Ask the Expert: What Should Homeowners Know about Energy Efficiency?

 

Today's “Ask the Expert” column features Mark Walker, Director with NRG Mass Sales.
 
Q: What are the top five things new homeowners need to know about energy efficiency?
 
A: First-time homebuyers have many questions, ranging in scope from a home’s square footage, what the neighborhood is like, whether the asking price is negotiable, and more. Typically, it’s not until they receive the first electricity bill that they begin to think about energy efficiency.
 
As many REALTORS® know, new homeowners are one of a kind. They’re excited about their purchase, but perhaps nervous about the costs ahead. At Reliant in Texas and NRG Home in the Northeast, we want the electricity bill to be one less thing that causes concern. That’s why it’s helpful to understand what drives energy use, and how to be more efficient. Naturally, new homeowners consider their REALTOR® the go-to source for all things home-related, so here are five energy efficiency tips you can share with first-time homebuyers.
 
1. Insulation is tops.
For re-sale homes, it’s important to make sure the home is well insulated. The most cost-effective improvement any new homeowner can make is adding insulation. Without proper insulation, a home can lose up to 40 percent of cooled or heated air.
 
2. Heating and cooling account for most energy use.
Did you know that heating and cooling your home can account for up to half of its energy use? Save energy by following these simple tips:

  • Follow the 4x4 principle. Setting your thermostat four degrees higher when away from home for more than four hours can help reduce electricity costs.
  • Rotate ceiling fans. Turning your fan counter-clockwise during the summer helps create a wind chill effect for a more comfortable living environment. In the winter, set your fan clockwise to move hot air downward.
  • Always use the automatic A/C fan setting. Keep your A/C fan on the “auto” position. Turning it to the “on” position can increase energy costs and make it harder for your A/C to maintain the desired temperature.

3. Air filters and vents should not go unnoticed.
Homeowners often overlook replacing air filters, but it’s important to change filters regularly to keep your system working efficiently. Also, ensure return air vents are free from obstructions. If air flow is hindered, the system can’t operate properly, and your energy bill will suffer.
 
4. Energy-efficient appliances matter.
If appliances are more than 10 years old, it may be time to invest in new, energy-efficient models, from refrigerators and dishwashers to washers and dryers. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when upgrading.
 
5. Small actions add up.
Turning lights off when leaving a room and shutting blinds to block summer heat are just a couple simple ways to decrease energy costs and make your home more comfortable and efficient.
 
For more information, visit www.nrghomepower.com

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