Perhaps, you have come across many posts on how to save energy. It is important to keep on reminding you how important it is to conserve energy. From small adjustments in day-to-day energy usage to major home improvements, there are many ways to save energy. While conserving energy is important for many reasons, the two main motives are:
- Save on your utility bills
- Make your home environment-friendly
You can manage your energy bills, thereby contributing to a healthy environment. Here are 5 ways to save energy at home:
1. Maintenance of HVAC System.
This graph shows that the HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning – accounts for almost half (48%) of your utility bills. That’s huge! The big question: How to save energy?
Well, upgrading your HVAC is one of the ways to save energy. You have to make smart decisions when it comes to choosing heating and cooling systems for your home. Make sure to maintain your HVAC system in the following ways.
- Change the air filter every three months as a dirty filter affects the airflow. Thus, the system has to work harder to keep your home cool or warm.
- If the air filter gets dirty, change it every month, especially during summers and winters.
- Your heating and cooling systems need an annual tune-up for improved efficiency and comfort.
- The heating and cooling ducts, if not properly sealed, can become a big source of energy wastage. Make sure that the ducts –from the central air conditioner, heat pump, or air furnace – are well-insulated and properly sealed. Doing so will help improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by 20 percent and even more.
2. Installation of Programmable Thermostat.
Installing a programmable or smart thermostat in your home is yet another effective way to save energy. With programmable thermostats, you can prevent wasteful energy use. The devices are designed to turn off or adjust the temperature automatically during different times of the day.
Depending on your region’s climate, work schedule, and sleeping habits, you can set different temperatures. Also, you may choose from many different models; for instance, a thermostat that allows setting your schedule weekly. As per the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Energy Star Program, with programmable thermostats, you can save up to $180 every year.
The list does not end here. Furthermore, programming thermostats do not require you to upgrade your heating, ventilation, and cooling systems more often. Some of the programmable thermostats come with indicators for HVAC system problems or when the air filter needs to be replaced.
Smart thermostats are another option to save energy. These thermostats have an in-built sensor, and they can immediately sense the changes in the room’s temperature. For instance if you are cooking, the smart thermostat will adjust accordingly. So, invest in a programmable or smart thermostat if you haven’t already.
3. Reduce your Water Heater Bill.
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the second biggest energy expense in American households is the water heating bills. The average life span of a water heater is about 15 years; after that it’s time for a water heater replacement.
Your buying decision should be based on two factors, (1) your family’s need for hot water and (2) the fuel source of the water heater. Also, make sure to buy energy-efficient models, such as the tankless / on-demand water heaters.
With efficient water heaters, you can save up to 300% more energy as compared to conventional water heaters. While the tankless models are energy-efficient, they are not ideal for large families. So, make your choice smartly.
Besides water heater replacement, you can slash your water heater bill in different ways. For instance, tweak your use of hot water; consider washing clothes with cold water. Lowering your thermostat also saves energy. You can save up to 3%-5% on every 10-degree reduction. Lastly, install insulation jackets in your water heater to prevent heat loss.
4. Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances.
As you can see, appliances account for 13% of your household energy consumption. Besides the HVAC systems and water heaters, make sure that other appliances in your home are also energy efficient. When you buy a new appliance, consider two factors: (1) the purchasing price, and (2) the annual operational cost.
While energy-efficient appliances have high pricing, their operational costs are 9%-25% low as compared to their conventional counterparts. When it comes to energy-efficient appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label –an initiative by the federal government. The labeled appliances consume less energy on standby as well as during use.
However, energy savings differ from appliances to appliances. For instance, ENERGY STAR certified washing machines uses 25% less energy than the conventional washer, whereas an ENERGY STAR refrigerator consumes only 95 less energy.
5. Replace the Traditional Bulbs.
We could have included this way in point 4, but there is a reason for discussing it separately. Even today, many American households use traditional incandescent light bulbs. But do you know how much energy these conventional bulbs consume?
As per the US Environmental Protection Agency, if every American replaces one light bulb with an energy-efficient bulb, the annual energy costs will reduce by $600 million. Also, it will help prevent greenhouse gas emissions up to 9 billion pounds per year.
Some of the energy-efficient bulbs include Halogen incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). You won’t have to replace energy-efficient bulbs more often as their life span is 25 times longer as compared to traditional bulbs. Moreover, CFLs and LEDs use 25%-80% less energy. So, energy-efficient bulbs come with financial as well as environmental benefits.
Skyrocketing utility bills are depressing and force consumers to find ways to save energy. Charity begins at home. So, be mindful of your day-to-day energy use; your aim should be to save money and protect the environment. Fine-tune your heating, ventilation, and cooling systems once a year. Also, you may take a contractor’s help to locate the best places for buying energy-efficient appliances. Find a contractor to make the process easier for you, especially if you require water heater replacement.