Most households in the US consume more energy than they need to. As energy prices continue to rise, more and more of our monthly budgets are going to cover these costs. The home is the biggest expense for the average american. We don’t have a whole lot of control over our mortgage (rent), taxes, and insurance premiums. However the money spent on energy to heat, cool, and run appliances can be managed. This article will discuss several home energy savings tips to reduce our overall energy use without sacrificing individual comfort. No matter what part of the country you live in, heating (climate control and water heater) and cooling take up the bulk of your household energy.
Heating and Cooling…. During the winter months, every 1 degree you turn down the thermostat will save up to 5% on your heating bill. You would be surprised how 1 or 2 degrees in temperature can save you a bundle (especially yearly). You won’t freeze to death over a slight decrease in temperature! Wear a long sleeve flannel shirt when you’re sitting around the house.
During the hot summer months keep the drapes (blinds) closed. This will help keep the house cooler. Install (use) ceiling fans to help circulate the air conditioning throughout the house. Turn the thermostat up a degree or so, just like in the winter it saves in the summer too. If you have pets going in and out of the house all day, install a pet door.
Replace the filters in your A/C and furnace every month. It will improve efficiency and allergy conditions. If you smoke or have pets you may want to change it even more frequently.
If you have baseboard units or radiators for heating, make sure you don’t have furniture blocking them. They work better with a clear path around them.
If you have a fireplace (when not being used), seal the chimney flue. The amount of heat lost through an open chimney is considerable. Add tempered glass doors to the fireplace.
Caulk and seal up the windows. If possible install double pane insulated windows in your home. You will be amazed at how fast they will pay for themselves. They also are great for reducing outside noise pollution. Leaky windows are probably the worst culprit for energy loss in the home.
Plant some trees in your yard. Trees are a wonderful way to break the wind and block the sun from beating on the side of your house. They can also provide shade for your outside A/C unit.
Consider using small portable heaters for short term use (a safe one). During those times when you don’t need to heat the whole house, these units work great for a small area (bedroom or bathroom). I use mine to heat up the bedroom and then get under the covers, turn it off and go to sleep. It costs a lot less to
heat a few hundred square feet than the entire house.
Install the correct A/C or furnace for the size of your home. If the unit is too small it will be on all the time. If it’s to large, it will waste energy too.
Install a programmable thermostat. They are easy to install and are relatively cheap. For around $50 it will not only pay for itself in a few months, but you will notice the savings right away.
Use a portable A/C unit in your bedroom. Just like the portable heater, why cool the whole house down all night while your in bed.
Adjust your water heater temperature down 5 degrees. Your water heater runs on 220v (if electric), so it can use a lot of electricity. Wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket.
Now here are some home energy savings tips for your appliances.
Be aware of the annual energy cost before buying appliances.
Run your dishwasher in economy mode (power saver). Unless the dishes are real dirty, the economy mode will work just fine.
Run the dryer just long enough to dry the clothes. Run it on medium heat, your clothing will last longer. Don’t run a big dryer with only 2 shirts in it. Air dry the clothing that doesn’t have to be done in the dryer.
Get a front load washer, they use less energy than top loaders. Wash more loads in cold water, detergents are designed for cold water today and clean just as well. Use cold water in the rinse cycle on regular loads.
Set your refrigerator to the manufacturers recommended setting. Be sure to defrost the freezer on a regular basis. Manual defrost the refrigerator, it will work better.
Use the microwave to heat small items. A microwave uses a lot less energy than a range. Use a small appliance rather than heating up the range to toast a bagel etc…
If you get in the habit of doing the little things, you can save an awful lot of money every month. And when you look at it by the year, it can add up to some serious money. Next to your house payment and your car payment, the next biggest expense is the energy to use them both. If you utilize some of these home energy savings tips, you’ll save money without sacrificing comfort. Use your common sense. If everyone could save 5 or 10% collectively, we could reduce our countries dependence on foreign imports and do a lot of good for our planet at the same time.