With higher prices, how do we lower electric bills?
With limited energy resources available on our planet, actively conserving is economically and environmentally good. In this article, we will show you 15 different energy-saving tips provided to us by world-class energy audit experts.
To lower energy use at home and improve energy savings, you don't necessarily have to go out and buy energy-efficient products. Improving your environmental impact can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when they are not needed. You can also reduce the amount of time that you spend using power-intensive devices by doing your home tasks by hand, like hanging clothes to dry rather than putting them in a dryer or washing dishes by hand.
1. What you Wear Matters
Behavior changes with the greatest potential to save energy are turning the thermostat heat down in the winter and using your air conditioner less in the summer. Heating and cooling costs make up almost half of an average home's utility bill, so these heating and cooling intensity and frequency reductions yield the largest savings. There are tools that can be used to find where the majority of electricity is going in the house and what appliances use the most electricity daily. So always dress appropriately to the natural ambient temperature for better savings.
2. LED Lights - Easy and Affordable best in Energy efficiency
Traditional incandescent bulbs consume too much electricity and must be replaced more frequently than their energy-efficient alternatives. Halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) consume 25%-80% less energy and last between three and 25 times longer than conventional light bulbs. You can get the same amount of light or even more with LEDs. Although power-efficient bulbs are more expensive than the out-of-the-box, their energy-efficient usage and longer life mean that in the long term, they are cheaper. You can also use smart dimmer switches for even more control and savings.
3. Unplug or use a Smart Power Strip to save energy
"Phantom loads," or electricity used by electronics when they are turned off or in idle, are one of the biggest sources of power waste. An estimated 75% of the energy used to power home electronics is consumed while they are turned off, costing as much as $200 per year. Smart power strips, otherwise known as power strips with smart technology, solve the phantom load problem by turning off power to electronics when not in use, for example, the eight hours that you sleep. Smart power strips can be configured to shut off at a designated time, when there is no activity, via a remote switch or according to the state of the "master" appliance. This means the smart switch knows if it is on or off or in sleep mode.
4. Use a Smart Thermostat: Heating and Cooling System
A programmable thermostat can be set to turn off or lower the HVAC system when you are asleep or away. When you install a programmable thermostat, you will eliminate the wasted energy used by heating and cooling without upgrading the HVAC system. On average, a programmable thermostat could save $180 a year. Programmable thermostats come in several models, which you can adjust according to a week-long schedule, the weather, and the ambient temperature. Additional features on programmable thermostats may include indicators of when you need to change your air filters or when there are problems with the HVAC system, also improving efficiency with the system. Some can even detect open windows and will shut off, so energy isn't wasted. Using a ceiling fan can also help make it feel five degrees cooler.
5. ENERGY STAR Appliances
On average, appliances account for about 13% of your home's overall energy usage. When buying appliances, there are two numbers to keep in mind: your initial purchase price and your yearly running costs. While an energy-efficient appliance may cost more upfront, its operating costs are typically 9-25 percent lower than conventional models. When shopping for energy-efficient appliances, you should look for appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label, which is a federal guarantee that an appliance will consume less power during operation while it is in standby mode compared to a standard model.
Energy savings vary depending on the particular appliance. For instance, clothes dryers certified by E.S. consume 25% less energy and nearly half less water than regular ones, while refrigerators certified by them only use 9% less power. It is always a good idea to purchase energy-efficient appliances to save.
6. Heating is the most significant contributor to total Energy use.
Heating water is the biggest contributor to total power use. There are three methods for reducing water heating costs other than purchasing an energy-efficient water heater: You can simply use less hot water, lower your water heater thermostat, or insulate the water heater and the first six feet of your hot and cold water pipes. If you are considering replacing your water heater with an efficient model, two factors should keep in mind: the type of water heater that meets your needs and the fuel type that it will use.
Tankless water heaters, for instance, are efficient but not ideal for larger households because they cannot handle many simultaneous uses of hot water. Efficiency-rated water heaters can be between 8% and 300% more energy-efficient than conventional tank-type heaters. There are even Hybrid water heating systems that can greatly reduce water heating costs. Taking shorter showers or if you lower the water's temperature can also help a ton.
7. Seal Windows Properly
Windows are significant sources of energy loss: They can account for as much as 10%-25% of your annual heating bills. You may want to switch out your single-pane windows for a dual-pane product instead to keep the warm air out through the windows. For homes in colder regions, gas-filled energy-efficient windows with "low-e" coatings can dramatically lower utility costs.
In addition, interior or exterior storm windows can reduce unnecessary heat losses by 10-20%. You should consider storm windows, in particular, if you live in an area that experiences frequent extreme weather events. In warmer climates, heat gains from windows can become an issue. In addition to minimizing heat loss, a Low-E glass coating on windows reduces heat gain, reflecting more light and reducing the amount of hot air entering the house. Depending on where you live, well-insulated windows can save you $20-$95 per year on your utility bill.
8. Use Shades and Blinds to your Advantage
Window shades, blinds, screens, and awnings also can add another layer of insulation between your home and the outside temperatures, leading to even greater savings. An HVAC system is made up of your heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment. Heat alone is responsible for over 40% of home energy usage. Using blinds to your advantage can save you hundreds by not running your air conditioner. So open blinds on the sunny side of your home and let natural light in when cold, and shut them in the summer months when it's hot to passively change the temperature.
