Easy Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption
Saving energy is about more than simply saving money. Lowering your energy consumption can also reduce your impact on the environment as a whole. And that's a proverbial win-win for everyone.
Saving energy also doesn't have to be hard. Making even a few small changes around your home can potentially result in big financial savings. Below are a few tips on ways you can get started.
Get an Energy Audit
Determining the energy efficiency of your home is the first step toward understanding what you need to do to fix the places where your home is leaking energy. Perhaps your windows need caulking or maybe your heating and cooling equipment is antiquated and needs replacing. Maybe your older home has less insulation than is ideal.
All this and more can be determined by having a certified professional visit your home and perform an energy audit.
For more information about energy audits, see our blog
Set Your Thermostat Higher
Heating and cooling account for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical home, making it the largest energy expense, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Set thermostats a few degrees higher and use ceiling fans. Every degree you lower your thermostat by can increase your energy use by 6 to 8 percent.
The location of your home’s thermostat can also affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. Place thermostats away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows.
Ways to Save Electricity, Natural Gas & Water at Home
- Turn off pool pumps and unplug appliances when not in use, such as your cell phone charger, toaster oven, coffee maker, printer and so on. Even though they aren’t on or you aren’t using them, they are still using energy!
- Turn off the TV when you aren’t watching it.
- Avoid using large appliances, like the stove or washer and dryer, during peak hours (3-8 p.m.).
- Make sure no cold or hot air is coming in through your closed windows or doors. If there is, try to fix it with caulk or weather stripping.
- Open shades in the winter and close shades in the summer and turn off the lights during the daytime. Or install smart shades.
- Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Enable your computer and monitor to "sleep" when not in use.
- Don’t leave the doors open to the outside for too long, and try to keep air conditioning/heat contained in the house to conserve on the amount of energy you have to use.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
- When doing the dishes, wash all the dishes first; then rinse. Get more water conservation tips here.
Check Your Appliances
There may be one price tag on an appliance at the store but there is another invisible one beyond what it costs to purchase it: the price it costs to operate it. If your appliances are over 10 years old, it's likely the energy technology to run them has improved dramatically. Given that appliances account for nearly 20 percent of the average household’s energy use, updating an outdated appliance might make good energy sense.
When looking for new appliances, look for those with the ENERGY STAR qualification. These appliances use advanced technologies to ensure anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy usage than standard appliances. Products in more than 60 categories, from dishwashers to refrigerators, are currently eligible for an ENERGY STAR rating.
For more information, check out our Appliance Guide.
Heating and Cooling Efficiency Tips
- On warm days raise your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher, if leaving your home for more than four hours.
- Keep windows and doors shut tight.
- Going in and out of the house repeatedly will make your air conditioner or furnace work harder.
- Use shades or curtains to block the sun and heat during warm weather and open them to let the sun warm your home during cooler months.
- Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean.
- Washing the outside coils and clearing high grass and debris will help prevent blockage of the air-flow.
- 15 Ways to Cool Down a Room Fast
- Calculate the Cost to Run Your Air Conditioner
- How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?
- How to Insulate Windows to Keep Heat Out
- Recommended Temperature for an Empty House
- What to Do If Your House is Hot Upstairs and Cold Downstairs
- Does Shade Help an Air Conditioner Save Energy and Peform More Efficiently?
- 13 Ways You Are Wasting Energy at Home
- Which Way Should Your Ceiling Fan Turn in the Summer and Winter?
- How to Keep Your House Cool Without Raising Your Energy Bill
- 9 Fall Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home
- 9 Winter Home Improvements to Help You Save Energy
- How to Heat Your Home More Efficiently