Simple Steps to Saving Both Energy and Money Within Your Home

If you are looking to save money and make your home more energy efficient at the same time, you might be surprised at how easy and simple it is to do. Here are some steps to get you started. The first thing to do, which is easy, free and necessary is to walk around the inside of your home with a pad and paper. Look at each space (including foyers, utility rooms, garages, etc.) and write down everything in the room that uses energy or that potentially wastes money. Be thorough in your notes, even if you aren’t planning to make all changes right away. For example, standing in a foyer alone you might feel that a draft comes in from the outside door and/or windows or that a light bulb isn’t of the highest efficiency it could be. Write these things down. Even though you may not intend to replace windows with tighter fitting ones (at least not immediately) having it on the list will remind you that it needs to be done and with some innovation and research you will be able to come up with some inexpensive fixes in the meantime that will save you money in the immediate.

Some things to look for, to get you started are as follows: In the bathrooms look at your shower heads. Are they high efficiency shower heads (low-flow spouts) or have they been there forever? Do you take longer showers than you need to at higher water temperatures than necessary? If so, is this something you would be comfortable limiting in order to save energy and money? Do the seals in the water faucets fit tightly? One small drip can cost quite a large amount of money on your utility bill and waste quite a bit of water. Ensure proper fit or repair faucet leaks as necessary (this is true in any room that has running water, make sure you check the seals for proper fit and note if anything is leaking). Make sure the seal on your commode is properly fitting as well. A running commode is also quite costly. Keep in mind that there are newer energy efficient toilets you can purchase, if you are willing to make the upgrade. Some even have manual variations in their flushing capabilities, allowing a light or heavy water flow as needed. Check your caulking along tubs and showers to make sure none is in disrepair and if it is, repair it.

In the laundry room, check for leaking faucets or improper fitting seals. Wash clothes in cold water when you can, do not fill the washing machine up higher than it needs to be for a particular load, do not run the dryer on a cycle longer than necessary to dry your clothes, and be certain to clean your lint traps on both washer and dryer to keep appliances from having to work harder and longer than necessary. Also be sure to check your dryer hose vents both inside and outside to ensure they are not clogged with lint.

In the kitchen, check for water leaks on sinks, drafts from doors or windows, connections on the ice box in the freezer, the temperature on your refrigerator (using an energy-efficient setting will allow you to keep the contents at the temperature you like while saving you money at the same time), proper fit of the dishwasher, if the dishwasher is set to the most energy-efficient water setting, and the overall lighting situation (are you using fluorescent bulbs which are fantastic for saving money?).

Throughout the entire house, keep doors closed so heaters/air conditioners do not have to work harder, turn down the temperature on the water heater, replace all common light bulbs with energy-efficient ones (which also last much longer than the traditional bulbs), place door strips down to prevent drafts from entering, keep doors shut tightly when not in use and open only the amount of time needed (such as when entering or exiting) in cooler weather. Make sure proper fitting storm windows are in place during the winter months, or install tightly fitted plastic on them, especially created to stop winter drafts. Inquire as to whether or not your home has the capability of installing a programmable thermostat (make sure you are keeping your thermostat temperature up to the highest degree it can be and the family still comfortable). Keep the lights, stereos, electrical items, etc. on, only when you are using them. Don’t just walk out of a room with the television on, not to return for hours. Take the simple steps over to it and turn it off. It only takes a second to do and it saves you in the long run.

These are but a few things you can do to make your home more energy efficient while saving yourself money at the same time. Every home and family is unique, so take a look around, jot down every way you see to start saving energy and money in your home, and get to work fixing/adjusting those items. In no time at all you will have the self-satisfaction of knowing you are operating your home in the most efficient manner possible and you will have some extra savings to boot.

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