Saving Energy at Home
No one likes paying the energy bill. Fortunately there are simple affordable steps for saving energy at home which can make a major difference in lowering your monthly energy bills, once and for all.
Saving Energy at Home: Go After the Big Spenders First!
If you are serious about trimming your energy use, look to the biggest energy users first. Address each of these areas first in order to make the biggest impact on your electrical usage, and dent in your monthly energy bill!
- Cooling – Did you know you can save over $200 per year if you use ceiling fans to make your room feel just a few degrees cooler and reducing your use of air conditioning? There are more strategies to reduce your air conditioner’s use, including clever shading, blinds, and screening techniques, plus smart management with programmable thermostats. To learn a lot more about the top 12 ways of saving energy at home for cooling see Energy Efficient Cooling.
- Heating - You can save over $1,000 per year by turning off the heater while you are not home and by using space heaters in your room at night while the heater is turned down in the rest of the house. To lower heating even further, choose heaters which assist saving energy at home, such as the solar air heater, radiant floor heating systems, bio-mass heating, or a vegetable oil heater. To learn how to use a thermal leak detector to fix drafts and much more, including the top 5 principles for saving energy at home in heating, see Green Heating Systems.
- Hot Water – Insulate your hot water pipes and wrap a blanket or insulator from the hardware store around your water heater, which can reduce the energy it requires by 10-15%! If you insulate the closet or room where the heater resides, it will boost this energy saving tactic even more. For older water heaters use a water heater timer to keep it off while you are at work and sleeping, and you can turn it off altogether while you are out of town. In addition to your primary water heater, you can use a Solar Water Heater System to dramatically reduce your hot water costs with free solar energy, while the electric water heater kicks in when needed.
- Washer – If you wash your clothes in cold water instead of warm water you can save $150 per year in energy cost! For most conventional loads of laundry washing cold water will do the same good job as washing them warm, so why waste energy? Enjoy saving energy at home even more by adding $100 in additional annual savings by opting for a front load instead of the common top load washer.
- Dryer – If you use a clothesline or laundry rack instead of a dryer you can save $200 per year in energy costs. Make sure to clean the lint out of the filter trap before every load to receive the maximum efficiency of using the dryer. You also ideally want your dryer to use air from inside your house instead of to draw it from outside, where it may be much colder which requires more energy to heat it up.
- Lighting – You can save over $120 every year if you switch ten 60-watt bulbs over to Compact Fluorescents (CFL’s.) Also consider using free natural lighting such as south facing and uncovered windows, plus skylights and light tubes. Turn off lights you are not using and save almost $300 per year! To make this easier, use automated light switches with motion detectors which turn on when you arrive, and turn off once detecting a period of no activity at all. Why reach for a light switch when you can just keep on walking while the hallway lights up for you!? Saving energy at home is easy when it is automated and more convenient.
- Refrigerator – If you own a model from the mid 1980′s, your fridge is using more than 4 times as much energy as today’s models! Even if your fridge was made before 2001, you can save at least $75-$100 per year in energy costs by upgrading to a newer model. Choose Energy Star rated models, preferably newer than 2009, or the most recent year for the absolute highest rating. While in use turn the ice maker in your freezer OFF, and make your ice cubes in trays instead, as this feature can make your fridge use up to twice as much energy all the time! Also be sure to vacuum the coils on your refrigerator to keep it running smoothly.
Reduce Electricity Use to Save Green
Another great benefit of saving energy at home is that it is the quickest way to reduce coal emissions, a driver of many environmental concerns. When we reduce electricity use or waste by 50%, we not only chop our energy bill in half, we also reduce emissions by half!
Green Incentives for Saving Energy at Home
Many governments around the world are offering incentives to taxpayers who decide to become more energy efficient, and who use green home power. In the US you can earn a 30% tax credit for the technology and installation of cost saving solutions like insulation and more efficient appliances, heating, and cooling.
Receive an Energy Audit to Help Reduce Electricity Use
After you have looked into and made as many of the changes above to save energy at home, or if you are overwhelmed and want someone to guide you at home from the beginning, consider requesting a home energy audit.
Many utility companies, or HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) contractors will provide a free, or typically under $99 service, to check out your home and to tell you where you can make the biggest impacts to reduce electricity use and save you money.
They may then offer you services to fix those items, and you can choose to hire them, or to use it as a basis for comparison for other offers, or as a guide or inspiration to do it yourself! Either way, saving energy at home can be easier with Pro advice.
Featured Solutions for Saving Energy at Home
To see how much energy your appliances are using, plug in a Kill-A-Watt Power Meter, which will give you details on your energy use and show you how much extra you’re spending by leaving things on.
It calculates and forecasts your energy use and cost by week, month, and year, with eight units of measurement to choose from with easy controls and large LCD screen.
The sensor is attached to your electrical meter, to read it and report to the display. It tells you how much power is being used and what the cost is for the energy. Studies show electricity monitors like the Power Meter reduce electricity use and energy bills by 20-30%!
Thermal Leak Detector
This simple hand-held Thermal Leak Detector device measures the surface temperature of wherever you point it, and indicates where there are sharp differences in temperature, which indicate air leaks. This way you can easily find the drafts to fix them – which is essential for saving energy at home.
Uncover drafts from surprising places like power outlets, around pipes under sinks, lighting fixtures, and more.
Automatic Light Switch
You can attach this reliable Auto Light Switch directly to an existing light switch. When someone walks into the room the light switch is turned on immediately!
Depending on the setting you choose, the light will stay on for 1-30 minutes after sensing no motion, and then automatically turn off, to save you from wasting energy.