Cut Home Energy Costs: 5 Easy Ways
With the economy in tatters and unemployment still hovering around 10%, it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet. In some homes, 75% of the electricity used to power electronics and small appliances is consumed when they are turned off; according to the Department of Energy website. There are many ways to save money through home energy efficiency. But before you start breaking into the house unplugging things to save a few bucks, you need to know which areas of your house are costing you money. Here are 5 tips on how to save real money simply by keeping your home from using energy when you’re not around.
1. Do a home energy audit
Do an energy audit of your home. This tells you where in your home you may be losing money. You can hire someone to perform this audit professionally or do it yourself. Seeing as you are looking to save money, you can do it yourself quite easily. The Department of Energy website goes into all the details and tells you exactly how to perform an energy audit on your home, the link is below.
2. Install green switches
Reduce your energy consumption by installing “green switches” in your home. A green switch is a device that controls power to all electronic devices connected to the output of the green switch. All electronics use energy even when they are turned off because they draw power from the outlet while they are plugged in. Just think about the television, DVD player, stereo, and computer. Every night while you sleep and they are turned off, they continue to draw electricity while they are plugged in. Think of a green switch like a light switch for your electrical outlets. Just don’t use them for electronic devices that continually need power to function. For example; your DVR or refrigerator.
3. Light bulbs
Light bulbs are an easy way to save a lot of money on energy costs. Switch to energy saving light bulbs, they are a little more expensive than traditional light bulbs but last up to 3 times longer and use much less energy than traditional light bulbs. If you like traditional light bulbs, you can still save money. Use fewer light bulbs than you are used to. Most kitchens, bathrooms, and dining rooms have multiple light sockets in their light fixtures. Instead of using two 100-watt light bulbs in the kitchen, try using one 150-watt light bulb. Four bulbs in a dining room seem like too much, two will give a lot of light. The Department of Energy website says that it is better to use fewer higher wattage bulbs than more lower wattage bulbs. Use motion-sensor lights for your home’s exterior instead of keeping an exterior light on all night, or use solar-powered exterior lighting.
4. Digital thermostats
You’d be surprised at all the millions of homes that still have thermostats that are over 15 years old. Digital thermostats now have all sorts of features that, by design, save you money on your energy bill. They are more accurate in getting the right room temperature, which means the system works only when it needs to. You can also give it specific times to turn it on and off throughout the day and night; which is more efficient than just turning up the thermostat when no one is home.
5. Insulation and drafts
Every spring and fall you should walk through your home, inside and out, and check for insulation and drafts. Replace any insulation that is rotting, falling off, or damaged. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal windows, doors, and any other areas that are not properly sealed. Check doors for drafts, garage for holes or weather damage, and foundation and attic for possible damage.
There are dozens of ways to lower your energy bill. These will get you started on the path to energy savings. Green switches, digital thermostats and energy efficient light bulbs may seem like small potatoes to you, but give it a try and watch your energy bill go down. As a bonus, you’ll also help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Next time you’re looking to save a little money, look around your home for more ways to reduce your energy costs.
Home energy audit: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/energy_audits/index.cfm/mytopic=11170