about one percent for each degree of thermostat adjustment per eight hours. They recommend turning the thermostat back by seven to ten degrees from your normal setting for eight hours per day to save up to 10% annually. 

Always Choose Energy Star 

Eventually, our appliances and some important home components run their course. If you’re already in the market for new windows, screen doors, a washer or dryer, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a water heater, or another important item, look for the Energy Star seal. 

These products may cost a bit more up-front, but they will save you money in the long run by improving your home’s energy efficiency. And they’ll improve the comfort of your home in the meantime, too. Energy efficiency should be both a short-term and long-term goal. 

Appliances, including the ones listed above, account for a significant portion of a household’s energy consumption. While it may not be cost-effective to replace all of your appliances at once right now, it would make sense to replace them with Energy Star-certified alternatives as needed.