How to Save on Energy Around the Home
This afternoon, I discovered my eldest son silently staring into the freezer — door wide open, icy air spilling out into the kitchen — lamenting the lack of ice cream inside.
After speeding through the healthy snack lecture, I launched into a teaching moment about energy conservation — what it is and why it matters.
Responsible energy usage is a great conversation to have with your family. And there are plenty of great reasons to go green, too.
By improving electrical efficiency around your home, you can help to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, boost your quality of life and even increase your property value.
From the easiest to the most advanced, here are some actions you can take to help reduce your energy costs and consumption.
Habits at home
Thermostat: Dial back your thermostat about 7-10 degrees when you’re not home. Temperature settings slightly closer to the conditions outside can reduce heating and cooling costs by about 10% over the course of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Meals: If the temperature is only slightly uncomfortable, don’t just reach for the thermostat right away. Around mealtimes, warm up with a hot dish in the colder months. In the summer, stick to uncooked or microwaved food so as to not raise your home’s temperature. After dinner, cool off with healthy and oh-so-satisfying DIY fruit and yogurt popsicles.
Tech: Whenever you’re not using your computer and other electronics and small home appliances, unplug them. Even better, hook them up to a smart power strip that can automatically turn itself off. This can shave up to $200 off your annual electrical bill, according to Direct Energy — leaving you some extra fun money for smart home gadgets.
Clothing: Wash garments, towels and linens on cold to spare your hot water heater. Then, air dry your laundry on a clothes horse or clothesline. If you abandon your tumble dryer, you can cut back your carbon footprint by 2,400 pounds and your utility bill by $200 per year, according to The Spruce. Also, if you dress appropriately for the weather, you won’t need to blast the air to feel comfortable indoors.
Easy installs and updates
Lighting: Give your light fixtures an energy-efficient upgrade by changing out incandescent light bulbs for long-lasting LEDs. USA Today has reported that you can save $1,000 over the course of 10 years with this simple swap.
Thermostat: Install a programmable thermostat like the Google Nest and you may save an estimated $145 on heating and cooling costs. Not only can you set the air to come on a few minutes before you get home, but a smart thermostat works harder to learn your preferences and keep your home cozy and cost-effective.
Ducts: Here’s a chilling statistic from Energy Star: If you don’t have proper duct insulation, you might be losing around 20% of your conditioned or heated air. Have a professional come and inspect your duct system to make sure there aren’t any gaps or vulnerable spots.
Water fixtures: Looking for a way to update your style while also going green? Opt for low-flow showerheads and faucets. For less than $20 per fixture, you can reduce your water consumption by around 25-60%.
Appliances: When you’re ready to replace old appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Look for the federally-certified Energy Star rating. Consumer Reports has noted that the average household saves $500 per year on their energy bills with these types of appliances.
Windows: If you want to make your windows more energy-efficient, you don’t necessarily have to replace them all. The DOE recommends attaching Low-E storm windows to the interior or exterior side of those that are already in decent condition. The low-emissivity coating reduces the amount of heat and light that sneaks into your home, eliminating 12-33% from your heating and cooling bill each year.
Yard: Did you know your landscaping dreams can actually make energy-saving a reality? The Arbor Day Foundation recommends planting trees in strategic locations around your property to provide natural shade cover and wind protection. This will reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 35%.
Insulation: By upgrading your insulation, you can save as much as to 50% on the utility bills that keep your home at a comfortable temperature, according to House Logic. Depending on your home and the climate in your region, you may be able to insulate the basement, attic, stud bays or crawl spaces.
If you put the effort into making your home greener, it’s a good idea to have a home repair plan to help take care of the costs of covered repairs. Visit HomeServe to find the right plan today.