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Blog Jun 4, 2014

How to Save Energy at Home

Energy Saving

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It’s the warm summer season once again, and if you’re like many individuals, it may be time to buy a new home. Even if you’re not buying a new home though, these tips will still help you save money.

The changing of the months and seasons often makes for the perfect time for many individuals and families to relocate. For those on the market for a new home, finding the perfect fit is important. Something that is equally important is living in an environment where savings are possible. In order to do so, certain adjustments may have to be made that can enable greater energy efficiency. With these changes, not only will homes be able to save more energy, they will also be able to experience greater financial savings as well. Even better, these tips are not limited to those buying a new home and can still help you save money even if you are not moving.

These are the main ways you can save electricity at home

1. Purchase Energy Saving Appliances

For those moving into new homes, the question of whether or not to buy new appliances may arise. When it comes to energy use, something to note is that newer models are almost always more efficient than older ones, a fact that could prompt a purchase. As you go about shopping for new appliances, be on the lookout for the Energy Star label on the various options. Energy Star-labeled appliances generally use 10-20% less energy than standard models which makes for significant savings.

Energy efficiency is particularly important when it comes to your water heater, which is responsible for consuming the most electricity in your home.

2. New Windows Can Keep your Home Well Insulated

A surprising fact that many people are unaware of is that in our homes, windows can account for up to 25% of your electric bill. This most often stems from the effect of degradation on our windows as older ones can let in too much hot air, which may prompt your air conditioning to kick in. With a warmer internal temperature, it takes longer and more energy for your air conditioning to bring things down to the desired temperature.

Double-paned storm windows with “low-e” coatings are the best at minimizing heat loss. The difference of two windows versus one enables a bit of insulation within the space between the two pains, minimizing the amount of heat transferred into the home. Make sure you have weatherstripping that seals off air leaks as well.

3. Improve Insulation and Save Energy

Insulation is the buffer that keeps major fluctuations in heat from occurring throughout the various parts of your home like roofs and floors. As a result, insulating your home is an important means of fortifying the temperature within your spaces. For maximum efficiency, make sure your walls, floor, and attic have the insulation needed to keep your home energy-efficient.

Some homes are Energy Star certified, which means they meet the EPA’s energy efficiency requirements. If that hasn’t happened for the home you’re considering, ask the realtor if anyone has ever performed a home energy audit.

4. Conserve Energy with Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Even with mandate to end the production of incandescent light bulbs for consumer purchase by the federal government, incandescents are still used in many homes across the country. At the very least, you’ll want to replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, which have a faster financial payoff. They have a slightly higher upfront cost but will last several times longer.

Even better than CFL bulbs however are LEDs. These energy efficient bulbs save the most energy because they use less power to generate the same electricity and last even longer than CFLs. Because of their high cost though, LEDs still cost more to operate over their lifetime than CFLs. While CFLs are the most cost-effective option, the prices of LEDs are dropping and expected to decrease even more in the coming years.

5. Water-Efficient Landscaping

If the home you’re considering simply has to have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s an energy-efficient one. When it comes to boosting your home’s water efficiency, there are many ways landscaping can be modified in order to improve things. Some methods for doing so include using dark soil to retain more moisture, utilizing only native plants in your gardening and landscaping, and even replacing water-consuming grass with mulch that requires less maintenance.

Even in the event your home is newly constructed, there may still be opportunities to save energy. As you get a feel for the landscape and the needs of your property, be sure to keep an eye out for possible improvements that can be made.

6. Start Saving with a Programmable Thermostat

In order to regulate the temperature within our homes, thermostats require a significant amount of energy. To begin improving their efficiency, invest in a programmable thermostat for your home. Among other things, these devices help to maintain a consistent temperature as they are able to maintain steady waves of heat or cold. Energy can be saved by manipulating temperature several degrees, having your thermostat decrease the temperature difference between the inside of your home and outside.

By requiring your thermostat to make smaller temperature adjustments, you will require less effort of it and use less energy as a result. This will save you money and even time as you can set a cooling schedule to account for your temperature preferences and the season instead of doing it manually.

7. Save Energy with Power Strips

A significant source of energy used within homes that often goes overlooked as an expense is vampire energy. Known by a number of names, vampire energy’s suck is felt by electrical devices that have been powered down but remain plugged in. During this period, energy is used unnecessarily and can end up costing homeowners several hundred dollars each year.

To be more efficient with energy in your home, unplugging electrical devices after use is one means of stopping vampire energy. You can also consolidate your electronic devices into a power strip. Using this method, energy can be cut off by simply unplugging the strip down as a whole.

8. Use Less Water at Home with a Low-Flow Showerheads

The process of showering is typically regarded more for its water use than its energy use and due to this fact, most people fail to understand the amount of energy used to heat and maintain the temperature. The longer the water is kept on, the more energy is used and the greater the cost incurred. While taking shorter showers does present one possibility for saving energy, installing low-flow showerheads is another way to improve energy efficiency.

Low-flow showerheads can be installed in the place of standard ones and work by minimizing the amount of water that escapes. In doing this, less water needs to be heated during the shower which reduces the energy required. This process maintains water pressure, ensuring that the only difference is the efficiency.  

9. Adjust Hot Water Heater

Because the hot water heater is responsible for consuming so much electricity, finding ways to directly reduce the energy it uses is a great way to improve efficiency. One way to do that is by manually decreasing the temperature of the appliance. Water heaters are commonly preset to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that when met is dangerous for individuals within the home. Instead of demanding that kind of capability from your water heater, reduce the maximum out to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

This adjustment will ensure your home the ability to continue delivering hot water at decreased intensity. This will keep the water’s temperature from rising to a dangerous scald and will require less energy of the water heater. Addressing this as you begin settling into your new home will ensure you valuable savings early on.

10. Energy Efficient Laundry

While laundry day is often believed to be as simple as sorting clothes, using the washer and dryer, then doing some folding, in reality the process is a bit more complicated. This is largely because doing laundry can require a significant amount of energy. As people seek to save on time and energy, some will dump large loads into the washer and dryer. The problem with filling up the machines is that they are not able to wash things optimally and the laundry can put a strain on them. When that happens, your clothes will not receive a thorough clean or dry.

This may prompt putting clothes in again to give them a complete cleaning and can negatively impact the lifespan of a washer and dryer when done frequently. When seeking to do laundry efficiently, it is best to fill up machines to two-thirds or at most three-quarters capacity.   

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