Improve your home’s energy efficiency, save money, and keep your house comfortable with these 10 energy saving ideas.
An energy efficient home can lower electric and fuel bills, maintain or increase resale value, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
1. Install and set a programmable thermostat.
This simple project can save up to 10% per year on heating and cooling costs! A programmable thermostat allows you to set it to your desired comfort level when you are home and automatically adjust when you are asleep or away from home.
2. Use the Sun!
The sun’s rays can contribute heat in the winter but force air conditioners and fans to work harder — and use more energy — in the summer. In the winter, take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home. In the warmer months, use light-colored window shades or blinds to reflect heat back outside to keep your home cooler and more efficient. Using natural lighting effectively will also reduce the need to use artificial light.
3. When replacing appliances or purchasing electronics, look for ENERGY STAR appliances, fans, and electronics.
Your home’s appliances and electronics account for close to 20% of your electric and water bills. Using ENERGY STAR® certified products — which incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-15% less energy and water than standard models — throughout your home could save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the products. For example, ENERGY STAR clothes washers use about 40% less energy than conventional clothes washers, and reduce water bills. ENERGY STAR washers also require less detergent and are gentler on clothes, saving you money on clothing expenses.
4. Choose energy-saving lighting.
Lighting makes up approximately 10% of your home’s electric use. Replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, could save you $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LEDs.
5. Use an electronic power strip for electronics.
Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called “energy vampires,” these devices cost families about $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. Don’t forget to unplug your chargers — they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.
6. Check seals of your windows, doors, and skylights.
The light and warmth from sunlight, and needed ventilation that come from windows, doors and skylights can also negatively impact a home’s energy efficiency. There are two solutions:
- Install new energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights in your home. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s ENERGY STAR certified products offer greater savings than ever before.
- If your budget is tight, check for air leaks and install necessary weatherstripping. For DIY directions, click here.
7. Reduce energy for water heating.
Water heating accounts for about 14-18% of your utility bills. These low-cost tips can help you reduce your water heating bills:
• Make sure your water heater is set at 120 degrees or lower.
• Install low-flow shower heads or temperature-sensitive shower valves.
• Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.
8. Hire a professional to maintain your heating and cooling system.
Be sure to schedule annual maintenance appointments with a qualified technician. They should check the airflow over the coil and test for the correct fluid (refrigerant) level in cooling systems, and check the combustion process and heat exchanger are operating safely in your furnace. They should ensure proper airflow to each room for both systems. In addition, you should clean the air filters in your HVAC system once a month and replace them regularly.
9. Install an ENERGY STAR Roof.
An ENERGY STAR qualified roof is more than an inexpensive weekend warrior project, it can save you money in the long run. These roofs reflect more of the sun’s rays while reducing the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings, and can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15%.
10. Check Insulation and Sealings in Attic and Basements or Crawlspaces.
Drafty rooms, cold floors, and uneven temperatures throughout your house may signify a need to check insulation and sealings in your attic, basement, and ducts. A house needs to “breath” but too much draft will drive up heating bills and let the heat easily escape.
K&M Building and Remodeling can help you with any and all of these projects. From checking for air leaks to installing a new roof and everything in between, K&M is your go-to contractor for energy and cost savings in your home.
Statistics provided by www.energystar.gov.
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