Shave Hundreds of Dollars Off Your Energy Costs With This Advice
In these times of rising energy costs, conservation has become very attractive for many households. Saving energy in the home, once a back-burner issue, has become a priority. If you follow these ten energy-saving tips, you will find your utility bills will be putting less of a dent in your wallet.
1. Replace Your Lightbulbs
Flourescent replacements for incandescent bulbs used to be bulky and expensive. These days you can buy them at the hardware store for under $2 (American) each, and they are similar in size to the bulbs they replace. And the reason to make the switch? These bulbs require less than one fourth the electricity of traditional incandescent bulbs. Since lighting makes up a significant percentage of home energy use, this switch can result in big savings over time.
2. Consolidate Laundry
Washing and drying clothes is an energy-intensive process. Let laundry accumulate so that you can do a few big loads, rather than many small loads. When replacing washers and dryers, look for energy-efficient models. Pay special attention to whether the dryer has an automatic shut-off feature, which eliminates wasteful over-drying. Also, try to get multiple uses out of clothes and towels. Don't wash them unless they are truly dirty!
3. Buy Energy Star Products
Energy Star products meet a higher standard of energy efficiency, and should be considered when buying a new device or appliance. Be sure not to comparison shop on price alone. Why save $10 at time of purchase when a slightly more expensive unit will save on your energy bills year after year?
4. Seal Leaky Windows and Doors
Leaks in windows and doors are a major cause of inefficiency when heating or cooling your home. Hold a candle near a window sill, and if the flame flickers you've got a leak. Weatherstripping from the hardware store will help. Wind barriers at the foot of leaky doors will also plug up leaks.
5. Use a Power Strip
Amazingly enough, some electronic devices consume almost as much electricity when not in use as they do when you are using them. Such devices never fully power down--instead, they enter "stand-by mode". You can thwart this and save money by plugging such devices into a power strip, and switching the power off on the strip when the devices are not in use.
6. Don't Stress Your Water Heater
Your water heater is a major energy-consumer. You can save money by consciously using less hot water. Don't run warm water while you wash dishes, shave, or brush your teeth, for example. And try to adapt to shorter or cooler showers. Over the course of a year, this can save a significant amount of energy. You can also purchase an insulator for your water heater, as well as insulation for the hot water pipes in your home. This will result in less heat loss, and your heater will not have to work as hard.
7. Look Into Alternative Energy Sources
One emerging technology is the rooftop solar array, which converts the sun's rays into electricity to power your home. In sunny areas, it is possible to generate near 100% of your hom energy needs with solar panels. Solar technology is still rather expensive, but many states are subsidizing home installation--check with your state to see if this opportunity is available to you.
8. Time Your Heating and Air Conditioning
If you don't have one, you can purchase a thermostat with a timer. In the winter, set the heat lower when you are asleep or away at work. The timer can be used to raise the heat when you are awake and about in your home. Air conditioning systems can be set on a timer in a similar fashion. By allowing your home to be cooler at times in the winter and warmer in the summer, you will shave cost off your utility bills.
9. Plant Trees and Shrubs Strategically
Trees and shrubs that provide shade and act as a wind barrier can shave up to 25% off your home cooling and heating bills. In the summer, the sun's direct rays heat your home significantly. Trees that cast a shadow on your house during the sun's peak will help keep your house cool, for free. Also consider painting your house in a light shade, as dark shades absorb more heat. In the winter, shrubbery can deflect wind that would otherwise blow against your walls and windows and contribute to heat loss.
10. Be Vigilant About Waste
Train yourself to spot waste. If a light is left on in a room that nobody is in, turn it off. Ditto for the television, radio, or any other device not in use. Learn to set your computer to go into energy-saving mode when idle. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. If you leave your cellphone charger plugged in when not in use, touch it. Is it warm? If yes, there is no doubt that it is wasting electricity doing nothing! Try to spot more areas of waste. If you are vigilant, the savings can really add up.
Following these tips will result in a more energy-efficient home. Money spent on consuming needless energy is money wasted. Trim those utility bills and put extra money in your pocket.
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