Losses can creep up on you without recognizing what’s happening. You go on with your daily tasks as you normally do, but your bills seem to rack up as a surprise. It increases gradually, but after a while, you’re spending more on your utility bills than you have ever done before. All this time, you attributed it to various factors, including the increasing number of electronics that are used in the home, but those are never enough to take up this much energy.

The Culprit

As the losses pile up gradually, the damages also sneak up on you that you don’t recognize it. The cost of living in Vernon Hills is higher than the national average and higher than the average for all of Illinois. The causes of rising energy bills can be numerous such as: Chilly drafts, improperly fitted windows, leaking pipes, damages in the walls, moldy basement, faulty electrical wiring, and a host of other structural problems. Since these issues developed in the house gradually, it becomes a part of your daily living and you may not see it as a problem. Even the high utility bills develop gradually and you may feel that it’s just the cost of living in the home. But once it gets to a point you can’t stand it any longer, it is better to get an assessment and find a proper solution.

The Cheap Trap

Choosing the low cost solution may seem like a feasible option, since you are already spending so much on your utility bills. You may try your hand at putting sealant to secure the windows and adding new weather stripping for your doors. Although energy costs in Vernon Hills are quite high, these solutions will help you with your energy costs, but in the long run, these items come off or wear out and you will end up back in the same predicament.

The Solutions

Because of the high importance of this problem due to rising energy costs, it is best to take a careful approach. Have a specialist in performing an energy assessment to evaluate your home in Vernon Hills and find where the losses are. Often, a specialist can detect issues that are beyond your understanding and in the long run, you will end up saving more money on energy costs. These long term costs far outweigh the cost of doing the modifications. In addition to this, a house that has gone through such modifications for energy efficiency will most likely increase in property value whenever you decide to sell the house in the future. Listed below are some of the viable solutions to address your problem.

1. Appliances

Older appliances are commonly less energy efficient and needs to be replaced. Especially if your home is over 15 years old, this may be your situation. Due to the advances in technology, the newer appliances are much better in efficiency and energy usage. In the case of Air Conditioning units, if the equipment is over 10 years old, you will find much more efficient machines in the market today. Just updating your appliances will begin to reduce your energy costs.

Along with the appliances updated, make sure to make some parallel improvements by sealing doors and windows to control the air drafts from the outside. If the windows are salvageable, you can add insulation. Otherwise, you will need to replace the windows with more energy efficient ones. Increasing the amount of insulation used and making improvements in the ductwork are essential keys to reducing energy leakage.

2. Programmable Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

ComEd Marketplace – Google Nest Learning Thermostat

The heating and cooling of the home needs to change according to the time of the year and the time of day. By installing a thermostat that is programmable, you’ll have the option of setting the climate of the home according to several variables. In having such a climate control system, you can get the optimal temperature with a control in the costs as well. When no one is at home, the temperature needs are different than when you have a house full of people. Thus programming the thermostat will allow your home to be preset to the schedule of the people in the home.

3. Insulation

Under-insulated homes are a huge drain on the energy expense. Homes that are ten or twenty years old are not properly insulated. The most common loss of heat is from the attic. As the hot air in the home rises, you could end up losing heat from the attic and the roof if the attic is improperly insulated. The basement and the crawl space below are also crucial areas that need to be insulated to protect the house from the cold space below and to contain the heat in the winter. The additional cost of the insulation could be recovered within five years as the energy costs would certainly come down by saving you energy

4. Doors and Windows

Pella Energy Saving Windows

Pella Energy Saving Windows

Sealing and weather stripping of the windows can be done to improve the energy condition of the home. Although this is much cheaper than installing new doors and windows, the sealing work may not be sufficient to get the optimal results. The older single-pane windows can be replaced with the more advanced high efficient windows that provide better temperature control. Although these are more costly, the ongoing savings far outweigh the one time cost and you end up with a better resale value on the home in the future.

5. Ceiling Fans

Along with being beautiful decorative pieces, ceiling fans provide an enhancement to the cooling effect of the air conditioning. As the cooler air gets properly circulated, you end up with better efficiency and the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. The cost of running the fan is quite minimal compared to the savings from the thermostat adjustment.

6. Efficient Water systems

As a society we are used to abundance, and that shows in our water usage as well. But we can get the same effect by using a more efficient low-flow faucets, showerheads, and energy efficient toilets that only use one gallon per flush. These systems are designed to use the least amount of water to get the job done without skimping on the necessities. Many of these items have an adjustable feature that allows the user to revert to a higher water flow if needed. But as a default, the water flow can be kept to a minimum.

Instant water heaters are another move toward energy efficiency. The older model kept a tank of water constantly heated for immediate supply. But the cost of maintaining that temperature for that many gallons of water can be costly. Even when hot water is unused during the night, the water is constantly being heated to a predetermined level. Tankless instant water heaters will switch on as soon as you turn on the tap and within a few seconds, you’ll have hot water. Those few seconds of wait could mean significant dollars in energy savings.

7. Lighting

Fresh Energy logo, company that does LED lighting in Lake County Illinois

Lake County Illinois Lighting Experts

One-third of the electricity bill in the average home consists of lighting costs. By switching to LED bulbs, the costs can be significantly reduced. Installing larger windows and skylights will be a great option as well. It allows natural light from the outside to flow into the home providing not only lighting, but also a sense of nature within the home. Light from the sun does so much better than the “manufactured” light from our light fixtures. In the wintertime, this adds to the heating in the home as well. A leader in the energy industry Fresh Energy suggests getting an energy audit on your home to see what upgrades may make sense to save on your energy bill.

8. Kitchen Equipment

The higher energy star rating of appliances are more than just stars. They represent more efficiency in the use of energy. And of course, there is no doubt that homebuyers are definitely swayed by newer and more efficient kitchen equipment. Otherwise, new homeowners will have to put out more money just to update the kitchen of a home they just spent money to buy. Thus the resale value will be improved.

The Takeaway

Fearing short term expenses, many shy away from home improvements to make their homes more energy efficient. Eventually, this ends up costing these homeowners more in utility bills over the many years they occupy their homes. Along with this, during the years they use the home, they live with an older standard of equipment that could have been updated to enjoy a better living experience. Of course, don’t forget the environment. Truly, an energy efficient home will do much for the environment as we do our part in protecting our planet. When you compare the electric rates in Vernon Hills, you’ll see that most people are simply using the traditional energy sources when they could switch to renewable energy solutions. And when you sell, the resale value of an updated home will be much better. Thus in every way, the best option is to update your home to make it energy efficient.

LED light bulbs energy saving

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