Everyone needs a little TLC - even your home, sweet home! So on Valentine's Day, show how much you appreciate your abode by identifying what energy-efficient or water conservation upgrades you can make. Your home will love the attention even from the smallest fixes, and you'll feel the love too when you check out your lowered utility bills. Here are ten ways to show your devotion to your dwelling:
A dark hallway or room can be so sad and gloomy. Installing an energy-efficient skylight not only brings in natural light, but it can also improve your home's ventilation, cooling things down without turning on the air conditioning.
2. High-efficiency faucets
Do you have a fixture that's showing its age with rust and calcium deposits? Most likely that old faucet is also wasting water. A high-efficiency faucet can reduce the water flow by more than 30 percent. And if every home in the U.S. had a WaterSense faucet installed, we'd save 64 billion gallons of water a year. Wow!
3. Window film
If you have old windows but can't afford new ones, you can still be good to your home by installing window film on your east- or west-facing windows. Window film helps you save energy because its thin layers of polyester, metallic coating, and adhesives limit the amount of solar radiation that pass through from the outside and keep indoor heat from escaping.
4. Water heater tank insulation
This is an easy do-it-yourself task that doesn't cost much or take a lot of time to complete. Just like a fluffy jacket keeps you warm, wrapping insulation around your water heater tank can also reduce heat loss - by about 25-45 percent. Get tips from the Department of Energy website on how to do this project.
5. Drought-tolerant landscaping
Did you know that water used for landscaping accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the average California residential water bill? Ouch! And the biggest culprit is grass. Consider putting in rocks, decomposed granite, and low-water vegetation instead. And as a bonus, if you choose plants that butterflies and hummingbirds adore, you'll love spending time in your yard even more.
6. Rotating sprinkler nozzles
If a landscape redo isn't in the cards, then try something simple: install rotating sprinkler nozzles. These pressure-regulating devices prevent overwatering and runoff by applying water more slowly and uniformly.
7. Wall insulation
Snuggling with your honey will keep you warm, and so will installing new wall insulation, improving home's energy efficiency on both cold and hot days. And you don't have to remove your walls to do it. Instead, they can be punctured with small holes so that loose-fill or spray insulation can be blown in. How sweet is that?
Dimmers can help set a romantic mood, but these lighting controls also lower your energy bills by reducing your light bulbs' wattage and output. A win-win!
9. Ceiling fan
Sure, it's still chilly in February, but when the weather heats up, you'll be grateful you installed an ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fan. These types of fans are 60 percent more efficient than conventional ones and can save you $15 a year on your energy bill.
Are you feeling drafts at home? Then you might have air leaks around your doors and windows, and that could mean it takes more energy than necessary to heat or cool down your home. Use the Department of Energy website to learn how to detect air leaks and use weatherstripping.
Want even more energy-saving, home-loving ideas? Visit the HERO Program website.