With spring around the corner, many homeowners are looking for ways to reduce energy costs. While you may have taken large energy bills for granted during the winter, spring is the time to consider changes.
If turning the thermostat down doesn’t affect the size of your bills substantially, you need to look into other energy-saving tips.
- Replace Lightbulbs
Incandescent lightbulbs are cheap and readily available. That’s why many homeowners buy them without thinking about efficiency.
However, the majority of the energy these bulbs consume goes into generating heat rather than producing light. The average lifespan of incandescent lightbulbs is about 1,200 hours so you have to replace them frequently.
LED lightbulbs are more expensive. However, they can last about 50,000 hours while generating very little heat.
If you replace incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs, you can start saving energy immediately and cut costs in the long run.
- Check Insulation
Insulation is an important line of defense between your home and cold/ hot air. If you have high-quality insulation, it keeps warm air from escaping in the winter and cold air from leaving the house in the summer. Improving insulation quality could be reducing heating and cooling bills by 20% every year.
If you feel that your insulation is intact, but the air exchange is still there, check for cracks and leaks. Some of the air escape passages many homeowners overlook are light switches and electric outlets. By installing foam outlet insulation, you can cut energy loss substantially.
- Wash Windows Regularly
Dirty windows don’t just ruin your mood. They don’t allow sunshine through. As a result, you don’t take full advantage of the natural light, thus using energy when it’s not necessary. Besides, as the sun rays pass through your windows, they heat your house, allowing you to turn the thermostat down.
Most window-cleaning professionals recommend washing windows at least twice a year: in the fall and the spring. If your house is facing a busy street, seasonal window cleanings may be in order.
- Turn Everything Off as You Leave
Many people know that leaving lights on when they aren’t home is wrong. However, they don’t realize the keeping their computers working is bad as well. Whenever you leave the house, be it for a day or a week, make sure all appliances (except for the fridge) and equipment are unplugged.
Simply using a sleep mode for your PC every night could save you up to $75 annually.
- Install Energy-Efficient Windows
Just like insufficient insulation, single-pane windows don’t prevent excessive air exchange. If you want to save energy, you may want to consider investing in double-pane windows. Even though the initial cost of single-pane windows is lower, the energy bills are higher.
In a double-pane window, the space between the panes serves as a layer of insulation to prevent temperature fluctuations.
If you aren’t ready to replace single-pane windows yet, you can insulate them with window film. While doing this won’t be as efficient as installing a double-pane window, it can still help you cut energy bills.
- Air Dry Your Dishes
If you run a dishwasher regularly, you can reduce energy use by air-drying the dishes. Set the machine to skip the drying cycle and simply keep the door open. While the savings aren’t drastic, they accumulate over time.
You can air-dry your clothing as well to reduce the energy used by the dryer.
- Invest in a Smart Thermostat
According to research performed by Nest Labs, smart thermostats can save households up to $145 per year. Besides regulating the temperature according to your needs, these units can be adjusted remotely.
Smart thermostats learn your preferences with time. They figure out how to use as little energy as possible while maintaining comfortable temperatures.
Some models are equipped with sensors to figure out when you aren’t home to lower or increase temperatures accordingly. Others connect to your smartphone and adjust temperatures when you are on your way home from work.
- Use Microwave When Possible
Microwaves use up to 80% less electricity than conventional ovens do. So if you can warm food in a microwave, you can save on your energy bills.
You may be surprised to find out how many dishes you can cook in the microwave. They can be just as tasty as your oven-cooked masterpieces.
If you have to use an oven, don’t open it until the dish is ready. Every time you open the door, the temperature inside drops tremendously, thus forcing the appliance to use more energy.
- Clean/Replace Appliance Filters
From a vacuum cleaner to a furnace, the majority of appliances you have at home come with filters. If you don’t clean or replace filters timely, these units start using more energy and eventually break down.
Check the manual to find out how often these filters need to be cleaned or replaced and stick to the schedule.
- Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Your washer uses substantial amounts of energy to heat the water. Meanwhile, the majority of your garments can be washed in cold water. Modern detergents do an excellent job cleaning the laundry regardless of the water temperature in the machine.
- Don’t Keep the Fridge Open for Too Long
When you keep the fridge door open, the cold air escapes, forcing the appliance to work harder thus using more energy. It may take the fridge up to an hour to make up for the temperature levels it loses when you hold the door open for 20 seconds.
- Use Energy Monitors
Energy monitors are small devices that can show you how much energy your household is using.
While by itself the monitoring device doesn’t save energy, it helps you understand when it’s time to beef up the energy-saving efforts. You can compare “before” and “after” readings to see how well the above tips work.
For more information about saving money on your home, please contact our experts today.