Inflation and High Energy Bills Shines Light on Efficient Homes

Americans have a lot to be upset about right now, what with high gas prices, record inflation, and the struggle of finding affordable housing. It’s almost like we’re in an unending loop of crisis after crisis. On top of all that, Americans are feeling the effects of climate change and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

Despite President Biden’s urges for Congress to pass a 3-month tax holiday in an effort to lower gas prices (it’s estimated that it would be a $0.18 per gallon savings), gas prices still remain high. Combine that with the cost of other fuels like natural gas, heating oil, and propane, utility bills are certainly causing grief.

Now, you might be thinking that hey, it’s summertime so I don’t have to worry about the cost to keep my home warm. This is true, but now homeowners are faced with high electric bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity prices are poised to increase by 3.9% in August 2022. 

That might not seem like a big increase, but when you’re already pinching pennies, any price increase is going to hurt.

Inflation and High Energy Bills Shines Light on Efficient Homes

Does Inflation Affect Energy Savings?

In an effort to reduce their impact on the world, people were building energy efficient homes. Not only do energy efficient homes reduce the homeowner’s impact on the climate, some homes feature renewable energy systems, typically in the form of solar panels. 

When utility companies increase rates, the value of every kilowatt-hour and BTU saved increases. In otherwords, while the amount of energy saved is the same, homeowners with energy efficient homes are saving more money because they aren’t saddled with a rising electric bill. 

How to Save On Energy Costs

If you’re interested in saving as much money on your utility bill but can’t afford to build a whole new energy efficient house, we have some ways you can make your current home more energy efficient. 

Upgrade windows

Just imagine how much energy is wasted due to windows that cannot contain hot and cold air inside the home. Older homes are notorious for energy inefficiencies due to drafty windows and doors. Even if you have a newer home, unless your windows are insulated with argon gas between two panes of glass with low-emissivity coating, you probably have energy loss to some degree. 

Upgrading your windows will be a large expense because you’re going to be paying $600 or more for each window. However, it’ll be worth the investment because you can save up to 50% on your energy bills.

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs

It’s time to say goodbye to your traditional incandescent light bulbs because there are more energy efficient bulbs available. It’s true that energy efficient bulbs are more expensive, but they tend to last longer, which means you won’t have to replace them nearly as often – a savings in and of itself!

If you’re hoping to sell your property and have opted for LED bulbs that work with Alexa and Google Assistant, that could be a perk for some buyers. 

Upgrade to a tankless water heater

Your hot water heater uses a lot of energy – more energy than other appliances in your home. By upgrading to a tankless water heater, your hot water will heat much quicker and when you need it. Whereas your traditional water tank is going to waste energy when it’s not being used. 

If you want to upgrade to tankless, it can cost anywhere between $525 and $1,200. On top of the initial cost to buy the unit, you’ll be paying between $800 to $1,500 for installation. 

Update your HVAC system

Your HVAC system may work fine, but when you upgrade your system to an energy efficient unit, your energy usage is going to decrease significantly. Electric HVAC systems use 50% less energy and a gas furnace heating system will use 10% less energy than non-energy efficient units. 

Keep in mind that your true energy savings will depend on personal usage and your region. Also, you’ll want to schedule annual servicing to keep the unit in proper working order. 

Replace existing appliances with EnergyStar appliances

Replacing your existing appliances with EnergyStar appliances is also another energy saving investment that’s going to be costly. But, that doesn’t mean you have to replace all of your appliances at once. You can replace appliances as needed, which is helpful for those on a budget. 

When you’re choosing appliances, think about the design of the unit. For example, front loading washing machines use less water and bring out more water during the spin cycle (which means your dryer won’t have to run as long). 

Improve insulation where you can

You can save between 10% to 50% of your heating bill by improving your home’s insulation. The primary space you should focus on is the attic, but you’ll also want to improve insulation in the basement, garage, and crawl space as well. 

The type of insulation you choose will affect the overall cost and the effectiveness. Blown insulation is the optimal choice but installing any type of insulation will make a difference.

Install a fireplace insert

If you have a fireplace, a fireplace insert can reduce the amount of heated air loss via fireplace. The insert makes your fireplace more effective at heating your home, which helps cut energy costs in the winter. You’ll want to hire a professional to install the unit to ensure there’s proper ventilation and energy efficiency. 

Make Energy Efficient Upgrades to Cut Energy Costs

Americans are paying a lot of money for just about everything and it doesn’t look like anyone has any solid plans to ease the financial strain it’s putting on us. While it can be disheartening knowing that our dollar isn’t stretching as far as it once did, there are ways we can offset those costs. 

Energy efficient upgrades aren’t cheap, we know that. However, look at them as an investment. Over time, any energy efficient upgrades you’re able to make will save on energy costs, regardless of how small those savings may seem. When you look at the bigger picture, you’re doing what you can to help reduce your impact on the climate. That, too, may not feel significant, but it still makes a difference.

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