Looking for ways to save money at home? Creating and maintaining an energy efficient home can help you save money on heating and cooling costs. It also allows you to feel good about your contribution to the environment by reducing energy output.
According to ENERGY STAR, an average-size household spends about $1,500 a year on energy bills, spending the most in the colder winter months and the heat of mid-summer.
Here are some ways to save energy at home and save money in the process.
Save Money and Energy by … Stopping Leaks
Air leaks are a huge drain on the energy operating your heating and cooling equipment, costing you quite a bundle! But did you know that plastic insulation can help to save money at home by keeping your dollars from slipping through the cracks? Consider plastic wrap on windows and doors if you’re looking for a quick fix. Or, if you’re prepared for a more complicated remodel, rigid plastic foam panels, spray foam and plastic home wrap can reduce infiltration of outside air into your home and help you save hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs each year.
Save Money and Energy by … Staying Dry
Humidity or any water condensation in a home can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can lead to rot, structural damage, premature paint failure and a variety of health problems. Installing roof vents like ridge, louvers, turbines and power vents can help control moisture levels … saving money in the process over the long run.
Save Money and Energy by … Getting the Air Moving
A ceiling fan is an easy way to cut spending on air conditioning and heating year-round. A ceiling fan operating in a counter-clockwise direction will create a wind-chill effect, maximizing your air conditioning in the summer. In colder months, reverse its direction and set at a low speed to produce an updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling down so you can enjoy all the hot air your heater produces.
Save Money and Energy by … Replacing Bulbs
We know you’ve heard this one…replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce your electric bills by 10 percent. Compact bulbs are about four times more efficient and provide the same amount of light. Although they cost a little more, they’ll save you in the long run. As always, when lights are not in use, turn them off!
Save Money and Energy by … Checking Your Pipes
Insulating water pipes can help reduce 25 percent of energy use at home, minimize heat loss, and in colder climates, keep the pipes from freezing. Consider using cross-linked polyethylene piping (called PEX), which is durable and highly corrosion resistant, as well as lighter and more flexible than other materials. This allows for multiple feed lines throughout a house, enabling hot water to arrive faster to a sink or shower, which can significantly save water use while also saving energy at home.
Save Money and Energy by … Covering Your Water Heater
Just like you, your water heater can get cold in the winter, forcing it to use more energy to function properly. Consider attaching a water heater blanket to insulate it, especially if it’s more than 10 years old.
Save Money and Energy by … Blocking Out the Sun
Blinds, shades and shutters are more than just decoration! Use your blinds to block sun rays from heating up the house during the summer and keep cold air out in the winter. This can help cut down your air conditioning and heating bills.
Save Money and Energy by … Keeping Air Filters Clean
Regularly check the air filters in your HVAC systems, air conditioners and humidifiers to see if they need to be changed or cleaned. Having a dirty filter can cause equipment to work harder, consume more energy and break down sooner, as well as lead to allergies and breathing problems.
Save Money and Energy by … Leaving the Thermostat Alone
Don’t touch the thermostat! It’s just like your dad said…having a programmable thermostat can cut down energy costs by 30 percent by making it easier to control energy consumption and keep the house at a comfortable temperature.
Save Money and Energy by … Getting a Gold Star
Appliances that are energy efficient help cut down on energy consumption, emit less pollution and are an attractive selling point for home buyers. An easy way to tell if an appliance is energy efficient is to look for an ENERGY guide label and the ENERGY STAR logo.
Save Money and Energy by … Shutting Everything Off
Plug all your TV components into one power strip and turn it off when you’re done watching. And, as always, if you are not using that radio, appliance or light, switch it off!
These are just some ways that you can help cut down on energy bills to save money at home. If you’d like suggestions more specific to your home, many contractors or home energy specialists can offer additional recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.