How can we conserve energy at home?
Most families look for ways to cut back on the daily expenses of home ownership but miss the easiest ways to get the job done.
If you are sick of the energy (and by extension, money) waste, these ten tips are a cure for what ails you.
Disclaimer: some of these solutions require an upfront investment, but pay off in the long run. Like income investment, you should always be looking at the long term.
Switch to LED or CFL bulbs.
How many light bulbs are in your house?
One LED or CFL light bulb can save your family three times its purchase cost in electricity.
CFL bulbs last 10 times longer than your current incandescent bulbs and use as much as 75% less electricity.
Replace an incandescent 100W light with an 18W CFL or LED and you still get the same bright flood of light.
You can do this upgrade slowly, by adding a package or 2 of CFL or LED lights to your grocery cart every time pick up food for dinner, or spend the $200 or so to outfit your whole house at once.
Install a programmable thermostat.
In the next few years you’re are likely going to have to update your thermostat anyway, so make it a smart upgrade.
We carry a selection of modern thermostats, including the benchmark SENSI Wi-Fi SMART thermostat, to help your furnace regulate the temperature in your house more efficiently.
Even with the best intentions, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to maintain a schedule of lowering and raising the temperature manually at home. You’ll do it one day, forget the next, etc… Your best bet is a programmable thermostat.
Homeowners often report the investment in a programmable thermostat pays for itself within the 1st year of savings. The first year!
Rethink, and maybe replace, your fridge(s) and freezer(s).
I grew up in a house with a kitchen fridge/freezer, a basement fridge/freezer (for storage and adult beverages) and a chest freezer.
Cutting back to 1 ENERGY STAR fridge/freezer could have saved my family more than $25 a month.
What is your situation? Do you really need that chest freezer in the garage? It’s a nice convenience, but the extra money in your pocket every month could be more comforting.
Use cold water.
Save energy and money by washing your laundry in cold water.
With an electric water heater producing your hot water, washing in cold water could save your family between $10 and $15 a month.
Cold water detergent genuinely works differently than hot water detergent, and gets laundry just as clean as hot water.
Did we mention ENERGY STAR?
All your energy-hungry appliances missing the ENERGY STAR label are out-of-date, and cost your family significant more money every month to use than they should.
Over the lifetime of an ENERGY STAR furnace , your family will save more than the money it cost you to buy the appliance in the first place.
We carry ENERGY STAR products, including traditional storage tank water heaters.
If you plan to replace any large appliances in the near future, stick to ENERGY STAR.
Insulate like you’ve never insulated before.
You can save money and energy by increasing the volume of insulation all over your house.
Double the insulation in your attic and basement to keep the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, as these areas represent as much as 30% of the energy loss in your home.
Use motion sensors outside.
Landscape lighting, even if you just have a few lights, is an expense most families don’t think about.
To avoid leaving the outside lights on for long periods of time, install a motion sensor to turn the lights on when somebody approaches.
You can install these inside, although the value might not return to you. It’s often best to simply work at changing habits and turning off lights whenever you aren’t in a room.
If you have fans, use them!
Before you crank up the air conditioner, turn on the ceiling fans.
In the winter, run your fans clockwise at a low speed. It will recirculate the warm air. In the spring and summer, run the ceiling fans counterclockwise.
It doesn’t actually lower the temperature, but it can make the room feel as much as 2 degrees cooler. That can be enough to stop you from turning on the AC, and it can save you $100 or more through the year.
Shower, don’t bathe.
A bath is nice and relaxing, but so wasteful.
Heating the water your family uses for showers, laundry and dishes is the 2nd largest energy expense you have. If you can cut that back in any way, like taking showers instead of baths, you’re on the road to serious savings.
Seal the leaks.
Air leakage around windows, doors, vents and electrical outlets can account for as much as 25% of your total heating costs, according to Toronto Hydro. Yikes!
Caulk and weather strip your drafty spaces and watch your bills go down immediately.
We aren’t just about selling you a product. We’re about making your family aware of the money saving possibilities you may not know about, and providing the tools to help you save.
Take these recommendations to heart. They have the potential to save you thousands of dollars over the years. It’s how we conserve energy at home, and it’s how you should too.