How to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Use
The largest purchase most people make in their lifetime is their home. Of course, that big price tag doesn’t end with your mortgage payment. According to the Department of Energy, the average annual household utility bill is $1,767. Even spread over 12 months, that is still more than we’d all like to pay. So the real question is: how can you keep your utility bills in check?
With some relatively simple steps and low cost steps, you can find ways to save energy all around your home. Just remember, even if it sounds like it takes time or some upfront costs to make improvements, saving energy means saving you money! To find more energy saving tips and learn about incentives that can help you offset the costs of improvements around the house including more efficient appliances, light bulbs or a programmable thermostat, visit theAt Home Tips section
Here are some helpful tips from DOE on the best ways to save energy around your home:
Locate and Seal Air Leaks: Reducing drifts in a home can cut energy use by up to 30% each year. Check these areas of your home to see if air is leaking (taking your dollars with it):
- Electrical outlets
- Switch plates
- Window Frames
- Weather Stripping around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Attic Hatches
- Wall or window-mounted air conditioners
Inspect Insulation: The best and easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. Insulation is one of the best improvements you can make to add up big energy and cost savings on your utility bill. Here’s the quickest way to check if you need to add insulation:
- Head to your attic and look across the uncovered attic floor.
- If the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you can likely benefit from more insulation.
- Head to your local hardware store if you don’t have any extra insulation around the house. The sooner you add it, the quicker you can start saving!
Upgrade Appliances: Appliances and home electronics are responsible for an estimated 20% of your utility bill. The price of new appliances may seem high, but the long term savings you’ll find by upgrading is worth the upfront costs. Better yet, before you head to the store, be sure to check out all of the federal, state and local incentives available to you. Take advantage of these great deals and incentives today! Learn more about incentives.
Some of the appliances you should consider upgrading to more energy efficient models include:
- TV Set-top boxes (Read our previous post on set-top boxes)
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Room air conditioners
- Water heaters
Reduce Your Water Use: Although we often think of lighting and other electricity uses when it comes to saving energy, water usage is also a big energy waster. Did you know that for an average family of four, toilet flushing alone comes out to 25,000 gallons a year? A water efficient, dual-flush toilet, however, can cut down your annual water use by up to 17,000 gallons of year. Now that’s a lot of water!
Here are some other ways to save on water and your utility bill:
- While a typical bathroom faucet draws an average of 2.2 gallons of water each minute it is turned on, a WaterSense-qualified faucet (the water-equivalent of ENERGY STAR) reduces that to 1.5 gallons per minute. That means an average family can save over 8,000 gallons a year!
- Traditional washing machines use between 25-40 gallons of water per cycle. The newer, front-loading washing machines are most efficient, which use about one third of the water a conventional top-loading machine uses. Ask your local retailer about the energy and water-efficient models they carry — it can cut your usage by more than 40%, which can mean big savings on your monthly utility bills.
For more tips on energy saving around the house, visit www.energysavers.gov.