Laying the Groundwork
If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, it’s helpful to prepare the rest of your home to support a solar system and maximize your savings. The best place to start is by making your home more energy efficient and reducing unnecessary energy usage prior to your solar installation.
To get started, find out what your total electricity usage is by checking with your utility company or looking at your past electricity bills. Your home’s energy usage depends on many factors, including the size of your home, how many people live there, and your home appliances.
When designing a custom system for your home, the solar installation company will take into account two main factors: the features of the roof, such as its size, obstructions like vents, dormers, and chimneys, and your home’s overall energy usage. The goal is to cover as close to 100% of your energy consumption as possible to reduce or eliminate your electricity bill.
However, if you use a lot of electricity every month or you have a small roof, you might not be able to completely cover your electricity bill with solar panels. In this case, you should consider getting an energy audit to identify areas where you can reduce your energy usage. Not only will an energy audit maximize the benefits of solar power for your home, it can also save you money on your electric bills and your home can be more energy-efficient.
Should I Get an Energy Audit Before Going Solar?
An energy audit is a smart step to take before installing solar panels on your home because you’ll get a better understanding of your monthly energy usage and optimize your investment. An energy auditor can also tell you where your home’s efficiency could be improved so you can reduce your electricity load and let your solar panels cover more of your electricity bill.
It’s also possible to undertake energy efficiency and solar panel installation simultaneously. Some solar loan products allow you to bundle financing for both in one package, potentially with lower interest rates or higher maximum loan amounts.
Even if you’ve already installed solar panels or plan to do so first, taking on energy efficiency measures afterward is still beneficial. Solar energy can prompt you to pay more attention to how you’re using electricity so you can maximize your savings.
It’s worth noting that solar panel systems do gradually degrade over time (as all technology does) and produce less energy. An energy audit done in the future can be helpful to ensure that your solar panel system continues to generate enough power to eliminate your electricity bill.
Overall, conducting an energy audit at any point will reduce your energy costs, as can installing solar panels. Combining both measures will simply maximize your long-term financial benefits.
Reduce Energy Use
Reducing your family’s energy consumption is a great way to get your home ready for a solar panel installation. Conduct a home energy audit to identify areas where you’re losing or wasting energy. You can either hire a professional auditor or do it yourself by checking for obvious air leaks or drafts, along baseboards or the edge of the floor. You should also look at windows, doors, lighting, plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets for leaks.
If you find any leaks, seal them by plugging and caulking holes for faucets, pipes, electrical outlets, and wiring. You should also check for cracks or holes in the mortar, foundation, and siding. Take a look at the insulation levels in your ceiling and walls as well and inspect your heating and cooling equipment annually.
You should also replace any filters as needed for forced-air furnaces and have a professional clean and check your equipment once a year. You may also want to consider replacing any older equipment with newer, more energy-efficient models.
Using appliances and electronics more efficiently will also help reduce your overall energy consumption. Switching off or unplugging appliances when you’re not using them, only running your washing machine when you have a full load, and drying your clothes outside or on an indoor rack are all great ways to save energy.
Lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill, so switching to more efficient options will save energy and money. For example, LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and lead to greater savings for your wallet and the environment in the long run. You could also install dimmer switches or motion-activated lights for further energy savings.
After Solar is Installed
If you’ve already installed solar panels on your roof, there’s still ways you can reduce your energy consumption. You can monitor your solar panel performance by accessing your data and tracking how much energy your panels are generating. It’s also important to keep your solar panels clean, as dirty panels can reduce efficiency. Cleaning them annually with a common garden hose can help them operate at maximum capacity.
Another way to lower your energy use is by making adjustments inside your home. You could upgrade any outdated appliances, like a 10-year-old TV, with a new energy-efficient model. You could change your shower head to a low-flow model to reduce your water use, which you won’t need to heat with your solar panels generating electricity. Small changes like these can help you maximize the energy savings from your solar panel system.
Once you’ve laid all the groundwork for your solar panel installation, your home will be ready to produce clean, reliable energy for many years to come. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or lower your monthly electricity bill, investing in solar energy is a wise, eco-friendly solution.
If you’re ready to save money and power your home with clean, reliable energy, contact us today for a free customized solar quote.