No matter where you live across the United States, you’ll need to kick on either the air conditioning or heat at some point each month. Now that it’s currently cooler, you may be thinking of ways you can save money on heating bills. The answer is: making your home more energy-efficient.
There are dozens of methods that one can abide by to practice better energy usage, but we are going to highlight those that are most readily accessible for yourself and your family. Saving on energy doesn’t have to include an overall lifestyle change, but thinking better about your daily choices and living can certainly make all of the difference.
1. Regularly replace your air filters
This is probably one of the easiest habits you can get into to make your home more energy efficient. An old air filter will not be as effective in heating or cooling your home, and will actually make your system work harder (and expend more energy) in order to deliver the desired temperature.
Some manufacturers will recommend replacing your air filter once a month, but take note of what your own system calls for.
2. Seal up your home
Even if your doors and windows are shut, it doesn’t mean that cool or hot air isn’t escaping. Making that your home is better-sealed can mean big things for better energy usage in your home. It is recommended that you have a professional energy auditor take a look at your home and check for where air might be escaping.
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), common places where air can escape includes window frames, attic hatches, areas around wires and pipes, and many others. You can see a full list here.
3. Do less laundry
Here is where some lifestyle changes can potentially come into play when it comes to better energy usage. We often don’t think about how much energy gets used to do laundry, especially when hot/warm water is involved.
According to HouseLogic.com, a load of laundry that uses hot/warm water can cost, on average, about 68 cents. Compare this to a load with cold water, which costs about four cents.
Also consider that there is nothing wrong with reusing a towel after a bath or shower. Towels take up a lot of space in the washer, which is why they tend to constitute the better part of a load. Try reusing your towels, and note how you might be doing less laundry as a result.
4. Unplug chargers when not in use
With mobile devices being so intertwined in our daily lives, we love having a charger ready to go when we need it. However, it’s important to realize that even if a charger is plugged in but not in use, it is using energy.
5. Stick to ENERGY STAR-approved appliances
Years ago, it was fairly safe assumption that ENERGY STAR–approved products were more expensive than standard appliances. Well, technology advances in a short period of time. There’s been an increasing demand for products that save on energy consumption and costs, which now drives the entire market of what’s available to consumers. More often than naught, you’ll find ENERGY STAR-approved appliances, which are sometimes cheaper than their standard counter parts. This means you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for something that will save you money on energy each month.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, within a 1-year time span, over $100 can be saved with an ENERGY STAR-approved appliance. Within 5-years, that amount increases to up to $600 in savings. These are based on 2015 models. As each newer model comes out each year, you can expect to save even more on energy costs.
This isn’t an endorsement. ENERGY STAR is a program of the federal government that encourages customers to buy products that meet the requirements of efficient energy usage. Check and see if your current appliances are ENERGY STAR-approved, and consider replacing your old appliances with ones that have the mark. Approved machines help customers save money over time.
6. Put your shades and curtains to use
While it may not seem like it doesn’t very much, drawing your shades and curtains during colder nights can actually help maintain the heat in your home. On the other side, keeping them open on cold, yet sunny days, allow the sun to provide extra heat to your home. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of maintaining your temperature.
7. Skip the car. Ride a bike.
Cycling is becoming a more popular method for transportation in recent years, and for good reason. Other than the health benefits that come with cycling, putting less reliance on your car can mean major savings on gas. With local cities and towns implementing bike lanes, check to see if your commute or trip to the store is something that can be done on a bicycle instead.
8. Install a smart/programmable thermostat
Smart/programmable thermostats are capable of learning the temperatures you prefer to keep your home at, so you don’t have to be the one constantly making the adjustments. Consider learning more about how you can better control your heating and cooling with ADT Pulse security automation if you are looking to cut back on energy usage. ADT Home Security has recently partnered with Nest Learning Thermostats for a more complete experience in home automation.
9. Do away with incandescent lights. Use CFLs and LEDs.
Incandescent lights are quickly going by the wayside in favor of more energy-efficient LED and CFL lightbulbs. Take a look around your house and if any incandescent bulbs are still being put to use, and replace if possible. According to InterNACHI, CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs use even less than that.
10. Keep your interior doors open
If you’re trying to improve the flow of cooler or warmer air throughout your home, try keeping all interior doors open so that improved airflow can happen.