Signs Your Home Is Not Energy Efficient

Lower energy bills aren’t the only reason to invest in your home’s energy efficiency.

Homebuyers are increasingly seeking out efficient homes, so increasing energy efficiency will also increase home value. Investing in technology like energy-efficient windows, appliances, and air conditioners also makes your home a more enjoyable place to live. Drafts, water waste, and hot/cold spots can all be minimized or even avoided when you know how to detect inefficient energy use. Read on as we break down the most common signs that your home is not energy efficient.

Energy-efficient appliances – Smart thermostat on a wall

What Makes A Home Energy Efficient?

A home is considered energy efficient when it uses less power while still maintaining a comfortable living environment. While there is no official standard for what makes a home “energy efficient,” certain features are expected when the label is used.

These features usually include energy-efficient appliances, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient windows, effective insulation, proper ventilation, and energy-efficient air conditioners. Renewable energy systems, like solar panels, are also highly desired but less common due to their high price.

Signs Your Home Is Not Energy Efficient

The first step in improving energy efficiency is detecting these signs. Doing so can help determine which parts of your home waste the most energy. If you find any of these issues at home, address them immediately. Otherwise, you’ll spend progressively more than you need to because efficiency decreases over time. Here are some signs of energy loss to watch out for:

  1. High Energy Bill

    If your energy bills are consistently higher than expected, it may be a sign of low energy efficiency. Poor insulation, drafty windows and doors, inefficient appliances, and overworked HVAC systems can all contribute to higher energy bills.

  2. Uneven Heating or Cooling

    If your home has uneven temperatures between rooms or hot/cold spots, it may indicate that your HVAC system needs maintenance or replacement. Outdated and broken systems can be costly to operate. Uneven temperatures can also indicate air leaks, insufficient insulation, and other serious problems.

  3. Drafts

    If you feel drafts in certain areas, you may have air leaks around windows, doors, and other parts of the house. Most HVAC systems will activate when the indoor temperature is above or below the temperature you set on your thermostat. Drafts bring down the temperature inside, and if your heater is on, your HVAC system will expend more time and energy fighting the cold from the draft. An HVAC system that is constantly activated is a major energy drainer.

  4. Condensation on Windows

    When a home is not properly ventilated or insulated, moisture can accumulate inside the home and lead to condensation on windows. When there is too much moisture in the air, it can make it more difficult to heat or cool a home. This is because moist air retains heat more effectively than dry air, which means that the heating or cooling system needs to work harder to maintain the temperature you set in your home.

  5. Outdated appliances

    Old appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers, may not be as energy efficient as newer models. Upgrading to more efficient appliances can help reduce energy usage. We suggest looking into Energy Star-rated appliances to lower your energy bills further.

  6. Insufficient Insulation

    If your home is not well-insulated, it can lead to heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This makes maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature more difficult and expensive since your HVAC system must be active longer.

If you’re still unable to tell which parts of your home are inefficient, or if you’d like a professional opinion, you can schedule an energy audit. Some energy providers offer this service to their customers, or you can hire a professional energy assessor. Either way, they can detect issues and offer tips specific to your home.

Why Is My Electric Bill So High?

A high electric bill is the most obvious sign that your home is not energy efficient. Multiple factors can contribute to a high energy bill. Seasonal changes, energy rate hikes, and increased energy use are the most common reasons your electric bill may be higher than usual.

Another possible reason for a high electric bill is faulty or outdated appliances. Energy-efficient appliances were introduced just a few decades ago, so they’re not yet found in all homes. If your appliances are old or broken, they will likely use more energy than necessary. Energy-efficient appliances can be a pricey but worthwhile investment.

Energy-efficient windows – Power lines and tower against blue sky and clouds

Some electricity providers charge higher rates during peak usage hours. It's important to understand your provider's pricing structure and time-of-use rates so you can adjust your usage accordingly.

In some cases, discrepancies in meter readings can also cause your bill to be higher than expected. You should contact your provider for more information if there is a discrepancy between the meter readings taken by your electricity provider and the readings you have recorded yourself. It’s always a good idea to call your provider if you suspect that you were overcharged.

What Are Energy-Efficient Appliances?

