New homes are energy efficient by themselves and, if they are not enough, we can improve them very easily because they were designed taking that in mind. However, old homes are not like that. In the times they were made nobody thought about energy efficiency so, if you live in one you may tackle different challenges than living in brand new homes. The methods are often the same, but some may vary and, in this article, we will review some tips and tricks that will help you to save energy and money, bearing in mind you live in an old home.
Consider to have a professional energy audit. With it you will know where your home is losing energy and how much so, it will be easier for you to decide what to do first and what is more important for your plans. Some stores offer free or very cheap energy audits but you don’t want that. These audits are made by the store so, they will point you the flaws they can fix because, after all, this is the way they earn money. You want an independent energy audit which is not linked to any shop and it is not associated to sell you anything. You want the truth.
If you don’t even want an energy audit, you can start with trivial things that will help you quite a lot and can be done in old homes like buying thick curtains to insulate windows. Energy is often lost through the windows so, insulating them is the way to go. If you don’t have money to change the whole window, adding thick curtains will do enough to insulate them much better and, you can keep them after you do the real work.
It is obvious but dump (actually recycle) all you’re incandescent light bulbs at once and replace them with LEDs or CFLs. They are really worth the money you pay. Check all your doors and windows and look for leaks and warps. If you have some and you don’t want to change, add some weather strips.
Installing low-flow shower heads and aerated faucets will also improve your energy efficiency, and will reduce not just the water consumption but also the energy needed to heat it. Talking about heating, you really need to insulate your heater and your plumbing if you don’t want to lose a lot of energy while transporting the hot water to its final destination. And so that you are sealing and insulating, do the same with the ductwork.
Finally, consider replacing your windows and window blinds as well as your heating and cooling systems if they are not new yet. They are the ones that matter the most for energy saving and, while it may be a good investment and cost you some money, you are going to save it in the long run while you also save the planet from overheating.