SMECO’s Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) can help you save energy and money in three ways. You can get a home energy analysis, an HVAC tune-up, and a smart thermostat. Plus, each service offers additional options to help extend your savings.
Typical Home Energy Improvements
Though your home energy consultation will determine your home’s specific needs and opportunities, typically recommended improvements include the following.
Sealing & Balancing Ductwork
Leaky ductwork and poor airflow can result in uneven temperatures and uncomfortable rooms. Your contractor might recommend sealing your home’s ducts, balancing the duct system, and insulating the ductwork in your attic and crawl spaces.
Properly installed insulation in attics, walls, and floors will reduce heating and cooling costs and provide more even temperatures throughout the house — so you stay comfortable in every room in every season.
Sealing Air Leaks
Air leaks allow cold or hot air to enter or escape from your home. Sealing air leaks is critical to improving the overall energy efficiency of your home and will help your heating and cooling system perform better.
Benefits of Air Sealing
Energy efficiency projects are great investments for homeowners. The improvements can make a home more comfortable while helping homeowners save thousands on their energy bills. When it comes to completing energy efficiency projects, many homeowners focus on insulation or HVAC upgrades without considering how other features of a home can impact energy consumption. At SMECO, we encourage homeowners to take a “whole-home approach” to energy efficiency upgrades, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program. Recommended projects focus on:
- Sealing major air leaks
- Addressing indoor air quality issues
- Ensuring adequate attic ventilation
- Adding insulation
When completed together, these improvements can increase the energy efficiency of your home and deliver savings that last for years—with little need for continued maintenance.
“After participating in SMECO’s Home Energy Improvement Program, the difference was night and day— they sealed the entire attic floor, as well as around light sockets and baseboards. We saw more than a 40% reduction in the total air leakage! There’s a significant difference in the temperature and in how much the HVAC runs.”
– Frances R., La Plata, Md., SMECO member
- Conditioned air leaks out of home
- These drafts make your home less comfortable
- Most areas have to be sealed from inside the attic
- Air leaks are sealed with caulk and foam
- Reduced drafts equal improved comfort
- Savings increase when combined with insulation
Increased Efficiency and Comfort
Air could be leaking in and out of a home through gaps, cracks, and seams in building materials. In addition to costing you money, air leaks also create drafts that let cold air in during the winter and hot air in during the summer. Since adding new insulation does little to reduce air leakage, properly sealing a home before adding insulation is critical to saving money and improving overall comfort.
Improved Air Quality
Pollutants from cleaning products, paint, air fresheners, stoves, fireplaces, humidifiers, and building materials can affect your indoor air quality. An energy expert can help you determine if your home is under-ventilated, which would allow indoor pollutants to accumulate. If necessary, they can recommend additional ventilation be added to minimize health and safety risks, plus provide peace of mind that your family is breathing fresh air.
Moisture in your basement or bathroom can cause musty smells and mildew to grow inside your home. Sealing air leaks in your basement or crawl space and making sure exhaust fans are properly vented out of your home can help keep moisture out and prevent costly repairs.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home by sealing air leaks can help you save more energy and money than adding attic insulation alone. In fact, projects recommended through SMECO’s Home Energy Improvement Program have a faster payback period than most other home improvements, including window replacements. Plus, SMECO offers valuable rebates to help you save even more.
It all starts with a home energy analysis, at no additional cost to SMECO members. When you schedule an appointment, a SMECO Energy Advisor will visit your home to help you find ways to save on your energy costs, plus:
- Install energy-saving items—like LEDs, faucet aerators, efficient-flow showerheads, smart power strips, and pipe insulation (electric and gas water heaters only)
- Discuss specific recommendations for your home, including attic and crawl space treatments, spot air sealing, duct sealing, and water heater and HVAC upgrades
- Provide a financial breakdown of the recommended upgrades, including estimated cost, SMECO rebates, and projected annual savings—you could get instant rebates up to $7,500
Ensuring Adequate Ventilation
Proper ventilation reduces indoor air pollutants, moisture, and odors in your home. Without proper ventilation, contaminants can cause health problems, and excess moisture can lead to mold or damage to your home. Your Energy Advisor will work with your installation contractor to determine if your home requires controlled ventilation for health and safety reasons. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s overview of ventilation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s fact sheet on whole-house ventilation systems.
Upgrading Lighting and Appliances
Lighting and major appliances can account for as much as half of your home’s energy use. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR® certified products—like LED bulbs, clothes washers and dryers, smart thermostats, and more—can help you save energy and money. Learn more about rebates for these energy-efficient products or visit the SMECO Online Store.
Replacing Heating and Cooling Systems
If your heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old, your contractor might recommend replacing it with a properly sized ENERGY STAR® certified model. Learn more about SMECO’s heating and cooling rebates. If you complete this work through the Home Energy Improvement Program, you may earn even more rebates for saving more energy! Ask your SMECO Energy Advisor to learn more.
Heat Pump Water Heater Rebates
You may qualify for a rebate when you upgrade to a Heat Pump Water Heater from an electric water heater through the Home Energy Improvement Program. Your new electric Heat Pump Water Heater must be ENERGY STAR® certified and AHRI rated. Only SMECO residential households are eligible. For rebate details, including space limitations, ask one of our Energy Advisors to learn more.
Want to see how it all makes a difference? Here is example of a home before and after the home energy improvements:
Before Energy Improvement
- Poor Insulation Levels
- Duct Leakage
- Inefficient Heat Pump
- Incandescent Bulbs
- Inefficient Appliances
- Gas Tank Water Heater
- Inefficient Furnace
- Potential Combustion Hazards
- Inefficient A/C
- Loose Ducts
After Energy Improvement
- High-Efficiency Attic Insulation
- Tight Ducts
- High-Efficiency Heat Pump
- High Efficiency LED Bulbs
- ENERGY STAR® Appliances
- High-Efficiency Water Heater
- High-Efficiency Furnace
- Combustion Safety
- High Efficiency A/C
- Insulated Tight Ducts
Financing Available for Home Upgrades
Interested in financing opportunities for home upgrades? You may qualify for low-interest loans for recommended energy efficient improvements. Visit Maryland’s Energy Efficiency Loan for Homeowners page to learn more about financing options.
Instant Rebates for Homeowners
When it’s time to decide which energy efficiency improvements are right for your home and budget, consider the instant rebates available from SMECO to help offset costs. You could save up to $7,500!
To be eligible for instant rebates, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- This offer is open to all current SMECO residential customer-members applying through the Home Energy Improvement Program only
- Homes must be located in SMECO’s service area
- Participants applying for Home Energy Improvement Program rebates must have a central air conditioning unit, air-source heat pump, or other primary electric heating system, and receive electric service from SMECO (Customers who purchase energy from an alternate supplier are also eligible)
- Customer-members applying for HVAC-only incentives should submit a rebate application through the Residential Heating and Cooling Rebate Program
- Certain eligible improvements might have additional requirements. To see if you qualify, request a home energy analysis with a SMECO Energy Advisor
- SMECO Online Energy Audit
- ENERGY STAR® Home Page
- U.S. Department of Energy EERE Energy Savers
- ENERGY STAR® @ home
- Maryland Energy Administration
- EmPOWER Maryland
EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you reduce your energy consumption and save you money. Learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate.