Four Effective Ways to Reduce your Home Energy Usage
With winter looming around the corner, there are great deals of homeowners who struggle to remain energy efficient for the next few months. But have no fear! We’ve taken it upon ourselves to come up with the top 4 methods you can implement before the snow starts to fly. With a little bit of proactive effort and some extra cash in tow, ongoing inefficiencies can be solved very quickly and their solutions can last a very long time.
1) Seal the Cold Wind Out
Many homes, especially aging ones, tend to have an increasing issue with blustery cold air going through their households – causing the need to raise the thermostat at a time of year when heating bills are already elevated. What’s the solution?
Well, there are several options. Purchasing a simple $5 tube of caulk is one. Using caulk to seal leaky window and door panes throughout the home can reduce your heating bills by nearly 20% if done effectively.
In addition, if your house has ductwork throughout, you can also invest in a roll of metal tape, mastic sealant, or duct tape to close off any accessible ducts. If you were feeling more ambitious and wanted a long-term solution, try Aeroseal ; a process in which technicians blow sealant into ducts filling cracks from the inside. The process costs around $1,500, but the results can easily cut the sum of annual utility bills in half.
2) Keep the Warm Air In
While important to not allow unwanted air into the house, it’s equally as vital to keep the heated air you paid for from seeping outside the home as well. Maintaining appropriate insulation in attics, around chimneys, and in the corners of your house can be dramatically beneficial. A general rule of thumb on the attic walls and floors is seeing whether the insulation goes past the floor/wall joists; If it goes above/past the joist, you’re generally in good shape. But you may need additional insulation if it’s level with or below the joists.
3) Know Your Appliances
One of the most notorious ways in which many homeowners are wasteful with their electric draw lies within their appliance use. Keeping different devices like toasters, blenders, electric can-openers, and coffee makers unplugged when not in use is a simple way to help out immediately.
Even more impactful is the reduction of hot water heaters, refrigerators, and freezers. In many cases, a hot water heater can account for nearly 15% of a home’s energy use – by dropping the main temperature down to a reasonable 120 degrees F, purchasing insulating blankets for the pipes, and installing an energy-efficient low-flow showerhead, you can simultaneously reduce your water use in addition to the electrical draw.
As far as refrigerators and freezers go, keeping a fridge at 35-38 degrees F and a freezer at 0-5 degrees F is plenty sufficient. Other simple tasks like keeping the coils on the fridge clean and dust-free, as well as only keeping the doors open when needed are also effective.
4) Embrace New Technologies
As most of us know, keeping the temperature of your house low when nobody’s home is another simple way to prevent being wasteful with your heating. But if you are not a fan of returning home to a cold house, take things one step further and invest in a programmable thermostat. Often ranging anywhere from $20-$75 at any home improvement retailer, a programmable thermostat allows you to be energy efficient during the day and to remain comfortable at night.
Other gadgets are available for nearly any phase of reducing energy draw. For example, the Chilipepper water pump ($180) uses a complex design within the pump to push cold water back toward the heater while pulling the warm water back in, reducing the time to create hot water nearly in half.
Another device is an adaptation on a conventional power strip – the Smart Strip Power Strip ($35) will detect related electronics on the strip to power down. In other words, if you turn off your computer that’s attached to the strip, the Smart Strip will automatically shut down the usage to any computer-related device also on the strip, such as speakers, a fax machine, or a printer.
So, there you have it – four of the most effective methods to keeping energy costs low and being energy efficient. While we understand that everybody is not able to break the bank with vast home improvements, it’s worth bearing in mind the advantages to being diligent with simple tasks that will benefit your pocketbook in the long run.
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