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Top 5 energy-efficiency upgrades for an older home

By FPL Expert

Asked on: March 3, 2011 by Bob T., Port Orange

My wife and I own an older home and we’d like to make it more energy efficient. What one home upgrade would save us the most money on our electricity bill?

There are many ways to save energy and money in your older home. Here are some ideas, in order of savings:

  1. Install a more energy-efficient air conditioner to save the most.
  2. Make sure you have at least six inches of insulation in your attic.
  3. Schedule an A/C ductwork test to check for leaks. Nearly half of all homes have leaky ducts, which can cause your electric bill to increase.
  4. If your home is more than 20 years old, replace high-flow showerheads with new low-flow ones. This inexpensive improvement saves water and the electricity to heat it.
  5. Upgrade any ordinary light bulbs you replace frequently with compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs last up to 10 times longer and save about $50 in electricity over the life of each bulb.

To learn more about saving energy and our rebate programs that help you pay for efficiency upgrades, visit www.FPL.com/programs.

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Comments [32]

  1. Jeremiah Dailey

    I had six inches of insulation which I think is an r-19 and my house was hot and my ac ran continuously. I recently had ten more inches added which brought the level up to r-38. My electric bill was slashed down about $70 dollars my first month. I’m kicking my self for not doing it sooner.

  2. bigal080

    My questions is as follows:
    My house was built in 1925, and still has the original jalousie windows. I know that these windows are very inefficient and I do have a lot of heat that comes into the house. My problem is that the cost to replace the windows is extremely high and I was wondering if FPL has a program that can help me finance the cost?

  3. Robert

    In a recent post- you mentioned ‘depending how old your tank is?”
    What innovations make recent tanks any better than old ones- Its just a tube with a heater coil- isn’t it? Nothing that has changed since Edison?
    There has been no improvements in coils, insulation or design that I know of.



    One of the top ways to save electricity is to replace your 1 1/2 hp pool pump with a new 3 hp variable speed pump. As you have to run your pump every day of the year, no matter the weather, to run the salt chlorinator and the baracuda It is the second largest consumer of electrity in our house! I run the pump 6 hours per day at 45 gallons per minute to run the baracuda. The salt chlorinator must run a minimum of 30gpm. I’m saving aprox. $308 (52%) of my previous annual annual usage. I estimate a 3 1/2 year BE point.

  5. Gabriel Martins

    why I have to pay almost 3 times more in summer then in the rest of the year. I do know that I have to pay more in the summer but I still think it is too much. I stop using pool pump I have water heat at 120 Refrige at #2 thermstat a/c at 78.

  6. Don West

    I live in a 20 year old house and am wondering about attic insulation. The existing is R-19 batt insulation. I was thinking of blowing in R-30 fiberglass or celulose. At what point does the insulation value save less than the cost? I have 18 seer AC and insulated impact doors and windows.
    Thanks Don

  7. ronaldo

    I HAVE a 15 feet x 12 new room 15 feet x 12 roof i installed 8 ” insulation touching the plywood of the ashfalt shingles i painted the shingles with hi radiant white paint , if 100 f degree outside has great same or less heat inside, nice i plan to add a 2″ foam and concret to the new siding and a new 2000 btu 220v window a c. what else can upgrade to hi efficient . thank you ronaldo

  8. Leverett Stone

    Good info. Think you should include something about “properly disposing of dead CFL bulbs.” They should not be thrown out in the garbage. I know of several Lowes (maybe all?)that will take the bulbs.

  9. Hugh

    I would say the most effective energy saving upgrade to a old house is plug drafty windows and improve insulation in attic.

  10. Deborah Kinsella

    For older homes, what about windows??

  11. Don Hopkins

    I have 1300 Sq Ft home with many vents in the soffit but there is no roof vent to let air out at the top. How much difference does that make?

  12. David Bush

    What can snowbirds do to save on energy costs? Airconditioner, hot water heater, windows, refrigerator etc… ?

    Looking forward to your answer.