Energy-efficient appliances are devices designed to use less energy than their traditional counterparts while still providing the same level of functionality. These appliances are designed with features such as better insulation, advanced temperature controls, and energy-efficient motors and compressors. Below are the most common energy-efficient appliances:

Energy-efficient appliance – Infographic of common energy-efficient appliances

Using energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce your energy bills. You can save more if you buy Energy Star-rated appliances because many are eligible for federal tax credits.

Energy-efficient air conditioner – Tax forms, phone, calculator, pen

Energy-efficient appliances that are Energy Star-rated have been proven to use less energy than standard appliances. Energy Star is a government program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that promotes energy efficiency across many product categories.

To earn an Energy Star rating, an energy-efficient appliance must meet strict requirements established by the EPA. These requirements are put through rigorous testing and are updated periodically to ensure they continue to feature the latest advancements in energy efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances that meet these guidelines are usually marked with an Energy Star sticker or logo.

What Are Energy-Efficient Windows?

Energy-efficient windows are made with specific glass coatings, frames, and glazing that help minimize heat transfer between the interior and exterior of a building. These windows may also feature insulated frames made from materials such as vinyl or fiberglass, as well as double or triple panes of glass with a layer of insulating gas between each pane. Energy-efficient window films can also be applied to existing windows to help improve energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient air conditioners – Inside home with large window and plant

One of the most important features of energy-efficient windows is the use of low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, which has a special coating that reflects heat into the room during the winter and away from the room during the summer. This helps keep a stable and comfortable temperature in your home.

Energy-efficient windows help to reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills by minimizing heat loss and heat gain. These windows can help to improve indoor comfort by reducing drafts and cold spots. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows can save you thousands in heating and cooling costs.

What Are Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners?

Energy-efficient air conditioners are designed to cool your home while using less energy, which can help to reduce your energy bills. They use advanced technology to improve energy efficiency, including features such as variable-speed compressors, intelligent thermostats, and high-efficiency filters.

One feature energy-efficient air conditioners often include is the variable-speed compressor, It can adjust cooling speeds based on the temperature and humidity of the room. This helps to avoid energy waste on unnecessary cooling. Many energy-efficient air conditioners also have a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature based on your schedule and preferences. Smart thermostats can learn your family’s habits and adjust the temperature accordingly, which can help to optimize energy efficiency. Additionally, many energy-efficient air conditioners are eligible for rebates or tax credits from local energy companies or government programs.

If you’re ready for a new, energy-efficient air conditioner, schedule an AC replacement appointment with Filterbuy LOCAL. All our technicians are licensed and EPA-certified, so you can trust that your home is in expert hands. All AC installations come with free bonus equipment like UV lights, drain guards, and surge protectors, and you get access to our Premium Maintenance Contract for 2 years! Click here for more information about our professional AC replacement service.

Do I Have An Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner?

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios, or SEER ratings, measure an air conditioner’s energy efficiency. SEER ratings help homeowners understand how energy-efficient an air conditioning unit is. Generally, the higher the SEER rating of an air conditioning unit, the more energy efficient it is. SEER ratings only apply to air conditioning units, not other types of HVAC equipment like furnaces. SEER ratings are just one factor to consider when selecting an air conditioning unit – other factors like size, features, and brand reputation are also important.

Does Changing Your Air Filter Improve Energy Efficiency?

Changing your air filters can dramatically improve energy efficiency. The primary purpose of air filters is to trap dust, debris, and other pollutants so they don’t recirculate back into your indoor air. When you change your air filters, you prevent filter clogs which reduce airflow and make your HVAC system work harder to circulate air through the filter. This can lead to significant energy savings.

Air filters can also help improve the overall performance and lifespan of the HVAC system. When air filters are dirty or clogged, they can restrict airflow and cause the system to work harder than it needs to. This leads to increased energy consumption and excess wear and tear. Changing your air filter can help maintain your HVAC system's performance and energy efficiency.

To maximize your system’s energy efficiency, use Filterbuy’s top-of-the-line air filters. Each U.S.-made filter is built with pleated filter media, durable reinforced wire backing, and a heat and humidity-resistant frame. Our filters come in 600+ sizes across 3 different MERV ratings, but we can custom-build filters to the dimensions you need if you can't find your size. All filters ship right to your door for free, and we offer 5% off all subscription orders. Start by finding your size here, or take our AutoShip quiz.