In 2018, the average electric bill in the United States was over $117 a month. With weather events becoming more severe every year and energy costing more, it seems that that figure will only increase. If you want to reduce your energy use to save money or fight climate change, each step you take adds up.
Conducting an energy assessment is the best way to pin down areas where your home is losing energy and costing you money. You can hire a professional or do it yourself. In either case, make a list of suggested improvements and prioritize them based on cost and savings.
Low-Cost Energy-Efficient Ideas
Here are some low-cost ideas and suggestions to reduce your home’s energy footprint:
Unplug Energy Vampires
According to Duke Energy
, energy vampires are devices that use energy even when they are turned off. Items such as televisions, modems, computers, charging cables, coffee pots, and microwaves are energy vampires. If they have an LED light or a clock, they are pulling energy. Consider plugging the culprits into a power strip, then turn the power strip off at night.
Use Cold Water
Hot water heaters use a lot of energy to heat water. By reducing the amount of hot or warm water you use to wash your laundry, you will save money and energy.
Service Your Water Heater
While we are on the topic of water heaters, make sure to drain yours at least once a year to remove debris that can interfere with the heating of the water. Check your water heater manual for directions or contact a plumber.
Hang Clothes To Dry
Use the power of the sun (or a heating vent in the winter) and hang laundry to dry after washing. If you miss the softness that the dryer provides, you can throw your laundry in after its dry. It’ll just take a few minutes in the dryer to soften your towels and sheets.
Turn Up Your Air Conditioner; Turn Down Your Heater
In the summer, set your air conditioner to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when you are away. Open windows and use fans to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures.
In the winter, set the heater to 68 degrees and wear warmer clothes to stay comfortable. Turn the heat down at night, but make sure your home is warm enough to keep the water pipes from freezing.
Seal Windows And Doors
Fix leaky windows and doors by installing weatherstripping around the frames. Consider adding a door sweep at the bottom of each exterior door. This keeps the hot or cold air inside when you need it, saving you money.
Switch Out Lightbulbs
Replace incandescent lights with LED bulbs. They now come in a variety of styles, including dimmable and fun colors. Although they tend to more expensive up front, they will save you money overall.
More Expensive Ideas
Here are some higher-cost ideas and suggestions to make your home more energy-efficient:
When you need to replace an appliance, select EnergyStar certified products (https://www.energystar.gov/). The EnergyStar label on consumer products such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, computers, and light bulbs indicates that a product has been independently verified to meet certain energy efficiency criteria.
Insulation in the attic and walls can help your home maintain more even temperatures inside. That means you won’t need your air conditioner or heater as much, saving money and energy over the long term.
Install A Programmable Thermostat
This will allow you to preset the thermostat based on your daily routine so that you don’t have to remember to manually change it. Some smart thermostats even learn your routine and will make changes automatically for you. This can save you money in the long run.
Replace Windows And Doors
By replacing old, drafty windows and doors with new insulated choices, you can save big on energy bills.
Not only will these improvements make your home more livable now, but many of them will also make your home more attractive to buyers when you are ready to sell.