Utility costs keep rising by the day, and the situation may persist in the coming years. There are small things that can be done, such as sourcing environmentally friendly trash disposal or turning off gadgets when they’re not being used – but, if left unchecked, utility bills can add up significantly and eat into your home budget. Thankfully, there are small actions you can take to save energy and ultimately lower your utility costs. Here are simple tips to save energy at home:
1. Turn Gadgets Off
The gadgets you leave on all day long consume a lot of energy. So, make sure your TV, PC, video game consoles, video recorders, and cable boxes get turned off or completely unplugged when not in use. Chargers for tablets, cell phones, and other cordless devices consume electricity even when not in use.
Over time, the consumption will add up and balloon your energy costs. The devices you use should get plugged into a power strip so that you can switch them off at once. You may also want to set your computers in sleep mode when taking breaks in-between work.
2. Install Smarter Bulbs
Your home’s light bulbs stay on for hours on end. As such, they use a lot of electricity. Having your lights on is sometimes inevitable, so consider installing smart, energy-efficient bulbs. For instance, an LED light bulb, which costs around $5 at a home improvement store can save you over $100 over its lifetime.
LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs to deliver a similar amount of light. They also come in different colors, shapes, and intensities and reach full brightness immediately. LED light bulbs are compatible with dimmer switches, so it’s easy to set lower illumination levels and save energy.
3. Only Use the Energy You Need
Your energy consumption could be high because you use more than you need. For instance, it’s needless to run a half-full dishwasher because it will consume the same energy required to do the dishes when it’s full. Set the washing machine to the recommended water level when doing your laundry. Unless you’re handling a dirty load, always use cold water.
The refrigerator is another heavy energy consumer in your home, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The refrigerator temperature should always be set at 28 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit, while the fridge needs to be set at 0 to 5 degrees. Avoid opening them regularly and keep them sealed tightly.
If you have a clothes dryer at home, only use it when you have to. When running at full capacity, clothes dryers consume as much energy as a dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator combined. For this reason, air-dry your clothes when possible. If you must use the clothes dryer, clean the lint filter after each session. Also, use the moisture-sensor or auto-dry setting and avoid adding wet items to partially-dry loads.
4. Monitor How Much Energy You Consume
You won’t know how much energy you consume until you monitor your consumption. Electricity monitor meters measure the energy consumption of each gadget in your home when on and turned off. Most electricity monitor meters cost less than $30 and will provide an insight into your home energy use. For instance, it could reveal that your video game console is drawing 20W even though you’re not gaming.
5. Seal the Cracks
Adding up all the cracks around doors and windows in an average American house leaves you with a nine ft² sq hole in the wall. It shows just how much heat escapes from your home. When checking out homes for sale in San Antonio, energy efficiency is often a key priority. That should be the case even after moving into the house, and there’s no better way to ensure that than sealing cracks that cause draughts.
In this regard, weather-strip and seal off cracks that cause air to escape from your home. If there are gaps around your window panes, use putty to seal them. Attaching shoes or sweeps to the bottom of your doors can also prevent cooled or heated air from escaping.
Better insulation in the attic, around the hot water pipes and heater, in crawl spaces, and under your floors can help you save energy. You can benefit from something as simple as covering care floors using rugs or replacing old windows. Undertake an energy audit regularly so that potential areas of energy loss get identified and fixed.
6. Keep Your Curtains Closed at Night
It’s a no-brainer that drawing the curtains during daytime allows natural light and heat into the home. This will light and warm your home naturally without requiring you to switch on the bulbs or AC. When dusk falls, it’s advisable to close the curtains since it helps retain the heat in your home. You won’t need to keep the heater on for long hours. Nonetheless, avoid draping the curtains over the radiators.
7. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your energy consumption could be high because you use old and outdated appliances in your home. Newer appliances have energy star ratings and considerably lower energy consumption. Although they are somewhat costly, they help you to save costs in the long run. Appliances with a high energy star rating use up to 50% less energy than older appliances. Over time, the energy savings will make up for the initial cost.
8. Turn Down the Thermostat
During the colder months of the year, we like to keep the thermostat on for far too long. Likewise, we tend to overcool during the hot months. Keeping the room temperature at 19 degrees may be pleasant. However, many people still find themselves turning the heat up to 25 degrees, translating into higher energy costs. Turning your thermostat down by as little as one degree can cut your energy consumption by 5%. You may also want to install a solar cooling and heating unit to save energy.
9. Reduce Your Water Consumption
You can save energy and reduce your water bill by minimizing water consumption. For instance, taking shorter showers or only washing clothes and dishes when you have a full load reduces your electricity and gas bill. You should also consider investing in a solar hot water system since it provides many energy-saving benefits.