9. Regional Differences
Because homes in Northern regions are exposed to significantly cold temperatures throughout the year, the specifications of gas fireplaces from ENERGY STAR (ES) differ across the Northern and Southern halves of the U.S. Upgrading to "Southern" U.S. (ES) can save up to 12 percent on your heating bills, or $36 a year, on average. (ES) stoves in the northern half of the United States are marked with a standard ENERGY STAR logo, and are up to 16% more energy-efficient than base models. This results in an average savings of $94 a year on the northern United States heating bill.
Air conditioning, in this region, is not a major contributor to energy bills -- it makes up just six percent on average of the overall power consumption of your home. ENERGY STAR Central Air Conditioning Units are up to eight percent more efficient than traditional models. An air conditioner system is typically integrated with your heating system, meaning that you should buy a new furnace and air conditioning system together to ensure the air conditioning is operating at maximum efficiency.
10. Check your Duct Work
Upgrading your HVAC system ventilation can also increase energy efficiency. A ventilation system is composed of a network of tubes that spreads warm and cold air throughout the house.
If these ducts are not sealed or adequately insulated, the energy loss that results can increase HVAC costs by hundreds of dollars per year. Proper insulation and maintenance of ventilation systems can lower heating and cooling expenses by as much as 20%.
11. Check for Air Leaks
The most common air leaks in a house are your ventilation, windows, and doors. To prevent these leaks, you should ensure no gaps or openings exist between your walls and your vents, windows, or doorframes. Weatherizing or sealing the leaks in the surrounding area of your house is an excellent way to lower HVAC costs.
Weather stripping and caulking are straightforward methods to properly air seal, usually providing a return on investment of less than one year. You can apply weather strips for gaps between moving objects, such as operable windows and doors. You can use caulk to plug leaks between stationary objects, like a wall and a window frame.
Leaks may also occur from holes cut into walls, floors, and ceilings by plumbing, conduits, or electric wires. Air leaks out of a house are more likely to come from inside and enter the attic through smaller holes. Whether it is from your HVAC unit, light bulbs, or attic ventilation vents, warm air will rise and escape through the little holes. Since warm air naturally flows from warmer areas to colder ones, those small openings could cause you to have an even higher heating bill if the attic is not adequately insulated.
12. Home Insulation
It will help if red insulation is critical in keeping utility bills down by trapping heat during winter and keeping heat outside your home in the summer. It would help if you considered completely insulating your home to get the most savings from weatherization. The recommended heat-resistance, or "R-value," level of insulation depends on where you live. In warmer climates, recommended R-values are far lower than those for buildings in colder regions, such as the Northeast.
The amount of insulation you need to install depends on the location of your home and the average temperature. Your attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace are the five major areas you should think about adding insulation. Use the Home Energy Saver Tool to get recommendations based on the specifications of your home, or look up overall regional offers from the DOEs Insulation webpage.
13. Use Cold Water for your Clothes
Washing clothes is necessary, part of most Americans' weekday routine. It is also a power-intensive task, mainly if you use hot water. Most energy used in the clothes-washing process goes into getting the water hot.
There are also several potential economic benefits of using cooler water, with consumers saving over $50 per year by dropping their laundry water temperature by 15 degrees. There are reports that washing with cold water instead of hot water may extend your clothes' life span without damaging heat.
14. Replace your Air Filters
Many devices throughout your home use filters, including your HVAC system. These systems usually include an on-screen reminder to change the filters periodically.
Along with other home tasks, getting your food hot is a necessary, as well as an energy-taxing, process. Doing this not only helps you avoid having to make expensive repairs to the HVAC system, but it can also save cash, too. The Department of Energy released a report saying replacing your dirty filters regularly could cut household energy use by as much as 15%. This is because cleaner filters are more effective and will reduce your system's stress.
15. Use the Microwave
Depending on your preferences, the stove can retain food flavors slightly better. However, regardless of flavor, some evidence suggests that the microwave is more energy-efficient. The nature of the cooker makes it susceptible to losing power. A microwave oven, although using large amounts of electrical energy, uses comparatively small power spikes over a small period of time. Adding all of this up can mean big differences in your yearly energy bill.
Use Sunlight to your Advantage - Free Energy
Lighting accounts for a substantial portion of your energy costs, and sunlight is a visceral way to lower energy use. If possible, having windows facing north and south rather than east and west is best. This allows more peeping light, generating heat and limiting harsher winter lighting. While east-facing and western-facing windows provide more direct sunlight, they are less efficient at letting in hot air.
While it might seem obvious to bundle up outdoors when the weather gets cold during the winter, doing it indoors also helps you save money on your heating bills. If you keep warmer by wearing more clothes indoors, your heating system does not need to work quite as hard.
This allows you to save money and use less energy. Install windows that will enable the warm air to stay inside. Replace your air filters regularly to help cut down on power use during warmer months.
Sometimes going Solar is the best Option.
We will help you find out what is going on with your electricity and figure out a plan just for you. Our recommendations are based on analyzing your home, electrical bills, and future needs. We could recommend switching electrical companies, finding an energy audit expert, finding an insulation professional, an HVAC expert, or even exploring Residential Solar. We strive to give our customers a non-bias FREE consultation to find YOUR best solution. Get a Free Consultation HERE.
You can save money, raise the value of your home, and protect the environment with simple energy-saving measures. These are all excellent benefits that you can reap from conserving your total home's energy usage, regardless of the precise reason for preserving it in the first place. By just taking one small step toward living a more energy-conscious lifestyle, you can start enjoying all of the benefits of being more energy-savvy. Read more about the many benefits of energy efficiency and saving money.
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