Energy Saving Tips for the Home

Energy Saving Tips for the HomeDid you make a resolution to go a little greener in the New Year?  Even if you didn’t, there are definite benefits in trying to save the planet a little bit more every day.

When trying to save energy it is important to think about the entire household.  Don’t just think about things like adjusting the thermostat; instead consider all the rooms in your home and how they are using electricity.

Unplug Unused Appliances

Home energy statistics estimate that appliances that have a “sleep-mode” and are left plugged in end up costing around $100 dollars in energy costs every year on average.  Televisions, stereos, toasters; these are all culprits consuming what has been dubbed phantom power.  If something is not in use and is unimportant for your day to day life then unplug it.

It might be a bit of a chore running around the house unplugging appliances but if you have multiple devices plugged into a surge protector you can save yourself some time.  By  turning off a surge protector you are breaking the circuit, meaning no electricity is passing to any of the attached appliances.  This allows you to quickly disconnect phantom power consumption.

Watch the Windows

The biggest loss of heat during winter months is usually through the windows of a home.  And a big cost of home utility bills in the winter comes from home heating costs.  Keeping your windows covered with a blind or a curtain is a good way to protect against loss of heat.  During the daylight hours open up the blinds and let some sunlight in to help in heating your home.  When night falls so should your blinds.  Cover your windows at night to keep heat in and the cold out.

This also lets in natural sunlight which is a very attractive and efficient way of lighting up a home, which means you won’t need to turn on as many lights.

Dial it Down

Government energy research has found that people can expect a 10% reduction in home heating and cooling costs every month if a thermostat is dialed back 5 to 10 degrees for at least 8 hours a day.  Installing a programmable thermostat may help in this and there are many low cost programmable thermostat options available.

You can program your heater or air conditioner to take a break while you’re at work or when you’re sleeping.  Just a few hours of your home’s heating or cooling system doing less work will translate to saving a little more cash when your end of month bill comes around.

Adapt to Changes in Technology

Are you using LED bulbs in your home yet?  Replacing a dozen of your standard filament type light bulbs with LED lights can result in a savings of nearly $50 dollars a year according to US government energy statistics.  You don’t need to go around your house replacing all of them right now (although that would be a good idea), instead have a supply of LED bulbs ready to go when your old ones burn out.

Do you have motion sensors installed on any of your outdoor lights?  There is a misconception that motion sensors save electricity on outdoor lights, when in fact they do not.  Most motion sensors have a power draw of around 25 watts, because the sensor needs electricity to stay powered.  It would actually use less electricity if you installed a 10 to 12 watt LED bulb in the same lighting system.

There are always exciting things happening in the home-energy fields, such as the smartphone apps debuting earlier this year that allow people to control home automation systems such as lights and sprinklers, remotely.  While the technology is still a little pricey at around $180 dollars for a single light switch, it is a step into an interesting direction.

Going green and saving energy is getting easier to do all the time.  Hopefully you’re on board with this healthy trend, because any excuses why you might not be are quickly becoming fossils.

Ross Donald is an eco-conscience DIY dad. When he’s not in the shop working on the next big project, he’s outside with his two daughters. Ross writes for

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