How We’re Saving Money and Energy In Our New Home
[Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by ComEd. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.]
As you guys know, we’ve gone from a small two-bedroom condo to a big four bedroom house. It’s quite a lot of space, especially for two people! Our larger house came with a larger utility bill and that certainly makes sense. We now have two furnaces, two floors to heat and cool, and lots and lots of lights within our house. But we want to do everything we can to save energy in our Finn Fixer Upper, which will (hopefully!) result in greater savings on our utility bill.
ComEd is our local electricity provider here in Northern Illinois and when we moved, I learned about their Energy Efficiency Program. ComEd customers can take advantage of discounts, rebates, and programs to save money while improving their energy consumption. The program is great if you’re moving (either in or out!), but really any customer can take advantage of these savings.
During our renovation, we made a few upgrades to make our home more energy-efficient. We’re hopeful that these changes will make an impact on our utility bill during our time here.
A big part of our renovation was upgrading our electrical. Our home had virtually no overhead lighting, so we had our contractor install recessed cans in every single room.
But we didn’t choose just anything for our canned lighting. We made sure to upgrade to LED bulbs only (these are the exact cans we used, or you can shop the ComEd Marketplace here). LED light bulbs have come a long way. Many are dimmable; there are tons of color options; and if you use LED bulbs you may not have to change another light bulb ever again (they last 25x longer than traditional incandescent bulbs)!
If you haven’t made the switch, now is the time (and read on to find out how you can get new bulbs installed for free in your house!). Or if you want to buy some right now, ComEd provides instant in-store discounts on ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs. You can head here for more details.
We’ve been a big fan of smart thermostats ever since we installed one in our condo. Being able to control the temperature of your home directly from your phone? Yes, please! These have an annual energy savings of up to $110, so they pay for themselves pretty quickly. It was a no-brainer to install two smart thermostats in our new house. If you’re a ComEd customer you can save $75 on your smart thermostat (head here for more details on how to grab those savings).
You can also purchase and have your smart thermostat installed for FREE during a ComEd Home Energy Assessment. Which brings me to my next point…
Home Energy Assessment Program
The first thing I did when we finally moved in was schedule a free Home Energy Assessment through ComEd. Essentially, an Energy Advisor comes to your home to see how much energy you’re using around the house. But the best part? They make upgrades and improvements right then and there for you for free!
My Energy Advisor, Marvelle, came out on a rainy Tuesday morning and we walked around the entire house together. He was impressed with our new LED lighting and smart thermostats (heck yes!), but we did find a few areas where I could improve.
New Showerheads & Faucet Aerators
As you guys know, we haven’t renovated any of our bathrooms just yet, so they’re each at least twenty years old. Marvelle upgraded our three showerheads to WaterSense certified ones. He removed the old ones, discarded them, and installed the new ones…in about five minutes! I can’t emphasize this enough…these showerheads are F-R-E-E! I now have upgraded showerheads that are sparkly and new, not to mention they use a lot less water. And I know you might be worried about switching because you assume efficient = poor water pressure. But that’s not the case at all! These give out a great stream and have the same water pressure as before.
He also changed out the aerators on all of our bathroom faucets for ones that use 30% less water. Our old ones were filthy and I was planning to clean them out anyways, so this was one less task on my to-do list. Thank you, Marvelle!
New LED Light Bulbs
Marvelle inspected every single light bulb in our house. Lucky for him, all of our new recessed cans are LED, so he didn’t have to change out any of those. But there were a few spots in the house where we had to make some upgrades. The basement had lots of old incandescent bulbs, along with our guest bathroom vanity light, and our bedroom lamps. In total, he swapped out thirteen light bulbs for new LED light bulbs that use at least 75% less energy.
Again, I didn’t have to pay for any of these light bulbs. They’re all a part of the ComEd Home Energy Assessment program. Marvelle told me that he has been to really large houses where he has had to change out hundreds of old bulbs, so my thirteen weren’t too bad after all…
My Home Energy Assessment Report
Marvelle was all finished up in about an hour and I was left with my official Home Energy Assessment Report. You’ll see all of the upgrades we made around the house here on this sheet. He even left me with two advanced power strips for our TV and office areas that automatically shut off power when electronics are idle.
With these improvements, I should save about 9,920 gallons of water per year along with $79 in estimated energy savings!
After my visit, I pretty much told everyone I know who has ComEd about my experience. I just think it’s such an awesome program that people need to take advantage of! This link has more details on how to schedule your free appointment. If you do it, please let me know! I would love to hear about your experience.
If you live in the Chicagoland area, definitely take advantage of all of the free programs, rebates, and discounts. If you’re not in the area, check with your local utility company to see if they offer similar programs and discounts (many do!). Together we can save energy AND money.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.