Household Energy-Saving Tips

These days it seems that everyone has new ways to save resources or ‘go green’ as they say. There are ways to make your own cleaning products that are less harmful to the planet and products available to use less energy. Everywhere you look it seems like ‘energy-efficient’ is the new ‘anti-bacterial’. There are simple things you can do around your house that will save you money and energy, some of which may seem like common sense when it’s all said and done.

Starting from the top to the bottom, the attic is the first place where you can begin saving. Make sure the access to your attic is properly fitted, whether it’s a pull down door or a simple pop up door. If possible add some insulation around the door or weather stripping. Add additional insulation to the attic itself if necessary and be sure your attic has proper ventilation.

Moving on to the bathroom, there are tons of very simple things you can do in terms of saving water. The easiest is to turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. Baths use much more water then showers so whenever possible opt for shorter showers with cooler water rather then steaming hot. Make sure every faucet is tightened securely and has no leaks. Routine maintenance of your bathroom should include cleaning your shower heads to remove particles that build up over time.

Most people do not want to cut back in the bedroom because they refuse to compromise on sleeping comfort. There are ways to cut back and still get a good night’s sleep. In bedrooms that aren’t being used, like guest rooms, close the vents so that the room isn’t heated or cooled unnecessarily, and place a draft guard by the bottom of the door. Ceiling fans do a great job in cooling off rooms in the summer, and when put in the reverse position can push heat back down in the winter. Add extra blankets for warmth rather then turning up the heat.

In living spaces with fireplaces make sure the damper is closed when not in use, and close the glass doors if you have them. Cold and warm air alike can escape through this small space. Try wearing a sweater in the winter rather then adding more heat, and use a ceiling fan in the summer to cool off a big area better. Reversing ceiling fans in the winter in living spaces works the same way as it does in the bedroom to push heat back into a room. Turn off appliances like TVs and stereos when you leave the room. Compact florescent light bulbs, while a bit pricer then standard incandescent bulbs, are not only superior in energy savings, they cut down on your bills and last substantially longer then regular bulbs.

The kitchen is a great place to save. Check the light bulbs and bulb covers over your stove as part of your regular maintenance to clear them of grease from cooking. Those exhaust fans on your stove are great but they also suck out your air conditioned or heated air so use them at a minimum. If you can’t buy one of those new energy saving dishwashers, don’t worry. A regular dishwasher still saves more hot water then hand washing, and every dishwasher comes with the energy saving air dry feature. When you’re cooking in the oven try not to open it any more then necessary. It drops the oven temperature, requiring it to expend energy heating back up, and in the summer a hot oven can considerably heat up your kitchen. If your kitchen allows for it place your refrigerator away from your stove and any other major heat source. Clean the coils every few months, more often if you have pets.

In the laundry room make sure you are washing full loads, rather then a few items, if possible. Try to wash as many loads as you can in cold or warm water and always use a cold water rinse. When using a dryer make sure the lint trap is cleaned between every load. In the spring and summer try to dry clothes outside and use your dryer at night as much as possible so hot air doesn’t fill your house during the heat of the day.

Make sure all your heating and cooling ducts are checked out and keep filters clean. Schedule yearly maintenance check ups to keep your heating and cooling systems working at an optimal level. Put outdoor lights on a timer or a light sensor so they only come on when needed. Set your water heater to 120 degrees to conserve hot water and as an added bonus it helps prevent small children from getting scalded. The first 3 to 6 feet of pipes that lead to your water heater should be insulated, as well as your water heater itself. All appliances should be on a maintenance schedule to keep them working properly.

A few simple tricks and some regular maintenance can help save you and the planet. Most of these things are fairly easy and inexpensive to do, but will go great lengths in lowering your bills, as well as reserving resources. Changing a few habits is all that is needed for a lot of these tips. Even if you haven’t caught up with the ‘going green’ phenomena, most people are willing to save a few dollars. By following these simple changes you can do both!

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