  13. claude grate

    does fpl pay for insulation installed in your attic or does it give you a discount. my neighbor told me fpl pays for the insulation blown in the attic

  14. William Garrison

    Bought home in December of 2010. We bought new appliances. Can we get a rebate on the energy effient ones?

  15. Ina Wolf

    may need a new heater for my pool…would you recommend a waterless hot water heater? If yes, what brands make them and what is the efficiency rating for each.

  16. lisa

    I have a humidity dial dont know how to use it to save on using my AC unit plus in the summer i am away most of time what should i keep the AC on and should i use the humidity dial and what should it be on?

  17. Paul Stefanko

    does FPL give rebates on window tinting for homes?

  18. Eleanor

    Our hot water tank is 15 years old, and I would like to know what is the most energy/cost efficient way to replace it. I would especially like to know more about the waterless electric whole-house heater and solar heater. My spouse and I are living in a mobile home.

  19. Judy Pokras

    Compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which is toxic, and if they break, it’s very harmful to anyone in that living space. LED bulbs are preferable, because they are totally safe, great for the environment and give us much value. They may cost more to buy, but they last literally for years.

  20. fred switzman

    What is the near future for solar panels; I expected research to have produced more efficient
    and cheaper panels…………..Also if it occurs
    will the state give tax incentives to those who
    do wish to take advantage of this in sunny Florida?

  21. gene martin

    my home is a 12 yr old townhouse with 2 bedrooms upstairs and the master bedroom downstairs. Last month I had two zones installed for A/C and heating, and now have 2 thermostats. I hope this will save on energy bills and, I’d like to know if I am entitled to either a FPL or government tax credit or rebate.

  22. kirk burnett

    What programs are available to me to insulate and put a new energy effecient roof system on my house?

  23. Michael Sherman

    Change savings #5.
    Instead, use LED lights and save a bundle!
    Come on FPL, get with it. CFL’s are 1980 technology and they have mercury that pollutes ground water because people don’t properly dispose the used bulbs.
    LED bulbs generate much less heat, last up to 50,000 hours, and use less electricity.

  24. gillone piguet

    I am on my Association Board of directors and we are thinking changing our community pool heating system )actually on gas) with a electrical heater or solar pannel
    what do you think is will be the best for the future and is it a good idea to change how can we save energy

  25. Lionel Dejour

    I have been away from home most of the time and could not take the necessary steps to reduce the consumption of electricity.Now that I am home,soon,I will contact for the knowledge necessary to work together with you to help keeping this planet greener for our children.If you have any information about”insulating a very hot attic,”please,send it to me.That is going to be my first job.Thank you for all the informations
    on saving electricity. L.D.

  26. Jillian Kurtis

    Those are all great hints!

    I recently leased a home that’s over 50 yrs old but still in great condition. We found a $20 drop on our bill by making sure none of the doors or windows leaked air, under, over, on the sides.. Also we saved another $20 by not allowing our 2 and 4 yr old to open doors to the outside($4 for pack of 3 childproof door handle covers at Walmart!), while my husband and I were sure to keep the doors shut as much as possible! And during the cool but not cold months of the year, we’d turn the a/c off altogether and the breezes kept us plenty cool. Plus it was nice to get fresh air all throughout the house!

  27. bill

    so what happened to your in-home energy survey?

  28. h.

    I am leaving Florida for 5 months and would like to know what setting on my a/c is best to keep my 1500 sq. ft. villa at. And of course would like to keep my electric cost down as much as is safe for my furniture, etc. I pulled the plug on my refrig. and shut off the hot water.
    I also have a humidistat.

  29. Nicholas J Costa

    What is the most energy efficient way to heat a home?

  30. Nicholas J Costa

    Are infrared heater cheap to operate?

  31. Nicholas J Costa

    I have seen many ads about how inexpensive infrared heaters are is there any truth to these ads?. 1500 watt heater only cost a dollar a day to heat up tp 1500 square feet.

  32. David

    CFL bulbs are an excellent longer-term investment; we make the investment each time our older, less-efficient bulbs burn out.


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