In the Grand Rapids area, we certainly had more heating days during the last season than normal. And particularly if you heat with propane, higher energy prices this year were also to blame. If you find your energy bills are higher this year, it is certainly no surprise. But are they higher than they need to be?
In the Grand Rapids area, the majority of your energy budget is for heating and cooling cost. High energy costs can be a result of many different problems in your home. In general, if any of these problems are present, your bills could be lower:
- Warm air is leaking out. If your home has air leaks, your heating (or cooling) system is constantly having to work to replace the conditioned air. By sealing leaks and adding insulation in your attic, you can prevent air from escaping through your roof. At the same time, sealing air leaks and improving your basement or crawlspace insulation can stop air from escaping below your home.
- Your attic needs better insulation. Your attic probably has insulation, but it may not meet recommended levels for our region, or it could be compromised. Adding insulation to your attic or exterior walls can provide energy bill relief by keeping warm air indoors during the winter and cool air inside during the summer.
- Your home is at kept at a higher temperature than necessary. Consider whether you could program your thermostat a little lower in the winter, and dress a little warmer, if it would help your energy bills. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, these can save you from heating or cooling the home to optimal comfort when you aren’t even home. And if you are heating certain rooms that you don’t use often, you are also spending more than you need to, and perhaps could consider a space heater for these rooms only when they are in use.
- Your furnace is inefficient. Replacing old and inefficient furnaces and air conditioners will help you get more bang for your buck too.
- Your windows leak. Replacing inefficient or poorly fitted windows and doors can also assist in stopping air leaks and keeping your home comfortable year ‘round.
- Your water heater is old or inefficient. Replacing an old or inefficient water heater can reduce the amount you pay for hot water each month.
- Electricity is being sapped from your home. Your electricity usage is another common culprit in high energy bills. If you feel your electricity bills are high for the number of appliances you have, it could be caused by any number of things, including a bad heating element in an electric hot water tank, freezer, or refrigerator.
Most of these issues can be detected through a professional home performance audit. Contact GreenFIT Homes to learn what you can do to make your home more comfortable and reduce your high energy bills at the same time.