With a few minor changes, you can have a more energy efficient home and a happier wallet too!
1. Make the switch to LED light bulbs. Residential LED light bulbs “use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting” according to The Department of Energy’s website. They also release a significantly less amount of heat compared to the traditional incandescent bulbs which release about 90% of their energy as heat.
Consider how much money you spend based on the types of bulbs you use – and how much you can save by turning them off when you leave.
- Incandescent: Odds are you never have every single light on in your house at once. Assuming you leave 10 incandescent bulbs on for one hour per day when they’re not needed, this adds an extra $24 to your lighting bills every year.
- Halogen: If you leave 10 halogen lights on for one hour per day when they’re not needed, this adds an extra $17 to your lighting bills every year.
- CFL: If you leave 10 CFLs on for one hour per day when they’re not needed, this adds an extra $6 to your lighting bills every year.
- LED: If you leave 10 LEDs on for one hour per day when they’re not needed, this adds an extra $5 to your lighting bills every year. (Mr. Electric.com)
2. Set your thermostat to 78F in the summer and 68F in the winter – every degree of extra heating or cooling will increase energy usage 6% to 8%. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature than normal will not cool your home faster. Better yet, invest in a smart thermostat that will automatically adjust your home’s temperature depending on when your home, at work, or sleeping.
3. Replace your windows. If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows, or adding solar shades or tinting film.
5. Consider the outside temperature and how you’re dressed. If it’s summer, draw your blinds and curtains to block the sun’s rays. Replace your curtains with black out curtains to block out the sun’s heat. During the winter time, open your curtains and take advantage of the sunshine to heat your home.
Adding an extra layer and some blankets can help take some load off of your heating unit in the cooler months. In the summer, consider opening the windows to let air circulate and wear less layers.
6. Switch your fan’s direction according to the outside temperature. Some people may not know that their ceiling fan can change the direction it spins with a switch that’s installed. The default direction most fans spin is counter clockwise, which will push cold air down. You’ll want your fan to spin this direction in the summer. In the winter you’ll want to flip the switch to make your fan spin clockwise, which will push the hot air near the ceiling, down the walls to cool your home (because hot air rises).
7. Wash clothes in cold water instead of warm or hot water. Did you know 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating the water? Imagine the dent that makes on your utility bill! Washing clothes in cold water will also prevent fading your colors and dark clothing.
To put it into perspective, doing laundry in cold water for one year could conserve enough energy to drive a car up to 421 miles according to ColdWaterSaves.org.
8. Check for drafts near your windows and doors. Bring a lit incense stick or candle to your doors and windows to see if it flickers. If you see flickering, you may have a draft. Add caulking around frames, replace weatherstripping on doors, and add a door sweep if the draft is coming from under a door.