Energy Tips for Homeowners
With the current economic climate and the endless debates about greenhouse gasses and global pollution, it could pay off in both the short and long run to familiarize yourself with some energy tips, which may save you a few dollars on bills each month or contribute to your doing your part for the environment. The majority of people want to decrease their energy bills, but most people don’t understand how their houses consume energy.
According to a residential energy consumption survey done in 2005, the average American household spent $1,873, with the bulk of expenditure being spent on electricity. Here are a few energy tips that should help you reduce your energy bills dramatically.
Appliances and Electronics
In the average U.S. home, home electronics and appliances make up approximately 20 percent of your energy bill. Washers, dryers, computers, dishwashers and water heaters all heavily contribute to your energy bill, but there are some things you can do to minimize the damage to your wallet. Always try to buy appliances that carry the Energy Star label, this label signifies the government’s seal of energy efficiency and provides an estimate on the appliance’s energy consumption. Here are a few more energy tips you may want to consider:
- Air dry your dishes on a rack or with a towel instead of using the dishwasher’s drying cycle.
- After each load, clean your dryer’s lint filter to make air circulation more efficient.
- Air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer.
- If you do decide to use the dryer, don’t over-dry your clothes.
- Check your dryer’s vent periodically to make sure it isn’t blocked;this can help you save energy and prevent a fire hazard.
- Separate heavy from light clothes and towels and wash them in separate loads.
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer, as they are much more energy efficient.
- Unplug all unused appliances such as TV’s, video cassette recorders, computers, stereos and kitchen appliances. A shocking 75% of electricity consumed in the average U.S. home is consumed by appliances that are switched off.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of the disposable kind. Studies have shown that these are more effective and energy efficient.
- If you do use rechargeable batteries, make sure to unplug battery chargers when you’re done using them.
- Switching your computer to sleep mode is far more energy efficient than setting a screen saver.
- If you’re not going to use your computer for 20 minutes, switch off your monitor. If you’re going to be away from your computer for more than two hours, then you should turn off the computer and the monitor.
Proper insulation and air sealing can reduce your heating and cooling bills by 30 percent. Not only that, but your heating and cooling systems will work more effectively too. Here are some useful energy tips to bear in mind when checking your house for ways on optimizing your insulation:
- Make sure windows are installed properly to minimize air leaks.
- The lower the U value your window has, the better its insulation will be.
- Installing curtains or awning on west and south facing windows reduces solar gain.
- Make sure your ceilings, attic, basement and exterior walls are adequately insulated.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling expenses account for the highest energy consumption in the average U.S. home. Here are some energy tips to help you save on your energy bill and also increase the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system:
- Using ceiling fans in summer will allow you to raise your air conditioner’s thermostat and save energy.
- Insulating your hot water pipes and water heater prevents heat loss and saves energy.
- Insulating heating ducts in any unheated areas such as crawlspaces and attics to reduce heat loss.
Using these energy tips shouldn’t cost you much initially and could save you a lot in energy bills. Also try to always use energy efficient light bulbs and lighting to maximize your energy savings.