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Government assistance benefits such as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program help low-income households stretch their energy dollars. Signing up for a home energy audit or additional energy-saving resources can help make life on a limited budget easier for senior citizens, disabled people and households with small children. Learning energy saving tips for summer and winter is also important for those concerned with keeping home energy costs down.
Simple tasks such as substituting energy efficient light bulbs for older incandescent bulbs can help reduce the need for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or other forms of energy assistance. Energy efficient lighting, home weatherization and practicing good energy management techniques at home benefits the community as well as the individual resident. Review the following sections to get new ideas for improving the state of energy management in your home.
The Weatherization Assistance Program
The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and helps low-income and high-risk households improve their homes through the process of weatherization. A weatherization program sends energy experts into a home to identify problems that contribute to higher energy costs, such as drafty doors and windows, old appliances and a lack of insulation.
There are no out-of-pocket Weatherization Assistance Program cost factors, which helps vulnerable families acquire home improvements that they may not be able to afford otherwise. Weather Assistance Program eligibility is based on income. Renters and homeowners alike can apply to receive services. Work crews can also install low-flow showerheads and energy-efficient light sources. They can also fix health and safety hazards, such as mold and moisture problems.
Learn more about energy assistance in our in-depth LIHEAP guide.
The Energy Efficient Mortgage Program
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) administers the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program (EEM) to help homeowners complete work on their homes that helps make them more energy efficient. Common tasks performed after getting an Energy Efficient Mortgage include replacing old heating and cooling systems with new, efficient models and doing essential weatherization procedures.
An EEM mortgage helps homeowners combat high energy costs, and the funds obtained for this purpose must be used solely for improving the residence’s energy efficiency. Applicants for an FHA EEM must meet minimum credit score and income requirements and have enough cash on hand to pay closing costs. The home itself must also meet specific EEM mortgage requirements.
Home Energy Saving Tips for Summer and Winter
Learning energy saving tips for summer can show you how to keep your home cool without sending your air conditioner and electric bill into overdrive. Depending on where you live, it is possible to learn how to keep your house cool in summer naturally and reduce your dependency on expensive air conditioning. For example, ceiling fans do not lower the temperature of the air around you, but they circulate cool air and create a cooling effect on the skin.
Energy saving tips for winter center around keeping the house as warm as possible at the least expense. Knowing the best thermostat setting for winter can help keep costs down while keeping your family comfortably warm. If you have a high gas bill or high electric bill in winter, or your average summer electric bill is off the charts, check the quality of insulation in your home. Fixing drafty windows and adding insulation are two of the best ways to save on heating costs and cooling expenses. For more tips on reducing energy bills year-round, download our comprehensive guide today.
Home Energy Audits
A home energy audit is a great tool for assessing the energy efficiency of your home and getting professional advice on ways to improve your household’s use of energy utilities. Some utility companies offer a free home energy audit to qualifying customers. You can also do your own home energy assessment or hire local energy audit company to perform this task.
A good home energy audit should uncover several issues that offer areas of improvement in home energy efficiency. Your home energy assessment may show a need for better weather stripping around windows and doors, leaks in heating ductwork and appliances that need replacement or repair.
Smart Energy Monitors for Your Home
A smart home energy monitor is a relatively new tool that helps uncover problems with excessive energy use at home. You can find a whole house electricity usage monitor that keeps track of the total energy use in your home for a certain timeframe. Alternatively, you can get an electricity usage monitor that just keeps track of one appliance or system’s energy usage. Not only can these devices help expose appliances that are not operating efficiently, but they can also be used to help you calculate a realistic budget of your overall home energy expenditure. When choosing a home energy monitor, look for smart versions that upload energy data to your smartphone or tablet.
Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Today’s selection of energy-efficient light bulbs is the result of technological advancements in the lighting industry. Energy saving bulbs can make a significant impact on a home’s overall energy costs. These energy saving light bulbs are also good for the environment because they need to be changed much less frequently than old incandescent bulbs.
Some of the best energy saving light bulbs to look for include halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and LED or light-emitting diode bulbs. You may notice that these new options are more expensive than older light bulbs, but because they last longer, the cost actually evens out — or even saves money — over time. Light bulb efficiency is best when all of a home’s light sources are replaced with energy saving bulbs, so be sure to replace outdoor flood lights or spot light bulbs with new versions as soon as possible.
Is home solar power worth it?
The benefits of solar energy are becoming more well-known as more people turn to the sun to help lower overall energy costs. While solar energy cost levels are high initially, many companies offer financing on solar equipment or the ability to lease equipment before committing to buy. A solar energy expert can tell you how many solar panels to power a house fully or partially, and provide other helpful advice on making the switch to solar energy.
Many factors contribute to the solar energy cost of powering a home through capturing the sun’s energy, including the size of the home, the shape of its roof, the geographical location and the number of people using energy. If you need help deciding if home solar power is worth it for your household, download our informative guide to get more information on the pros and cons of solar power.
For details on energy assistance, download our in-depth guide.