Becoming more energy-efficient is not reserved for environmental activists only. Energy efficiency can boost your cash reserves at home too. Whether you turn off the lights as you leave for work, or install solar panels, toning down your energy usage helps you save a significant amount of money. There are scores of ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, with many being one-time investments, or simple day-to-day activities.
Adding new or extra insulation to your walls, ceiling, and attic, coupled with using weather stripping and caulking to make sure windows and doors are properly sealed, will prevent air leaks and cold drafts and retain the warm air inside when it is freezing. These same improvements will trap the cool air from your AC in the house during hot summers, when the temperatures are extremely high. This means your heating and AC work less hard, and give you more machine life.
Your windows can cause remarkable heat loss in the home. Replace the aluminum frames that easily allow heat transfers with better materials and get multiple panes. Using double or triple-paned windows filled with argon gas are great for keeping the cold air out and warm air in (since argon gas is a very effective insulator).
You may think that tinted front windows are not very attractive, but you can always tint the back windows. This keeps away an immense amount of unwanted heat and cold. Open the blinds and let the sun in. You can light your house with the sun for free, and keep it warmer in the winter this way. Having good window treatments for your home can also keep hot sun from overpowering your house with heat in the summer.
Replace Old Machines and Appliances
Older appliances and machines are not as energy-efficient as the newer models, so replacing these old clunkers with Energy Star-certified ones can really save you a bundle. This will significantly reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills as well. When you decide to replace your furnace, washer, water heater, or dryer, research to find out which models are more energy-efficient and purchase these. Look for models labeled Energy Star Certified.
Use your Appliances Efficiently
Read the user manual for each appliance and get familiar with their proper operating methods, then focus on using the appliances as recommended. Minimizing their usage will also minimize their energy expenditure and your power bills.
Do full loads of dishes and clothes every time, and make sure your refrigerator is an appliance that runs 24/7. Maximize its efficiency by setting its temperature to the energy efficient mark (if it is present), or to 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer to 3 degrees. Again, when you go on vacation, unplug the appliances because even when they are turned off, they are still using some energy.
Lower the Water Heater Temperature
The warm temperature range (120 to 140 degrees) is ok. In fact, newer models will reduce the temperature automatically to 140 if you raise it past this level, since it does not need to be very hot.
Revamp the Furnace
There are several things you can do to make your furnace more efficient. Get a low-energy furnace. It uses less gas, produces fewer carbon emissions, and burns hotter. Change the air filters, since this enables the air to circulate more freely and your furnace won’t have to work as hard. Add a programmable thermostat. Doing this means while you are out the furnace will remain off, but just before you come back, it will turn itself on and warm the house.
Switch to Fluorescent Lighting
Although the compact fluorescent bulbs are a bit more costly than the incandescent ones, they offer you considerable savings. Fluorescent bulbs last up to 12 times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Even using a mix of incandescent and fluorescent light will have a positive impact on your energy usage.
Energy efficiency is not only important for your environment, but it also saves you lots of money on utility bills. So, insulate your home, replace older appliances with Energy Star-certified ones, and use your appliances more efficiently, and you will reduce your energy consumption significantly.