Get an energy audit!
In order to cut utility expenses a person must first be willing to get advice from some experts. Start by getting an energy audit. It costs very little and gives plenty of advice. Even if you are a renter an energy audit can help save you money.
Energy audits in my area are done by the utility company. They start by doing a blower door test. Here is what it looks like. It’s a plastic door with a blower that tells where you are loosing the most heat or cooling energy. The auditor will also walk around your house looking inside things and behind things to see where other gadgets can save you utility dollars. It’s not a time for being embarrassed by dust and clutter….. because you are getting advice…. not a home cleanliness inspection.
My energy audit was about things I could do as a home owner to make my home more energy efficient. There are also ways to cut energy expenses even if you rent an apartment. I found out from the energy audit that I was loosing a lot of energy because I didn’t have any insulation. Strange because when I bought this house it was supposed to be insulated. I went back to the original papers and sure enough it said fully insulated. It even described how much insulation. I did have an inspector look at the house before I bought it but I think he just wanted to get the fee because there are lots of things he didn’t mention before I signed the papers. Over the years I have found the errors on my own. Without the energy audit I would never have known the insulation never was done. I’m not about to climb a ladder to get into the attic at my age.
If you get insulation all over your house you must also get air vents to lower your utility bill in the summer. Insulation to keep in the heat in winter and ventilation to get the heat out in the summer. I got 11 new vents in my house. This is one that was put on the back addition to my house. It’s separated from the rest of the attic by the way it was constructed so it needed separate vents.
This is another vent for the addition in the back.
These are 6 vents put on the side roof of my house. The insulation guys cut the holes for the vents then used the holes to run the hoses inside where the other guys moved the hoses around to place the blown in insulation where it needed to go.
These are the three vents on the back side of the roof. The shorter portion of the roof is the addition. The addition doesn’t have any attic space at all which is why the vents were put on the sides of the house.
Did you notice the security light? This was something the city gave away free about 10 or 15 years ago. Supposedly it was to help deter crime in this area. The light worked by coming on at dusk and going off at dawn.
I used it one time then removed the bulb so it would never work again. Why?? Well it has a 1000 watt bulb and no switch to turn it off. It was more like an overhead streep light. In one night it was using 8000 to 10,000 watts of electricity. In one month that could have added up to 30,000 watts. It was using more electicity than my whole house. It also put out soooo much light that it was like daylight shining through the windows at night. No one could sleep for the brightness. It was totally wrong for houses. It should have been a simple outside porch light instead.
Even if you are a renter there are things you can do to save energy. In my opinion anyone who owns property to rent should be required by law to make it energy efficient before they get a permit. Especially anyone who rents to section 8 people. But that’s a different blog post to be saved for another time.
I got this new efficient shower head. Isn’t it cute! A renter can change the shower head easily. The old one just screws off and the new one screws on. All you need is a pair of pliers. It’s cheap enough that you could leave it for the next renter or save the old shower head to put back on when you move. My old shower head was the older version of efficient. This one is much better. No, it doesn’t produce just a trickle of water. It gives plenty of water. It makes the water do more work with less used.
My water heater got a new jacket. This may be a little over kill since the water heater is in a heated part of the house but the way I feel about it is…. even a few pennies saved by using the jacket is a few pennies in my pocket…. not the utility company’s pocket. Again, cheap enough it could be left for the next renter if you got one for your water heater in a rented apartment.
I also got some new energy efficient light bulbs. Changing light bulbs in an apartment is the easiest of all things to do to save energy dollars. I already have energy efficient bulbs all over the house. The ones I have are equal to 100 lumens of light but use only 25 watts of energy. Lumens are equal to candle light. One lumen equals one candle. 100 lumens means 100 candle lights.
Then I got to thinking…. do I really need bright light in the closets or in the porch light fixtures? No, I don’t. So I got these. They are 60 lumens of light but use only 13 watts of power.
The ones I already had are not energy star but these are. I had planned to replace my older version of bulbs with newer energy star 100 lumens of light versions. I don’t know what I was thinking, I picked up all 60 lumen kind instead of two different kind. Some of these are going back for exchange…. or maybe I will give these to my daughter for xmas and buy myself more.
See the difference in the bulbs? The new ones are very small next to the old ones I was already using.
Back when I first bought this house, I studied ways to cut expenses on utilities. I had to…. no other choice… because I was struggling to keep a roof over our heads. At the time, I did all I could by using the newest items on the market. Now days the gadgets are even more energy efficient so I’m once again studying newer ways to cut down. A trip to the hardware store, a search on the internet, a book or two from the library, or any other information I can gather helps me learn to cut expenses even better.
I still have several things I want to change. The only hold back is the finances. No, it’s not easy to do everything all at once on a limited budget. The key is to start with one gadget. The savings from one can be used to buy another. The savings from two can be used to buy the next…. and so forth.
This current one big change to make my house more energy efficient has used up all my savings. Money I had been stashing away a few pennies at a time until I could pay to get the work done. I could be tempted to say that I have more money to spend on fabrics or clothing or even trips to bingo…. but I won’t give into that temptation!
I will carefully calculate the difference between the bills from before and the bills after. The difference will be put into my savings account for more energy work on my house in the future. There is still a lot of things that can be done. I lived without the money before the changes, I can live without the extra money after….. especially when it means I can grow the money by saving even more money later.