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Make A Beach House More Energy Efficient – 10 Tips That Work


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Here are some simple (and advanced) ways to start saving money on energy costs by making your beach house more energy efficient! While any one of these can save you money, the more ideas that you combine, the higher your potential savings will be.

Tip 1 – Unplug Unused Devices.

We all have the habit of leaving electronic devices plugged in all over the house, even when not in use. What you may not realize, however, is that these devices steadily draw some amount of electricity. Whether it is your TV, monitor, cellphone charger, your laptop and even your music system, energy is being consumed even while the devices are not in use. Get in the habit of unplugging them whenever you are not using them.

Bonus Tip – Make sure you don’t leave anything plugged in during the off-season that doesn’t absolutely need continuous electricity. Over the course of several months of “unused time” these devices could draw a decent amount of energy.

Tip 2 – Ventilate Your Beach House Passively

When the weather is nice outside, this is one of the best ways to keep your beach house cool. Allowing natural airflow through the structure will keep you from using too much energy trying to cool the house.

Whenever there is a breeze, you can open up the windows and doors to let the cool air flow right in and aerate the whole place. During the day, pull back the curtains and let the sunshine light the room and you’ll gain extra benefit by not having to use electricity for lighting.

Tip 3 – Air Seal The Thermal Envelope

If you really want to make an impact on your monthly energy use, invest a weekend in air sealing the countless cracks and joints both inside and outside the beach home’s structure.

Start with the windows and apply an energy efficient insulation film. You’ll increase the window’s ability to seal in condition air on those days when the weather will not permit passive ventilation. It’s a simple and inexpensive project but it can make a measurable difference in window efficiency.

Next, seal any cracks around the interior windows with latex caulk. You’ll want to do this on the inside and the outside, making sure to pay attention to joints where materials meet.

Make sure the weatherstripping around the doors do not allow air or light through.

Finally, grab some cans of Great Stuff foam spray and get to work sealing every pipe and wire entry coming into the house. If it is a visible area and you need a cleaner look, latex or silicone caulk can be used if the hole is not too large. I recommend you read Is My Home Energy Efficient? Here’s How To Know! to gain a full understanding of the importance of air sealing and opportunities that may exist in your beach house to improve efficiency.

Tip 4 – Make The Switch To LED Lighting

If you are still using incandescent lighting in your beach house, you are literally throwing money away at this point. The debate over LED lighting was resolved years ago and these days its hard to find other options at a hardware store.

Tip 5 – Supplement With Solar Power

One thing beach houses generally get plenty of is sunshine. You can invest in smart solar power solutions that will literally pay for themselves and save you money month after month on your electrical bill.

For great ideas on how to save money by supplementing your lighting with solar, read How To Get Started With Solar Power (Simple Solutions!)

I also recommend you read Seven Reasons Why A Solar Generator May Make Sense For You

Tip 6 – Add Insulation Under The Flooring

If your beach house is on stilts, then you have large area under the flooring that is exposed to the elements. You can significantly reduce your energy loses in the beach house by properly insulating the flooring. Before you do this, however, make sure that you take the time to properly air seal all of the joints as well as pipe and wiring entries into the structure. Insulation does not block air leakage.

Tip 7 – Automate Your Energy Savings

Ecobee smart programmable thermostat

You can take your energy savings to another level by adding some automation to the process. Just as the solar lighting will automatically turn on and off, you can use a smart thermostat to control your beach home’s air conditioning and heating system.

Programmable thermostats have been around for a while but the new smart thermostats take the frustration out of programming. You can set up schedules on your mobile phone to have the system automatically adjust temperatures throughout the day. You can even turn the system on or off remotely.

I have had these installed in my home for the past two years and have grown to really appreciate the level of control over my central air’s energy usage.

If you are interested in learning more, read my previous post on how to Automate Your Home Electricity Savings.

Tip 8 – See Inside Your Walls and Ceiling To Spot Energy Waste

Unless you designed and oversaw the building of your beach house, you really have no way to know how energy efficient it was designed. One of the best investments that you can make is an infrared camera attachment for your smartphone. These devices allow you to look into the walls and ceiling of the structure and quickly identify hot and cold areas where insulation or air leaks are negatively impacting your energy efficiency and, ultimately, your utility bills.

These are actually amazing devices. It can be surprising to walk around a home or beach house and see hot or cold spots that you would have otherwise easily overlooked. I think with a little diligence an investment like this could easily pay for itself in energy savings.

If you are wanting to know exactly where the waste is happening, consider investing in one of these. Amazon has models available for both iPhone and Android.

Alternatively, there are also inexpensive infrared thermometers that can help you identify hot or cold areas but they are more of a pinpoint device meaning you have to know exactly where to check in order to find a problem. This is the model that I purchased off of Amazon back in 2015 but they have a new model available that may be a better choice.

Tip 9 – Wrap Your Water Heater

Water heaters and the piping that extends from them suffer heat loss. As that heat is lost, the system has to go to work heating the water again, using more energy. This is an endless cycle of a water heater and though you can’t stop it completely you can take some measures to slow the cycle down.

By insulating the water heater and piping, you can reduce that heat loss and save on your energy bill every month.

Tip 10 – Adjust Your Energy Usage Patterns

This is one I mention frequently in my posts, and there is a good reason for it. As much as having an energy efficient beach house will impact your utility bills, how you choose to use the energy that you consume stands to equally have an impact.

Gain a better understanding of how your energy usage patterns represent a significant portion of your monthly utility bills and how you can make minor adjustments to cut utility costs. Read Why Is My Electric Bill So High? Here’s The Answer!

Conclusion

Implementing one energy saving idea can save you a little. Implementing several can save you much more. Beach homes are not meant to be a burden, they are meant to be enjoyed. By investing just a little time and effort into making your beach home more energy efficient you can relax in a more comfortable living space and really enjoy your investment.

Make sure to read my other posts on energy efficiency. Don’t let it just be a passing interest. Make it a quest!

All my best.

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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