For those looking to save some of their well-earned money around the home, it’s inevitable that you’ll come around to considering where energy might be being lost within it- and what you can do to help your energy go a little farther. More and more people are seeking to go a little farther in making their houses a little bit more energy efficient these days, and for good reason. Taking preventive steps in places where energy is commonly lost around the home can actually reduce a household’s energy bills by up to fifty per cent. Furthermore, by using less energy overall, you’ll be going a long way toward helping out the environment and making a positive impact on climate change, which is always a great feeling to have.
However, wanting to reduce the energy efficiency of your home and knowing where to begin in going about this are two very different things. Many will figure that the cost of the various energy-saving appliances will nullify what they’ll eventually save in energy costs further down the line. But in reality, the price of making a home more energy-conscious isn’t as high as many might suppose. Therefore, even if you don’t want to spend a penny, there are many steps you can take around your house to help your energy go farther that don’t require any purchases whatsoever, and will save you a great deal of money in the long run. So read on for a run-down of just some of the simple tips and tricks for saving energy in a variety of places which you can try out in your home.
Being Smart With Your Appliances
It’s always a smart move to replace appliances before they get too old and start becoming more inefficient. Washing machines, refrigerators, and other larger appliances can waste a substantial amount of energy the older they get, so seeking to replace them in good time and before this begins to take effect to any real degree will help to keep your home more energy conscious. Furthermore, when you do go to buy a new appliance like this, you should look for a model which comes with an Energy Star label. This signifies that they are the most energy efficient versions, and comes certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, so you can rest assured that there is some real research and testing behind it.
As a result, you’re going to see substantial savings just by using the Energy Star certified model over a typical brand. But even if you can’t afford to completely replace what are often the most expensive appliances in your home, exercising some good disciplines in this area will still stand to provide you with savings. For example, whenever possible, you should seek to use cold water for your washes, as this is where most of the energy required in a washing machine cycle goes to – heating the water itself. Should you just be going through a typical wash, and not dealing with any clothes which are especially dirty or stained, a cold wash should be perfectly sufficient to clean your clothes, and will help preserve a great deal of energy, too.
Especially as you start to reach the colder months of the year, your home’s thermostat can be a godsend. Yet, if you’re seriously looking to save energy around the house, you’re going to have to exercise a stricter thermostat discipline. If you get into the habit of switching off your thermostat entirely when you’re out, or at least seriously lowering its temperature, you’ll be saving a great deal of energy essentially going to waste on heating an empty house. Or simply reducing the average temperature you normally leave your thermostat on by ten or so degrees will also be effective over time, while you should hardly feel much of a difference in the level of heat around your home.
If you’re particularly serious about wasting energy in this manner, there are smarter thermostats available to buy which can be programmed specially so that they can turn themselves on when you are not at home, and begin to warm it again as you’re due to get back. This is particularly useful for those with a regular nine-to-five, as you’ll benefit both from still having a warm home to come back to, and knowing that precious energy isn’t being wasted and your bill slowly racking up while you’re away.
Helping Heat Stay Trapped
A great deal of the heat in your home can be lost through various structural weaknesses in your home, especially in and around windows and doors. However, there are steps you can take to reduce this. Something as simple as placing thick, blackout curtains over your windows will actually go a long way to helping the heat stay trapped where it needs to be – that is, inside your home, rather than out. However, the most effective method of preventing your windows from letting precious energy out is, of course, to invest in some more energy-efficient ones.
There are various replacement windows you can invest in which will prove much more effective at retaining the heat that you want to be kept from leaking outside, such as aluminum models which are both highly durable and shouldn’t need replacing for a lengthy amount of time. Furthermore, for any glass surface like windows or screen doors, you can look into double or even triple-glazing, which have layers of air between each layer of glass, helping to dramatically reduce the amount of heat which can escape through it. For your walls, insulation is the right way to go, working in a similar fashion to double-glazing in that it blocks a lot of the heat escaping through miniscule cracks and other small inconsistencies in your home’s structure.
Smaller Appliances You Can Make Use Of
There are a number of energy-saving appliances on the market which are relatively cheap, but will save you a great deal of money in the long-run as your continued use of them serves to reduce your energy bill. For example, you can purchase a showerhead which has a lower flow than the average one. This will help you save a great deal of water (as mentioned previously, it requires a large amount of energy just to heat any substantial amount of water in your home), while you’ll still be able to receive a good wash regardless of this.
Very similar to this are energy-saving light bulbs, which provide light which is not only more energy efficient, but have a much longer life than your standard light bulb to boot. Studies have shown that, on average, there are about forty-five light bulbs in the average American home, and replacing each and every one with a more energy-efficient CFL bulb could result in savings of around $180 per year. Furthermore, these bulbs run at about one-quarter of the heat of a normal bulb, so on top of all the savings, they are much safer, too.
However, there are energy-conscious appliances for you to consider when making your home more efficient. For example, you should seek to avoid running water whenever you can, especially when brushing your teeth, as letting the faucet run while you brush is putting the water to no real valuable use, and you are quite literally seeing your energy go down the drain when you do this. Have a shower whenever you can, and try to save baths for the occasions in which you truly believe you need one, as they require a great deal more water than the average shower. Try, too, to avoid doing “smaller” washes of laundry, and stockpile your clothes instead so that a larger load can be done all at once, saving on multiple runs of the washing machine. If you’re prone to doing a wash every day or every couple of days, try to make this every three or so days instead, so that energy is not constantly being lost in heating water to wash only a minimal load of clothes.
Also, switching off plug sockets wherever and whenever possible is also a very efficient method of saving energy around the home. With regard particularly to the chargers of phones or tablets, very often in a household, they will be simply left on even when the device is fully charged or has been removed. Striving to get into the habit of turning off switches at the wall when you are not making use of them will save you a great amount on your energy bill, especially if you begin to get into this practice regularly and begin to preserve energy all over the house. You should also look out for ‘vampire appliances’.
Simple methods such as these, while requiring minimal effort on the part of the homeowner, collectively will begin to have a dramatic effect on your energy savings, and should you take them into consideration, you might be pleasantly surprised when your next bill rolls around.