10 Awesome Tips for Saving Energy and Money
When it comes to saving energy at home, the best tips are often for little things you do (or don't do) out of habit.
You may be surprised at how much money you can save on your energy bills by following just a few simple tips.
Previous generations were more tuned in to the environment than we have been in recent years. There were no big concerns about running out of fossil fuels or even about pollution.
The concerns were about conserving resources to save money and about stretching the coal or oil in the furnace to make it last longer between expensive deliveries.
After the Great Depression there was more emphasis on frugal living. This was out of necessity for families who had lost everything during the hard time. But it was also a lifestyle newly awakened by the potential of loss.
The free wheeling, wasteful use of resources common to the 1920's gave way to the cautious spending of the 1940's in the U.S.
We are seeing some of that same caution today as the economy continues to struggle and many people must conserve their personal resources to survive loss of jobs and income.
1. Heating and Cooling
The standard temperature used for water heaters in residences has been 130 degrees for many years.
Today's dishwashers often have heating elements to boost water temperature and provide sterilization. Laundry detergents no longer require using hot water to properly clean clothing, sheets and towels.
Water heaters are known to use a high level of energy. The temperature of the water in the tank must be maintained whether you are using it or not. By reducing the temperature from 130 to 120 degrees you can save quite a bundle on your power bills.
The bright rays of the sun coming through a window will warm your room. The breeze outside can cool the same room if we allow it.
For many of us, this means thinking of our home as part of our environment rather than our entire living environment. How can you do this?
2. Curtains and Blinds
Even winter sun shining through your windows will add warmth to your room. In addition, the sunlight will make you feel warmer. At the same time, closing insulated curtains on cold, cloudy days can keep heat inside a room.
In the summer, closing heavy curtains or blinds will help keep your room cool by preventing the sun from adding more heat. Our ancestors understood this better than we do.
They would draw back curtains on the east facing walls in the morning to allow sunlight to warm the room and would close curtains on the western walls to avoid overheating during hot afternoon hours.
Shutters on older homes were not decorative but meant to protect the indoor environment from natural extremes of climate and could be closed and opened as needed.
Replacing disposable filters on home heating and cooling units or cleaning renewable filters is not just a housekeeping chore. It is a valid means of improving the efficiency of your HVAC unit.
When a filter becomes clogged with dust and dirt the unit must work harder to keep your home warm or cool and this will lead to higher electric bills.
4. Be Reasonable about Temperature
Have you noticed that as summer progresses you tend to lower the temperature of your home air conditioning system? This is common.
We tire of the hot air outdoors and instead of simply cooling off we often make our rooms almost frigid. If you are setting your indoor temperature to 72 in the summer and 76 in the winter, reconsider the temperature settings. You could also investigate how to install a programmable thermostat which would help you control the temperature in your home more efficiently.
5. Keep the Air Moving
Add fans to circulate air and you will find a higher temperature setting will be comfortable as moving air naturally feels cooler. Ceiling fans are the most common in home today.
Remember to switch your ceiling fans to reverse during winter months as this will pull the warm air that has risen to the ceiling and recirculate it throughout the room.
6. Weather Stripping and Seals
Check the weather stripping around exterior doors and the caulking surrounding windows. Adding new caulk or better insulating the space around your doors can save a significant amount of money in summer and winter months.
7. Using Your Fireplace
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed. Many homeowners do not think to do this and the air escaping up a chimney can be a significant heat loss in your home. Consider adding a gas or electric insert that will add heat to the room.
Though a wood fire is cozy on a cold winter night, you are losing heat up the chimney that more than balances the warmth spread by the fire.
If you love the appearance and feel of a lively fire, adding a fireplace insert gives you the same atmosphere with the addition of an energy saving heating source.
8. Keep Heating and Air Conditioning Systems on Automatic
One of the best tips for energy savings for your home is to keep your thermostat on automatic.
If you are moving around your home cleaning or exercising, you may have the urge to turn the thermostat lower in the summer.
If you are watching TV you may want to turn up the thermostat on a cold night. Resist that urge and reach for a lap blanket instead. Your HVAC system operates most efficiently when kept on automatic mode.
It's possible to save as much as $20-25 a month on heating and cooling bills with just this tip! This is one you should not ignore.
9. Use Appliances Wisely
If your A/C system is working hard to dispel the heat of a summer day, it's not a good idea to plan a dinner that requires keeping the oven on for several hours.
Lamps produce heat. It's surprising how much you can heat a cold room simply by turning on all the lamps in that room.
Turn on lights only when you need them to avoid heating air that you then must cool. Run your dishwasher and clothes dryer at night when you can as these appliances will generate some heat into the room.
10. Dress for The Season
Wear loose clothing and breathable fabrics on days when the sun seems to be baking the outdoor air.
In the winter, add a sweater and socks to insulate your body and maintain body temperature. You'll be able to set the thermostat lower and save energy while remaining totally comfortable.
There are many expensive options to reduce the power consumption of your home systems. Before investing money in those systems, use the tips outlined here to see how low your power bill can go.