6 ways to save on energy!
Let's face it: As soon as the summer heat really kicks in and you turn on the AC for the first time, you start to dread seeing your next energy bill. But while we know air conditioning can be a major energy sucker, there are also some other not-so-obvious culprits that could be hiking up your energy bills all year round. Since we're all looking for ways to save energy (and money!), we drew up a list of some of the biggest energy suckers in your home, so you can stop them in their tracks.
We've been hearing this for years now: Switch to CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs and save money. Well, it's still true. Using incandescent bulbs will cost you around four times more per year than CFLs, and 10 times more than LEDs. Not to mention the amount of energy they consume:
You may have hit the off switch, but if there's a little glowing light or it tells you it's in standby mode, then your electrical appliance is still sucking energy. One solution is to group items you don't use constantly — such as your coffeemaker and toaster, or your charging stations, computer, and TV — onto a shared power strip, and switch that off when you leave for work or head to bed. You'll take down several of these guys in one fell swoop.
If you can't program it, you are doing yourself a major disservice. We're not saying you need to go out and buy a Nest right this minute; there are lots of choices these days, many of them very affordable, that will allow you to program your thermostat for peak and minimal usage times. Some will even connect to your phone via an app and allow you to adjust your home temperature if you plan to stay out late or to ready the house for when you come home. Cooling an empty home is just a waste!
Air leaks around doors and windows can be a major energy-waster, but they can be easily remedied with some caulking and weatherstripping. This should be part of your routine home maintenance in spring and fall, but if you skipped it this year, there's no time like now to remedy that. You don't want to be cooling the whole neighborhood, do you?
PRO TIP: How old is your insulation? Many types break down after 15 or so years. Water leaks and varmints can further erode its durability. Consider upgrading to new insulation that has a higher R-value, which is a measurement of the insulation's ability to retain heat or cold.
If you're in an older house with single-pane windows, upgrading to double-glazed is the best gift you can give yourself. You'll reduce energy loss, block street noise, and save money, while also increasing your curb appeal and possibly your home's value!
There are lots of things you can do to reduce how hard your water heater has to work and make sure it's running efficiently. Be sure to insulate both the heater and your hot water pipes. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning down the temperature to 120 degrees to save up to 22% on your home energy bill annually. Taking shorter showers and only running the dishwasher when it's full will also help reduce hot-water costs.
When you know what you're up against, it's much easier to defeat these energy-wasters throughout your home. After all, knowledge is power.