If you’re a homeowner in Chicago, then you’ve probably already noticed the rise in your energy costs by now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while piped gas rates may be cheaper in Chicago than in the rest of the country, electricity prices are 2.95% higher than anyone else’s. And with winter approaching, costs are expected to rise by an additional 17%.
This would represent a decade-long high in electricity costs, as they are now projected to rise above $1200, with the main impact to be borne by lower-income families. With such a surge comes concerns, and fears as to how to cope with these bills, and how to make energy use more efficient.
Thankfully, this is a problem that can be tackled in a number of ways. If you’re a homeowner in Chicago and you are serious about tackling the rising energy bills, then you may have to make a number of changes to your living arrangements. Your willingness to make these changes may be the difference between you ending up with an ever-rising electricity bill, or a house that is energy efficient, regardless of how old it is.
This guide provides some of the most powerful methods to ensure that you minimize your energy bills this summer. But firstly, we need to examine the root of the problem, by finding out why exactly your house is not energy efficient. The answer to this will lay the foundation for other strategies to reduce heating bills.
How To Make Your House More Energy Efficient
We could jump to reeling off a number of tips and tricks to help cut down on heating bills. However, unless we address the core issue, the problem doesn’t really get solved. And while you may end up saving a few dollars here and there, it won’t matter if your energy bills keep rising long-term.
The real problem is Energy Inefficiency and here are three main issues that cause your energy use to be inefficient.
This is a particularly relevant one, seeing as it is most prevalent. Insulation is designed to trap tiny pockets of air and control the flow of heat into/out of your home. Proper Insulation saves money. Proper insulation of attics and other spaces in the home could save you up to 15% in heating costs.
In spite of this, most homes aren’t properly insulated. And even if your home was adequately insulated at a time, it probably isn’t now, as insulation can degrade over time. Houses built before the 1960s are particularly at risk.
The waste lost due to poor insulation can be a lot as well, reaching as high as 30-50% of all heating energy. If your house isn’t brand new, then you’re most likely in need of proper insulation.
You should hire an insulation contractor to assess your home and make recommendations. We at Green Attic have the most experienced insulation contractors in Chicago and offer quality but affordable insulation services.
Air Leakage Issues
A vast majority of the houses in Chicago are victims of the problems of air leakage brought about by various holes and gaps around the house. For your home’s energy use to be efficient, the airflow must be healthy. A failure to do so can lead to an imbalance in house airflow, as cool air will be leaked out of the house in summer, but hot air will be sucked out in winter.
These holes tend to form in areas that are hard to spot, such as the attic and the foundation. And they bring in outside air at a rate that is up to four times more than necessary. Proper air-sealing will need to be done to fix a lot of these gaps. This will restore the airflow to proper levels and increase efficiency.
Poor Heat Control Equipment
This is a major contributor to the energy inefficiency in most Chicago homes. If your house runs a heater that can’t keep up with the harshness of winter, then it goes without saying that it needs an upgrade. A lot of homes in Chicago have HVAC equipment that simply isn’t up to the task.
The good news is, there’s a stronger and more efficient answer to the question of climate control equipment within the house; heat pumps. Not only are they more efficient than traditional HVAC equipment, but they do even more by consuming as little as ⅓ of the energy consumed by their counterparts.
Heat pumps don’t just heat, but are capable of cooling, purifying, and dehumidifying the air in your home. If you’re interested in learning more about heat pumps, then reach out to us at Green attic. Not only do we have mastery of the equipment, but we’ve also done stellar installations for our clients.
Other tips and tricks
Beyond the main strategies discussed above to tackle energy inefficiency, there are a number of other tactics you could employ to cut down on energy waste and save costs;
- Get a smart thermostat for your home(as they are capable of self-regulation when no one’s around) and adjust them accordingly; higher in summer and lower in the winter
- Getting a fireplace tune-up
- Switching from regular incandescent bulbs to the more efficient LED bulb
- Make it a habit to constantly unplug all unused appliances
- Make the best use of blankets, sweaters, and cardigans, to keep yourself warm by layering up.
If you’re in Illinois and desire to find a way to cut down on your rising heating bills, then it’s best you partner with us. Green Attic is a leading home energy contractor with an array of services ranging from home insulation and air-sealing, to energy audits and mold removal. We are capable of assisting with whatever insulation, air sealing, or heat pump installation needs you may have.
Worthy of note is the fact that we are also Trade Ally partners with Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas Energy Efficiency program, enabling you to access rebates on our products and services. Work with us and experience quality but affordable home energy services.