You’ve done all the research, crunched all the numbers and have finally decided to move forward with your plan to install a solar power system for your home. But are you sure about the size of the system you need? Make it too big and you’re wasting money.
You are about to invest a sizeable amount of money, as residential solar power systems for the average American home cost between $10,000 and $50,000 (Before solar incentives). “Solar prepping” your home with these simple steps can help make your home more energy efficient, and thus reduce the size and cost of your solar system.
Some homes, and not just older ones, tend to “breathe” a lot. That is to say, the windows and doors do not shut tightly and have poor insulating characteristics. Modern windows, especially double-paned, are much better insulators than single paned windows. Old or new, you should periodically check window perimeters, inside and out, for cracks and leakage.
Along with windows, doors are one of the main ways that air gets in and out of your home. There is not much you can do about opening and closing them for access, but there are plenty of low- and even no-cost things you can do to keep them from “breathing” so much. The most common add-ons for doors are the seals for the bottom, which can be screwed or glued on quickly. A great test is on a cool evening place your hand at the base of the front door, if there is a breeze then a new seal may be an order.
Whatever kind of heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system you have, check for leakage of any kind. For central units, you will also want to check the filters, as clogged ones can dramatically reduce efficiency, and ducts, to ensure that there are no leaks. If you have window-mounted a/c units, you will want to ensure a snug fit, and make sure the vent is closed when it’s not in use.
LED are tremendous energy-savers, and as the technology improves and longer bulb lives become more common, they will be money-savers, as well. Although the primary savings will be attributable to their lower power consumption, they are cooler bulbs and therefore will have a small but continuous heat-reducing effect.
Being a conscientious planetary citizen takes more than green bumper stickers and Energy Star appliances, although these help (the appliances more so than the bumper stickers). It will take a strong, cooperative effort in cities, counties, states, the U.S. and the world, and it starts with you. It all depends on your effort to develop an energy-conscious lifestyle to ease your financial burdens as well as the planet’s environmental ones.
As you can see, preparing to install a solar power system means much more than estimating the square footage of sunlit roof area, or figuring out the rebate plan in your state. When you take the steps toward installing your solar power system, these simple steps will keep your energy-use estimate low, and will help save thousands on a system that is sized properly for your home. Reducing your energy consumption will save you money as well as relieve energy pressures on the planet.
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