Did you know that the average American household spends more than $2,000 per year on energy bills, with nearly half of that amount going towards heating and cooling alone? With the extreme rise in temperature in the summer and drop in temperature in the winter, your gas and electricity bills will spike accordingly. In a world where energy costs are continually on the rise, these numbers are far from trivial. The quest for a more energy-efficient home has never been more vital, not only to save money but to reduce our carbon footprint as well. Fortunately, homeowners have more control over their energy bills than they might think. Through thoughtful adjustments, implementing energy-efficient technologies, and understanding how energy is consumed in the home, reductions of up to 25% or more are within reach. This article will explore the practical ways you can take control of your energy consumption, save money on your bills, and contribute to a greener planet all at the same time.
What Could Be Contributing to Energy Inefficiency in Your Home?
While the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds residential energy consumption to account for approximately 20% of the total energy consumed in the United States, a significant portion is wasted due to both inefficient practices and faulty home appliances. Other common culprits of energy waste include air leaks, missing or damaged insulation, dirty air filters or ducts, and HVAC system blockages.
These imperfections are not the only cause of high monthly energy bills. Running appliances such as the dishwasher, washer or dryer during peak hours can actually cost you more. Peaks hours are times of the day when energy use is especially popular. Morning peak hours are typically from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and afternoon peak hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. To reduce energy costs, consider running these appliances during midday or overnight.
Energy Saving Lighting Solutions
Switch to LED light bulbs: LED (Light Emitting Diode) lightbulbs are not only energy saving, but they create a cleaner and brighter home look. Using at least 75% less energy with 25 times the life span than regular, incandescent bulbs, LEDs are the optimal alternatives for energy savers. These bulbs fill the room with light in a way many incandescent ones struggle to do individually, and they are cost-effective due to their lengthy lifespans.
Utilize natural light: Allow natural light from the sun to fill your space and keep your overhead lights off. This can be especially efficient during the morning and afternoon hours when the sun’s rays are not as strong, as they could potentially heat your home.
Turn off lights when not in use: Light is important, but if you are not in the room using it, turn it off to avoid using extra energy. When you travel, be sure to turn off all the lights in your home. Consider replacing your outdoor lights with auto lights that turn on when the sun goes down and off when the sun comes up.
Heating and Cooling Tips
Set your thermostat controls: Your thermostat should remain on the auto setting, allowing the HVAC system to automatically heat or cool to match your set temperature. In the warmer months, the temperature should be set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the cooler months to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use ceiling fans to cool down: Ceiling fans cool people, not the home. Don’t use ceiling fans in an attempt to cool your house and don’t keep them on when you’re not in the room.
Seal and insulate your home: Air leaks are invisible ways that energy is escaping your home. When you have air leaks, your HVAC system has to work harder to maintain the internal temperature of the home. Seal leaks with caulking or weatherstripping and ensure your insulation is not damaged or missing.
Upgrade to energy efficient appliances: Most appliances nowadays have an energy rating for efficiency. Consider investing in highly rated energy efficient appliances to save money in the long run.
Energy-efficient cooking methods: Use energy-efficient cooking methods including grilling or air frying and condense your meals into one-pan or one-pot recipes to use less energy and create less clean up!
Maintain and clean appliance filters: While most homeowners don’t think about cleaning their appliances, it’s a critical maintenance step that could save you money. Change out any filters regularly and clean the appliance thoroughly.
Electronics and Gadgets
Unplug small appliances when not in use: Small appliances, such as coffee makers, toasters, and printers, still consume energy even when not in use. Unplug these appliances when you aren’t using them to avoid losing money to “vampire outlets.”
Turn off electronics when not in use: Electronics, such as TVs, can consume a lot of energy and having the TV on when not watching it could be costing you a lot of money. When not in use, turn it off!
Use a smart outlet to control energy use: Smart outlets and strips with on/off buttons are a great way to control your energy use with electronics and small appliances. By utilizing these technologies, you can turn off all electronics at once and start saving energy.
Everyday Habits for Energy Savings
Dress appropriately for the weather in your home: If it’s winter, dress in warmer clothes, even in your home. Turning up the heat can turn up your energy bills as well. If you’re cold in your home, wear a sweater or use a blanket to keep warm.
Air-dry instead of using heated dry: The air can do a great job at drying clothes and dishes and is free to use. Rather than putting your clothes in the dryer or setting your dishwasher to heated dry, let them dry out naturally.
Home Improvements for Energy Efficiency
Replace single-pane windows: Replace single pane windows with double panes, as they conserve the indoor temperature, preventing leakages and subsequently increased energy bills.
Add solar shades or tinting film: This is a fairly inexpensive way of protecting your home’s internal temperature from the sun’s heat, which allows your HVAC unit to run easier in the summer.
In the modern era, where the need for sustainability aligns with our daily living costs, adopting energy-saving practices within our homes is not just a wise choice—it's a necessity. From simple adjustments like sealing air leaks and optimizing thermostat settings to more substantial investments in energy-efficient appliances, you as a homeowner have a plethora of opportunities to cut down on energy consumption and costs.
One of the most important services we offer at WIN is an IR Scan, as it identifies electrical miswiring, moisture build-up, and areas of heat loss can keep residents safe from total disaster. IR scans are non-invasive and used to detect thermal abnormalities caused by leaks and other sources of energy waste. Your HVAC system contributes greatly to energy usage, so allowing a professional inspector to examine it is valuable.
An invaluable tool in this energy-saving journey is an Infrared (IR) Scan. This cutting-edge technology allows homeowners to see what the naked eye can't. By visualizing temperature variations within a home, an IR scan can pinpoint areas where energy is being lost, such as poorly insulated walls, gaps in windows, or unseen leaks in the roofing. Identifying these common energy inefficiencies empowers homeowners to make targeted improvements, potentially saving hundreds of dollars annually.
WIN Home Inspection offers a comprehensive Infrared Scan, providing you with a detailed inspection report on your home's health, safety, and energy efficiency. By scheduling an IR Scan, you can pinpoint areas that require attention and take necessary measures to improve energy efficiency, saving both energy and money in the long run. And with our Healthy Home Check, you can get an IR Scan along with other essential services including a Home Maintenance Assessment, Sewer Scope Inspection, and Air Quality Test to help guide repairs and save you money.
By adopting these simple habits, you can reduce your electricity bill and contribute to environmental preservation.
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