How to Conserve Home Energy
If rising utility bills are about to drive you crazy, maybe it’s time to reduce your average home energy use. Not only will you save money, but you’ll feel the pride which comes with being a smarter consumer.
The following tips will tell you how to cut your home energy use and save money in the process. While most people will never use all of them, just trying a few will result in a drop of your typical home energy use.
Solar Water Heater
If you want to save over $500 per year, then it might be time to consider a solar water heater. Sure, the cost and installation fee are higher than normal models, but it will more than pay for itself in the long run. This is an excellent start towards cutting your home energy use. You can even include the cost of a solar water heater in your mortgage.
While heating or cooling your house will cost the most, appliances are usually the next major culprit when it comes to home energy use. Typically, freezers and refrigerators will be the worst, but this cost can be offset by upgrading to energy-saving appliances.
When appliances aren’t in use, it’s a good idea to keep them unplugged. I’m not suggesting you crawl behind the television set every night, but easy-to-reach items like toasters or blenders can be easily unplugged when not in use. Also, try to avoid plug-in air fresheners, as they do require electricity to work.
A power strip is also a good way to turn off multiple appliances at once. Items like video game consoles and cable boxes are a constant energy drain, so plugging them all into a power strip allows you to save energy with the flip of one switch.
You’ll also want to make sure that an appliance like a freezer or refrigerator meets your size requirements. If you don’t need a huge refrigerator, you can save energy (and money) by getting a smaller model.
According to studies, lighting accounts for about 12 percent of home energy consumption. If you’re looking for ideas on how to cut your home energy use, try the following:
- Turn off lights when not in use. Motion sensors can also be installed to help with this.
- Use natural light to illuminate your house in the daytime. Open the blinds and let the sunshine in.
- Candlelight. If you’re really serious about reducing your average home energy use, you might try relying on candlelight one night per week. It may sound strange, but you would be amazed at how quickly you’ll adapt to it. If you’re in a relationship, this can also set a very romantic mood.
- Energy-efficient lights. These bulbs last 15 times longer than normal bulbs.
Heating And Cooling
Heating or cooling your house throughout the year is a constant drain on your finances. Try the following tips in order to reduce home energy use:
- Make sure your walls and ceilings have proper insulation.
- During the winter months, opening the shades will allow sunlight to come in and naturally warm the room.
- Be sure to use caulk and weatherstrips around all your doors and windows.
- Try to keep the temperature at around 78 degrees.
- When possible, use ceiling fans instead of the air conditioning.
- Keep your shades drawn during summer months to cool your house.
- If you’re away from your house, turn the thermostat down. You can also turn it down at night, as you’ll already be warm under the covers.
- A reflective roof can help your home from getting too hot.
- Planting trees on the south side of your house will help cool it in the summer while still allowing sunlight to get through in the winter. Just make sure to plant trees which shed their leaves during the fall and winter months.
- If you really want to save money during the summer, try turning off your AC and placing a wet towel or blanket on your chest. You’ll be cooled as the water evaporates, and you’ll save a ton on your energy bill.
- Solar screens. These eliminate 75% of the heat coming through your windows.
- Regularly replace the air filter on your AC. Once a month is optimal.
Appliances Using Water
Appliances using water are a pain, as they add to both your water and electric bill. Here are a few tips on how to cut your home energy use when operating appliances using water.
- Low-flow shower heads use less hot water than regular shower heads.
- When washing clothes, make sure to place them in warm or cold water. Avoid the “hot” setting.
- Only use your dishwasher when it’s full. Be sure and take advantage of the energy saver cycle.
- Consider air drying your dishes or clothing.
- Adjust your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid baths and don’t stay in the shower too long.