Save Money on Your Energy Bills: Window Replacement and More
You’ve probably had a relative that goes around turning off lights in rooms once people leave them “to save energy”. While it’s always a good idea to make sure you aren’t using more energy than you need, there are more impactful ways to save energy and in turn, keep some extra money in your pocket. Read on to find out how one homeowner lowered her bills and what else you could do!
A Midwest Homeowner’s Electric Bill
One of our customers, Eliza, replaced all the windows in her Park Ridge, IL home in May of 2014. Her home had 34 windows ranging in size and style. These windows were the original ones from when the home was built in 1950. Eliza came to us looking to replace the old, single pane, wood windows with more energy efficient ones. As Eliza and her family use all the rooms in her home, she decided it was best to replace them all at once.
She was sick of her high energy and gas bills and hated feeling the draft in most rooms. After all 34 windows were replaced, Eliza said “I felt the difference immediately!” She recalls holding her hand up against some of her windows and being happily surprised she didn’t feel any of the outside air. Not only that, she was happy that she could easily open all of her windows, as some of the cranks had fallen off her old awning windows and some of the double hung windows just wouldn’t budge. She added “Being able to open all my windows now that Spring is here makes me so happy.”
Eliza’s happiness lasted well past installation day, though! When her first electric bill came it was lower than she was used to, but she thought maybe it had been an estimate. But after the next few bills came, and then her gas bills when the weather got colder, she was thrilled to see the amount she saved each month.
Then she received a Home Energy Report from her Com Ed, her local Electric Company, and it confirmed even more. She was using less electricity than her neighbors! Not only was Eliza saving money, but lending to a greener environment by using less resources. Needless to say, when Eliza received this report on top of her lower bills each month, she was delighted she had opted to replace all her windows at once – to start saving right away. (See photo of her Home Energy Report.) We enjoyed working with Eliza on her project and are thrilled she is enjoying a more comfortable and efficient home year round.
What’s more, Eliza has been telling her neighbors all about Feldco and shown then her Home Energy Report and has referred more customers to us along the way. Eliza is now actually MAKING money off her project as we offer a referral bonus to customers when they spread the word!
Window Replacement Makes the Greatest Impact
Windows are something you only think about when they are not performing well, and that usually is most evident in the heart of the summer or the middle of the winter. If it’s mild outside, you probably don’t think much about your windows at all. So, when you are thinking about them a lot, it’s probably because of a problem. You may be reminded of their issues with cold drafts coming into your home in the winter. Or, you could be reminded how difficult they are open come spring. If it’s the summer, you might be feeling unnecessary heat with the sunlight beaming through the window panes warming up your home and fading your furniture with harmful UV rays. The more windows you have in your home, the greater the problems.
Replacing Some Windows vs Replacing Them All
It’s true that some homeowners only replace a few windows at a time, or just the windows in the rooms they use most and experience the greatest problems. Even in these cases, homes can become immediately more comfortable resulting in your furnace or AC working less. However, to feel the greatest impact from a comfort and energy savings standpoint, you should consider replacing all your windows.
What Else Can You Do to Save Energy?
If you can’t replace all your windows at once, or already have energy efficient windows in your home, there are definitely other steps you can take to make sure you are maximizing your home’s energy efficiency.
LED Light Bulbs
Gone are the days of swapping out light bulbs in every room and every lamp time and time again. With the invention of LED light bulbs, you are offered a more energy efficient way to spread light in your home. LED bulbs are not only more energy efficient, but last longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs.
There are now more and more applications and styles of LED bulbs. They also serve as directional bulbs, meaning they point light in a specific direction and use the light and its energy more efficiently. You will feel for yourself that less heat is produced with an LED bulb as well. The old incandescent bulbs use electricity to produce light so release 90% of their energy as heat. While LED bulbs do cost a bit more than the LEDs, you won’t have to replace them near as often and they will work much more efficiently for you over time. All of this means long term savings! For more on LED bulbs, read here.
Everything is becoming smarter nowadays and it seems there is an app for everything. The same holds true for your home. The smartest tool for your home is the smart thermostat. These thermostats are designed to save your money on your heating and cooling bills, make your home more comfortable and you can learn more about how you use your energy.
They are smart because they learn your habits and can anticipate when you are home and when you are leaving, adjusting the home’s temperate to follow suit. Breaking your normal pattern? Don’t fret. Many styles come with an app so you can adjust the temperature for your device before you get home. You no longer have to worry about coming home to a cold house after a long winter weekend getaway and waiting hours for your home to warm up. With the app, you can tell your home to start heating up hours before you get home. All in all, a smart thermostat will ensure you use energy more efficiently and keep you more comfortable year round!
Timers for Inside and Outside Lights
Many people use timers for their outside lights for safety. They don’t like coming home to a dark house and/or like folks in the neighborhood to think they are home when possibly on vacation. With timers resulting in lights coming on and going off at different times, it can give you peace of mind when you aren’t at home.
In addition to the safety elements, using timers can help you use less energy. Instead of leaving your porch light or front hall light on all night, as some people do, consider using a timer. This will have the light or lamp go off at midnight for example, once everyone is home and in bed. Every little bit helps, and if you still want the option for light and safety especially at night, you can consider motion sensor lights.
Adjust Water Heater Setting/Vacation Mode
Who doesn’t love a hot shower? Even better, a long, hot shower. What might feel great and relaxing could result in much higher gas bills. Making just a small adjustment to your water heater can help you save anywhere from $30 to $400 a year. You’ll still have hot water come shower time, but your water heater won’t be working as hard to keep the water as hot. Not convinced? Give it a test. If the water heater temperature is set to the maximum, consider taking it down a few degrees. You probably won’t feel the difference.
If you are going to be out of town for any period of time, use the vacation mode on your water heater if you have one. This mode will take the water temperature down to 50 degrees F and start heating it up a day before your scheduled return. Don’t have a vacation mode setting? Just lower the temperature setting manually. No need to heat all that water if you aren’t using it. Just be sure not to lower it too much, especially in the winter months if you live in a colder climate.
Whether you make some small changes as outlined above, or take a more dramatic route like Eliza did by replacing all her windows, there is no doubt you’ll start living in a more energy efficient home. As a result, you’ll be more comfortable year round and have more money in your pocket!