Top 10 Ways to Conserve Energy at Home
If you fear the arrival of your monthly energy bill, following some of the techniques listed on this page can significantly reduce your utility bills.
Whether you take the easy-to-implement strategies or the strategies that require larger investments, you’ll see lower energy bills. Over time, those savings will pay for the cost of your investment and increase the property value of your home. You can put some of these strategies into practice and save energy by starting today.
1. Wash clothes in cold water
Using hot water to wash laundry can be one of the most energy consuming activities in a home. Cold water can make your clothes just as fresh and clean, and there are soap manufacturers who make laundry detergent specifically for cold water. Always do a full load of laundry when washing.
2. Install compact fluorescent lamps
Compact fluorescent bulbs use much less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs. They use 5 times less energy and last up to 15 times longer. This investment is a straightforward decision. The return on investment for replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFL’s is less than one year.
3. Always air-dry your dishes
Instead of using the heating cycle in your dishwasher, use the air-dry option or leave the dishes to dry on their own. After a dishwasher’s washing cycle, there is good amount of heat available that will help air-dry the dishes.
4. Seal air leaks through doors, walls and windows
Seal air leaks through your doors, roofs, walls and windows by using silicone caulk, foam or rubber. Air infiltration through cracks will make your air conditioning and heating equipment work harder to maintain a certain indoor air temperature. Spraying foam or silicone caulk to cover cracks, and weatherstripping doors and windows are inexpensive and simple-to-do measures of energy conservation.
As a side note, when sealing with silicone caulk or foam, make sure to use them around areas that will not move like chimneys, outdoor vents and cracks on walls. Use weather stripping materials for places that move like doors and windows.
5. Install high performance windows
Upgrade your windows to energy efficient, double-pane windows with low-e coating and heat rejecting properties. Windows are the most important elements in your home when it comes to saving heating and cooling energy. High performance windows can save anywhere from 10% to 25% of your heating and air conditioning bill.
If you are using clear, single pane windows, replace them with shaded, double-pane windows. If there are no cold winters in your city, then it is not necessary for your windows to have two panes of glass. However, it is necessary to install windows with some type of shading or film that will block solar radiation from entering your home.
6. Add insulation to your attic
Ensure that your home’s insulation is thick enough to keep heat and air-conditioned air inside the house. According to the US Department of energy, 43% of all the energy consumed in a home is due to heating and air conditioning. The better insulated your home is, the more money you save on heating and cooling bills.
Start with the attic first, as it will give you the best return in energy savings for your effort. If you live in a climate with cold winters, adding wall insulation should come next. Spray foam insulation in spaces between insulation panels or any cracks you see in your walls and attic space.
7. Install a programmable thermostat
Install a programmable thermostat to control your heating and cooling systems. A programmable thermostat will turn down the air conditioning and heating automatically when you’re away from home. You can set your thermostat to turn off the A/C automatically when you go to work and then turn it back on a half hour before you get home.
The US Department of Energy states that you can save 10% of your electric bill by setting back your temperature by 10°-15° for eight hours. Programmable thermostats costs around $50 and are very easy to install. If you own a central heating or cooling system, there is no reason not to buy one.
8. Use the sun’s energy to your advantage
Open your curtains in the winter to allow sunlight and warmth to flow through the windows. Close them in the summer to block solar heat from your home. A good rule of thumb is to leave your curtains open on all windows facing east so that the sun can warm your home during cold winter mornings, and to close your curtains over all windows facing west to block out the hot afternoon sun.
9. Purchase Energy Star appliances
Use Energy Star appliances whenever possible. They are found at most department stores with the Energy Star label on them. All Energy Star products meet strict energy efficient guidelines set by the US Department of Energy.
Your energy star appliance may be eligible for a rebate from your utility company for recycling an old appliance and replacing it with a new energy efficient Energy Star product. Start by replacing your refrigerator, air conditioning unit, washer, and dryer. They are the most energy consuming appliances in your home.
10. Generate electricity from solar energy
Installing solar power systems can completely eliminate your electricity bills if you follow some of the energy conservation measures mentioned here. On top of saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in electricity bills, the extra electricity produced during peak solar-heat hours can be sold back to the utility company. Adding a solar power system to your home will also increase the property value.
With rising costs of energy, there has never been a better time to implement these measures to conserve energy and save money in utility costs. Start making changes in your home to save money, increase property value and produce a positive impact on the environment.