Most homeowners would jump at the opportunity to lower their electric bill, so it’s rather surprising how few people take even simple steps to conserve energy within their household. Of course, with a seemingly endless supply of energy at our fingertips thanks power plants that pump out the juice day and night, not to mention easy access via simple on/off switches for everything from lighting to electronics, it’s really no surprise that modern man takes the availability of electricity for granted. And yet, it’s really not that hard to reduce your consumption by a little or even a lot and save some money on utility bills in the process. Here are just a few tips that could help you to make your home more energy efficient.
- Perform a home energy audit. A good place to start when it comes to increasing the energy efficiency in your home is to conduct a home energy audit that helps you to understand where waste is occurring. You can either hire a professional to do this assessment for you and deliver a report or you can find tutorials online that will inform you how to do it on your own. Either way you can figure out where doors, windows, and ventilation need weather stripping or sealant in order to ensure that you’re not paying to cool or heat the air outside your home. You can even check the insulation in some cases to see how it’s performing (although a professional may be more adept at this particular task).
- Program your thermostat. If your energy bills spike during the summer and winter (i.e. the hottest and coldest months of the year) then you might want to consider how setting a schedule for usage via a programmable thermostat can help you to cut back on energy consumption and save some money in the process. You might think that turning your furnace or air conditioning unit off during the day and back on when you get home will do the trick. But this extreme fluctuation in temperature actually forces your machinery to work harder. And the temperature shifts can cause damage to your home, as well. Instead, program your thermostat to hold a steady temperature that shifts by only a few degrees depending on your presence. Believe it or not, you can actually lower your energy bills this way and make your home environment more livable.
- Power down electronics. You might think that letting your computer shift to the screen saver is enough to reduce energy consumption, but unless you program it to go into sleep mode it won’t actually reduce the amount of energy being drawn. Of course, the best bet is to not only power down your electronics when they’re not in use, but to unplug them (or hook them up to a power strip that has its own off switch). As for mobile devices that need to charge, unplug them when charging is complete to stop phantom drain and prolong your battery life.
- Energy efficient solutions. If you’re not sure about what kinds of energy efficient products are available, simply check out the list on energystar.gov. You might be surprised to find solutions for everything from appliances, electronics, and light bulbs to AC units, windows, and roofing. It’s a great resource for those looking to create a more energy efficient home.
- Alternative energy. If you’re really gung-ho about saving energy, so much so that you’re looking at your air conditioning freeze ups as a blessing in disguise, then perhaps you’re ready to take your efforts to the next level by turning to alternative energy options. In truth, it’s easier than ever to install solar panels thanks to companies that cover the upfront costs and allow you to use a payment plan that virtually replaces your energy bill with a loan payment until the solar panels are paid off (say, 10-20 years). After that you can enjoy free energy courtesy of the sun, not to mention a net-zero energy household.