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The decision to save energy at home can be one of the smartest moves you make. Electricity is one of the most significant costs of maintaining a home, and for most people, there are plenty of opportunities for savings.
Beyond being good for your monthly budget, saving energy is also a good way to protect the environment. For people who are looking to reduce their monthly bills, here are ten tips for cutting down energy costs.
How to Save Energy at Home
Manage Your Thermostat
Heating and cooling account for more than half the average home’s energy consumption, so if you are looking to save energy, your thermostat is one of the first places you should look.
When it comes to saving money on home heating and cooling, every degree counts. A few degrees higher in the summer or lower in winter can save you a significant amount of money. You may also want to consider a programmable thermostat. That way, you can set a heating and cooling schedule that is based on your daily patterns.
Add Home Insulation to Conserve Energy
Insulation plays an important role in preventing heat loss, but in some homes, the insulation is not performing as well as it could.
You need to check to make sure there is enough insulation in your attic and that it is properly installed. You may also want to consider insulating your attic access and draft-proof your home. As another measure to prevent heat transfer, you could consider having your windows replaced.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting
If you are looking to save electricity and cut your energy costs, switching to more efficient lighting is one of the fastest and easiest ways to do it. Lighting is about 5% of the average home’s energy bill, and while that might not seem like much compared to heating and cooling, it can add up over time.
With incandescent bulbs, only about 10% of the energy goes to producing light; the rest is all heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs not only use less energy, but they also last much longer than incandescent bulbs. You also have LEDs, which use about a quarter of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb and they can provide up to 25 times more hours of lighting.
Only Heat and Cool Spaces That are Occupied
Most home heating and cooling systems can be managed in a way that allows you to control the airflow to different rooms. If some rooms are not in use, close the vents and shut the door. Since empty rooms don’t need to be comfortable, it is a good way to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing comfort.
You could also consider using a space heater in your bedroom and turning down the furnace at night. If your bedroom is the only room that is occupied at night, this could be a way to save energy.
Maintain Your Home Heating and Cooling System
As I mentioned before, heating and cooling is one of the most significant costs when it comes to energy. Proper maintenance of the heating and cooling system can be one of the best ways to save energy and cut the costs of heating and cooling. Not only that, but it can also extend the operating life of the components.
If you want to save energy at home, you should be checking and cleaning/replacing your furnace filter every month when the system is in use. You should also have your air conditioner cleaned at least once annually. You may also want to consider getting your ducts inspected and to make sure the seals are still good.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
If your appliances are old, there is a good chance that you can save a significant amount of energy by replacing them with ones that are Energy Star certified. This can apply to smaller countertop appliances, but the biggest savings will come from switching out larger appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. If your air conditioner is getting old, you may also want to consider replacing that with a more efficient model.
Wash Clothes With Cold Water
If you wash your clothes in warm water, about 90% of the energy used is going to heating the water. The worst part is that you do not even need to wash most loads with warm water.
Newer washing machines perform better than they used to, and modern detergents now have cleaning enzymes that perform better at lower temperatures. By washing more of your laundry in cold water, you can significantly reduce the cost of washing clothes.
Cut the Vampire Loads
Vampire loads refer to energy that an appliance or piece of electronics may consume when it is in standby or not in direct use.
Some of the worst offenders include home entertainment electronics and computer hardware. Your TV is constantly consuming power in standby when it is plugged in, your printer could be another culprit, you may even have to look at things like your washer, dryer, and dishwasher. If you can switch some of these devices off at the wall, it would help to conserve energy. You could also consider plugging items that are commonly used together into a shared power supply that can then be unplugged when they are not in use.
This might not be a way to use less power, but it is a way to reduce the amount of electricity you draw from the grid.
Home solar power has gotten much more practical over the last ten years, and installations are much more affordable than they used to be. If you are looking for a way to reduce energy costs and protect the environment, solar is definitely something to consider. The average installation pays for itself in eight years, and there are different tax credits that could help you to pay for the cost.
Plant Some Trees
Your home landscaping can actually play a role in saving you money on home heating and cooling.
Some well-placed trees can shade the home and reduce the amount of heat gain in the summer, and this will mean that your home air conditioner will not have to work as hard to keep the home cool. In addition to that, the same trees can act as a windbreak during the winter. This will keep your home warmer in the winter, and that will take some of the work off the furnace.
Jennifer Jones is inspired to teach people to live frugally to help people to take the stress out of their life and live to the fullest. Read more of her writing on The Frugal Mrs Jones.
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