What is your New Year's Resolution?
Many of us make resolutions to lose weight, get that promotion at work, find our soul mate, or to save or spend less money in the New Year. If your resolution is the later a great place to start is your home.
Some of these suggestions might involve an up front cost but will save you money over several years. There are many appliances, devices, and products that we use on a daily basis in our home that could be eating up your money. From your water heater, to your heating system, light bulbs, tv's, and other electrical devices.
Water heaters are a great place to start, with a lifespan of 7-9 on average and taking up 25% of your home's energy consumption, an update could help to reduce your monthly bills. When looking for a new water heater it is important to take in consideration your needs or demands for hot water. How many people are in your home, what type of fuel source do you have in your home, how your want your water to be heated. For oil customers with 1-2 people in your home you have an option of adding a tank-less coil to your boiler for on-demand hot water. You can replace an aging storage tank with either an indirect or direct heated water heater. An indirect water heater pulls heat from your heating system to heat the water, this is a very popular way that can accommodate a family of 4+ depending on the size of the tank. A direct water heater has it's own burner similar to your heating system that only heats the water in the tank and doesn't waste energy by heating up the entire heating system. Direct water heaters are the most energy efficient form of oil water heaters, but can be the most expensive in terms of up front costs.
If you have propane or natural gas or are looking to add gas to your home water heaters are a great way to get your feet wet with gas. Options for Gas fired water heaters are tank-less, direct, and indirect. A tank-less water heater while similar to a tank-less coil for oil customers but is a stand alone product instead of being installed existing equipment. A tank-less water heater does provide on-demand hot water but does not provide enough heat for multiple applications. This means you wont be able to take a shower and wash your clothes at the same time. Modern water heaters like all technology advance to deliver better output while using less energy if your water heater is more than a decade old you should look into replacing it.
During the months of November through March or April we use our heating systems almost none stop to stay warm and comfortable, so why would you still use a 30, 40, or 50 year heating system. Modern heating systems take up less space, provide zones for your system, and use less energy. All of these allow for you to save money over the life of your system, with regular maintenance. Zones are a great way to save when paired with programmable thermostats. Zoned allows you to heat different parts your home to different temps or completely turn off certain areas. You can create zones based on floors or room by room. Programmable thermostats are a great way to reduce energy consumption from fuel and electricity. You set create times of the day when your heat will get to a certain temp while your home and then can drop the temp while you are away from the house. This allows you to heat your home only when you're home. More advanced thermostats like the Nest or Lyric use geo-fencing, when get a certain distance away from you home your thermostat will assume you aren't home anymore and reduce the heat.
Another great way to reduce your homes energy is with LED light bulbs, LED bulbs use a fraction of the electric as incandescent bulbs while being brighter. Many home improvement stores sell LED bulbs in bulk but the most cost effective way to get energy efficient bulbs to have a home energy assessment done by Mass Save. It is a free service that takes between 1 and 3 hours to perform. They replace all of your older bulbs with new LED bulbs, yes it's free like actually free. They take a look at your insulation throughout your walls and your attic. All of these can help you to save money over years.