Chicago has extreme outdoor temperatures, which have a significant impact on your electric bills. That’s why having an energy-efficient home can be the best solution to keep energy costs to a minimum while enjoying maximum comfort.
According to Electricity Rates, the average electric bill in Illinois is $93.98, with an average usage of 721 kWh. Though this is an average, summer and winter tend to get higher energy costs due to the high and low temperatures.
Make sure your home is optimized for energy efficiency to save as much energy, and therefore money, as possible without melting or freezing inside your house. Energy assessments are essential if you are looking to keep your energy bills to a minimum.
According to the federal government’s Energy Star program, the average household spends more than $2,000 on utility bills. Though this is not an article on how to turn your house into a green home, we bring you some tips you can apply to upgrade your home for energy efficiency and reduce your utility costs.
It doesn’t matter whether you are building a home in the city or taking on a remodeling project in summer or winter; we know you will always appreciate smart tips on how to optimize your energy consumption and keep greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum.
Check out our 10 energy-saving tips to increase your energy savings while enjoying comfortable temperatures. Let’s dive in.
1. Seal Up Your Leaks
Duct systems can be a huge culprit of energy loss. The trim around your plumbing pipes could be releasing the cold air from your house. To fix the leaks, you need to identify them and patch up the connections that have holes.
2. Get Energy Efficient Doors
Choose energy-efficient door materials, especially when picking your front door, to prevent warm air from seeping in through the entrance to your home. Doors with inferior materials and textures can bleed your air conditioning or heat to the outside without you even realizing it.
3. Replace Old Windows
Replacing old or damaged windows is the easiest way to make your home energy efficient. If you feel a draft near your windows, you are letting the heatwave or cold air into your home. Drafts also release the air from your house outside, which can only add to the cost of energy waste. Replace glass windows with vinyl windows to solve your energy efficiency issues. Window replacement makes for a lower energy bill and increases your personal comfort.
4. Turn Off Your A.C. or Heat When Possible
One of the most energy efficiency measures and easiest ways to save money on energy is to simply turn off the A.C. or heating when you don’t need it. Having your A.C. or heat on is wasteful when the house is empty. Furthermore, if you are using an old inefficient A.C., it is best to consider investing in replacing it; the same applies to your heating system. An energy-efficient house is the best investment you can make if you’re considering upgrading your home.
5. Try a Smart Programmable Thermostat
A smart thermostat makes energy efficiency an easy task. These devices are wifi-enabled to control your home’s temperatures and help you achieve your energy reduction goal. Smart thermostats learn your family’s schedule and temperature preference. Once you set your energy schedule, the thermostat will adjust depending on whether you are home, away, or sleeping. Smart thermostats are a useful investment for building owners looking to reduce average utility costs.
6. Zone Your Air
After you’ve made sure that everything in your house is patched up and you’ve done all the necessary air sealing, try zoning for air conditioning or heat use. On the areas of the house where it isn’t needed, or where the rooms are empty, cut it off. You can do this by closing vents in the rooms that aren’t occupied and funneling it into areas where you’re going to need it.
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7. Perform HVAC Maintenance
Annual maintenance is essential to ensure your HVAC system is energy efficient. The easiest maintenance task is changing your filter every six months. Your filter gets clogged up over time. This causes your system to use more energy to produce the same amount of cold air. Clean your outdoor unit at least once a year, remove the exterior panel and hose down the inside of your unit. Use a vacuum to remove any large debris, but make sure you turn the unit off before cleaning it.
8. Use Your Ceiling Fans during Summer
Using the ceiling fan can help cool you off and increase energy efficiency. According to the International Fire Chief Association, ceiling fans reduce energy usage by up to 40 percent in the summer. They use less power and cost less to operate than your air conditioner. Turn your fan on and raise your thermostat by a few degrees.
9. Let the sunlight in
Getting sunlight directly into your home is one of the easiest ways to heat your house. This doesn’t mean opening your windows and doors; on the contrary. Keep your windows and doors closed, and open your curtains when the sun is shining, specifically the ones facing the south. Removing your window coverings is a passive solar technique that requires no effort while allowing you to access one of the most economical and greenest energy options available.
10. Lower Your Water Heating
According to the Energy Department, water heating is responsible for 18% of your home’s energy use. Apart from choosing an energy-efficient water heater, there are some tricks to help you reduce your water consumption and heating bills. Turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120°F helps enormously in saving energy. Consider also insulating your hot water pipes and your water heater tank to lower your bills.
Start Renovating Today
You could save up to 30 percent on utility bills if you decide to make your home energy efficient. Work with professionals and renovate your home to integrate energy conservation measures. Our experts will let you know what types of windows and doors work best for your home and answer all the essential questions that will keep your home as cool or as warm as needed.
Post Update: Article updated October 21, 2022, and originally published on September 29, 2018; the article has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.