Once you’ve set your mind on going solar, it’s a good idea to get your home ready for the transformation. That is to say, making your home as energy efficient as possible before installing the solar panels will reduce your overall electrical needs and maximize the impact of your new solar system. Here are 10 ways to get your home solar-ready:
- Upgrade your windows. Utilizing double or even triple glazed windows will have a serious impact on heat loss. Windows are notorious for damaging a home’s insulation value, but with new window types and glazing, you can relieve much of the problem.
- Fine-tune HVAC systems. Have your system fine-tuned, including clearing or replacing all filters. You can replace old models with newer, more energy efficient ones (look for the Energy Star label). If you have a boiler or furnace, you can upgrade these too.
- Change the thermostat. You can save electricity by switching to a programmable thermostat. These Energy Star rated gadgets are effective and a good choice if you can’t overhaul the whole system.
- Consider using a heat recovery ventilator. While on the heating and air note, check out heat recovery ventilators (HRVs). These ingenious little upgrades can have an amazing impact, not only on energy efficiency, but also on the air quality in your home.
- Add insulation. Wherever necessary, and possible, you can add insulation to help seal up your house. If you live in an older home this is an especially important factor to consider (and if your house is in fact uninsulated, there is little doubt it has crossed your mind). It is possible to have insulation retrofitted into the walls of your existing home. And don’t forget the insulation underneath and above; adding insulation to your crawlspace or attic is much easier and just as important.
- Replace outdated appliances. Perhaps you’re in need of a new dishwasher or refrigerator? Upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances can go a long way toward reducing energy needs.
- Change the light bulbs. Switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents is an easy way to drop your energy use significantly.
- Use power strips. DVD players, stereos, computers, these all still use energy even when they aren’t turned on. Plugging small appliances such as these into power strips and turning them off when not in use can save a lot.
- Replace weatherstripping around windows and doors. This is another big step in sealing up your home.
- Think green. There are a multitude of little things you can do to reduce your energy usage and ease the burden on your upcoming solar system and the environment as a whole. From cooking with the lid on to watching the thermostat to turning the lights off, it all adds up.
Doing any or all of these tips can make a big difference and CalFinder Solar can not only help you find a certified solar installer, but also a remodeling contractor for any of the above tasks requiring one. Tuning up your house prior to installing a solar electric system can reduce the size and, therefore, the cost of the system you need. Also, if you choose to purchase any new appliances or upgrade your windows or heating and air, don’t forget to check out tax incentives for these and other green upgrades.