What have you done lately to make your home more energy-efficient? If you’re like the thousands of U.S. homeowners who went solar last year – you may not have done all that you could.

Although installing a home solar power system can make your energy costs more predictable, help the environment and potentially save you money on your electricity bill – solar power alone will not make your property any more energy-efficient. In fact, the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel only has a module efficiency of around 24 percent. So be sure you are working with a solar company that uses top quality panels AND takes a holistic approach to your energy use and comfort in order to maximize potential savings. Or, plan on making some small adjustments, like those suggested below to conserve energy and save money DIY-style:

Swap old bulbs for LED lights

More than 2 billion sockets across the United States are still using inefficient varieties of lightbulbs. Swapping out old incandescent lights for LED lighting can result in savings over time, as LEDs last 8-10 times longer and use 75% less energy.

Weatherproof your home

Objects like to travel via the path of least resistance, and energy is no different, so block those escape routes a.k.a any of the nooks and crannies throughout your home! Use door draft stoppers, fix gaps around windows, insulate your hot water heater, and weatherstrip your house.

Turn off and unplug

No one likes to be left in the dark, but when you’re not around your lights and certain appliances should get some down time. It costs approximately $21 per year to run a single conventional incandescent light bulb. So break the habit of leaving lights on and you will save! Similarly, the average American home has over 40 devices on standby mode – televisions, computers, monitors, phone chargers and coffee makers, to name just a few. Nationwide, those idle gadgets suck up enough energy to power nearly 8.7 million homes, at a cost to consumers of about $11 billion. Unplug these non-essential devices when you’re not using them to stop those home energy vampires that drive up your electric bill!

Run your fans

Yes – you read that right! Even in the winter, fans can be instrumental in preventing hot air from accumulating near the ceiling. Fans also help to eliminate any cold spots in corners of the home and even out a room’s temperature. A midsize ceiling fan set on high for 12 hours per day costs just over a penny per hour in electricity or just about $3.50 per month to operate.

Get smart – with your thermostat

Today’s smart thermostats don’t bear much resemblance to the programmable thermostats of the past. Thanks to detailed, real-time insights about your home’s energy use, smart thermostats do far more than set a schedule for heating and cooling – some can reduce your home’s heating or cooling costs by as much as 23%, without leaving your family cold (or too hot). And when you pair a smart thermostat with a solar system, you can potentially raise the roof on your energy savings. Smart thermostats can quickly learn your living patterns and be programmed to use more energy during times when your solar system is producing the most.

So, while it’s great to take control of your energy costs and limit your impact on the planet with solar power — take a moment to consider how you can reduce your use and lessen your carbon footprint even further! The U.S. government’s Energy Saver website provides a wealth of tools and tips. And, if you haven’t gone solar yet, be sure to partner with the right solar company, right from the start. Crius Solar takes a whole-home approach to energy use that goes beyond just full-service solar. We work to maximize the value of your solar power system and help minimize the amount of energy you must draw from the grid with a range of practical insights and efficiency-driven products and services. Get your risk-free consultation today!

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