How to Lower Your Home Energy Usage
Are you ready to make it a sustainable year? It all starts by reducing your home energy usage!
Whether your resolution is to maintain lower energy bills, save the environment, or do both, why not start by figuring out what changes you can make to your home?
It might seem like an overwhelming task if this is the first time you’ve examined your home’s energy consumption and how you can reduce it. Luckily, we’ve got all the tools you need to make your home a sustainable, energy-saving home overnight.
Find out how to lower your home energy usage today!
Insulate Your Home
Your home’s insulation serves as a layer of protection to keep the outside air out and your conditioned air in. An insulation material’s thermal resistance, R-value, is what will determine its effectiveness. To properly insulate a home, you will want to check the R-value of the material you select and be sure that it meets the minimum R-value recommended for your area.
Additionally, your windows and doors need to be sealed with weather-stripping or caulking. Before adding insulation, you should inspect your existing insulation to ensure that it is still in good condition and consider having an energy audit to identify any additional areas in your home where you need additional insulation.
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances
When you upgrade, you’ll save money on your electricity bills and reduce your contribution to the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo, as appliances with this rating ensure at least 10-50% less energy consumption than other models.
Consider replacing your fridge and freezer, dishwasher, dryer, and washing machine if these appliances are over 5-8 years old. Air conditioners, water heaters, and stoves can also be subject to energy-efficient upgrades. In addition, you’ll also likely get tax credits or other incentives by switching to? Energy-efficient upgrades.
Use Energy-Efficient Lighting
LED lightbulbs, for example, use much less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Halogen and solar-powered lamps are also good options. Installing timers and automatic dimmers for lights can help conserve even more energy.
Avoid leaving lights on when they are unnecessary or investing in lighting systems with occupancy and daylight sensors as these turn lights on and off when needed. Furthermore, it is beneficial to invest in energy star-rated appliances, as they are designed to use less energy than standard models.
Adjust Thermostat Settings
It is especially effective during the hotter and colder months of the year. During summer, it is advised to set the thermostat as high as comfortably practical and to turn it off when leaving the house for longer than a few hours. During winter, it is beneficial to lower the thermostat to about 10 degrees before going to bed and set it no lower than 68 degrees when awake.
It is also beneficial to adjust the preferences of your thermostat to meet your needs, including programming temperatures for different times of the day and using the auto setting.
Seal Air Leaks
Start by walking around your home’s exterior and checking for drafts coming through windows, doors, and other openings. Patch up any broken caulk, weather strips, or door feels you find. Install foam insulation gaskets behind the outlet and switch plates, and use plastic to weatherize windows and doors.
Doors and windows should be properly sealed and caulked to keep air from moving through the cracks. Replacing old windows with double or triple-pane glass can greatly reduce air leakage. Inspect chimneys, vents, and fans for any leaking air and seal around them with caulks or sealants.
Optimize Heating and Cooling
To begin, installing a programmable thermostat that regulates the temperature in your home and turns your heating and cooling system off when you’re away from the home is a great idea. Additionally, you can service your HVAC system regularly and have it inspected by a professional to make sure your system is running efficiently.
Also closing blinds and curtains can also help regulate temperatures throughout the day and night. Lastly, when the weather warms up, turn off your AC and open windows for ventilation and added cooling.
Unplug Electronics and Appliances
To lower your home energy usage is to unplug electronics and appliances. Items such as:
Unplugging items like these can help save money on electricity costs. Additionally, power strips can be used to make things easier since all multiple items can be plugged in and unplugged in bulk. Unplugging items can also enhance the life of electrical items and certain appliances while reducing the chances of a fire hazard. Another great way to save on utility bills is to use sun and wind power to supplement electricity needs.
Utilize Natural Energy Sources
To get started with this method, you’ll need to invest in solar panels or wind turbines. Solar panels are a great choice as they can generate energy from the sun’s rays, even on cloudy days. Alternatively, you can think about investing in a wind turbine if you live in an area with a decent amount of wind. So don’t wait. Take the first step and learn about solar energy here today!
Practice Efficient Water Usage
Water heating is one of the top sources of energy consumption, so finding ways to reduce this energy burden can help you save a significant amount of money and reduce your carbon footprint. First, consider low-flow shower heads. Low-flow options provide the same quality shower experience while using less water per minute.
Additionally, avoid running the tap while brushing your teeth and washing dishes. Wait until you have full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. Finally, ensure that all systems, including:
- Shower heads
- Hot water heater
There are all tight and in proper working condition to reduce the amount of water lost or wasted through leaks.
Conduct Energy Audits
Energy audits identify areas in the home that need improvements in energy efficiency, from insulation and air tightness to the type of lightbulbs used. It can also provide an idea of how much energy the home is consuming and how much can be saved by implementing certain changes.
Plant Trees and Shade Structures
Planting trees and shade structures in the appropriate location can do just that. Trees provide natural shade to homes, reducing heat entering the home during the summer and providing wind breaks during the winter. These two factors can help cut your energy bill significantly. The trees and shrubs should be planted in strategic spots in relation to the sun and wind direction.
Consult with a local arborist on the proper trees based on your geographical area, and use native species that require less maintenance. Tall trees should be planted primarily on the south or southwest sides of the house, while smaller trees and shrubs should be planted on the east and northwest sides to get the most energy-saving benefits from the shade structure.
Dry Clothes Efficiently
Using a clothesline to hang wet clothes instead of an electric dryer will reduce energy consumption significantly. The sun’s energy is free and natural and can be used to dry clothes in all but the coldest climates without added energy costs. To utilize the sun to dry clothes efficiently, start by shaking out clothes and laying them flat to reduce the time needed for them to dry.
Dark fabrics should be hung in indirect sunlight in order to avoid fading, and a portable clothesline can be moved around for varied sunlight exposure. Consider adding a retractable indoor clothesline if the weather is inclement. Dryers can be used at the lowest temperature possible and in short intervals to further reduce energy usage.
Monitor Your Energy Usage
Through this system, you can easily track and measure your usage over a certain period, allowing you to identify which areas you need to focus on to reduce your energy consumption. For instance, if you notice that your energy bill stays high despite all of your efforts, you can check to see which appliances or lights are pulling the most power.
You can then take action to reduce the energy output of these items or turn them off when they are not in use. You should also check other sources such as water and heating, to ensure that you’re not wasting energy without realizing it.
Educate Your Household Members
Begin by explaining why energy conservation is important and how it can reduce costs. Explain to everyone that reducing energy usage diminishes non-renewable resources, helps reduce pollution, and protects the environment. Everyone should be encouraged to turn off lights, electronics, and appliances when they are not in use.
Make sure everyone understands that even when not in use, some electronics and appliances continue to draw energy. Household members should be instructed to only open refrigerator and freezer doors when necessary. Encourage everyone to use cold water for laundry or adjust the water temperature on dishwashers and washing machines to the appropriate temperature.
Start Reducing Your Home’s Energy Usage
Lowering electricity usage at home is an easy way to reduce energy costs and protect our environment. By switching to energy-efficient appliances and taking advantage of natural light and ventilation, you can make a big difference. Take action now and make sure to monitor your home energy usage; this will help you save money and help our planet.
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