The median age of a house in the US is 37 years old, and in some places in Europe, houses are even older. Older buildings come with built-in energy inefficiencies — leaks, poor insulation, etc. — that can cost you big money over time. The good news is that some of these problems can be fixed in less than a day at little cost. Here are three quick ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
Insulate your water heater and pipes
The US Department of Energy estimates you can cut up to 16% off your energy bill by insulating your water heater. A good insulating jacket only costs about $30 and takes less than an hour to install yourself.
Don’t forget to insulate your water lines. Water loses heat as it travels through your exposed pipes, so you’ll have to turn up the water heater to get hot water in places further away. Just wrap your pipes with some cheap insulating foam tubes to save 4% on your energy bill. You can do all your pipes in an evening for less than $20.
Unplug energy ‘vampires’
Energy vampires are low-drain electronics that people usually leave plugged in or turned on. Things like monitors, speakers, and phone chargers all quietly suck electricity even when not in use. In fact, almost all modern electronics drain electricity — even when they’re not turned on!
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 13.7% of your energy bill is vampire energy. That comes to hundreds of dollars per year for your average household in a developed nation.
The solution for this one is super simple and costs you nothing: unplug your devices when not in use.
Use low-flow shower heads
Low-flow shower heads do more than just reduce water usage; they also reduce your energy bill. After all, the less water you use to shower; the less energy you spend on heating it.
If you can’t stand the idea of a weak shower stream, don’t fret. Modern low-flow heads can still give you the same pressure sensation of a regular shower head with only a fraction of the water usage.