Energy Saving Tips for the Home

Energy Saving Tips for the Home : Electricity Consumption at Home

As energy costs continue to rise unabated, most homeowners have begun to seriously examine the energy-efficiency of their homes and are on a quest to find effective energy-saving strategies which will help them take control of personal energy use and costs, enabling them to save money and give them improved indoor air quality and healthier, more comfortable homes. Below are some tips that might help you to effectively slash electricity bill. But before you begin, get your power company to conduct an energy-audit service of your home. If you have an older home it may be possible to reduce energy bills by 50% or more by implementing their recommendations.

Curtail phantom loads

The US Department of Energy estimates that in an average home, a whopping 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off but not unplugged. These “phantom loads” or energy that an appliance or electronic device consumes when it is not actually turned on, add up to nearly 10 % of U.S. household electricity use, or approximately $4 billion per year. The first thing you can do then, is curtail or eliminate your phantom loads by unplugging appliances when you are not using them, or by plugging them into a power strip, and switching the strip off when they are not being used.

Go on an Energy Star trek

Take a tour around your home and determine which home appliances or electronic devices you can replace with new ones which have the Energy Star label of the Environmental Protection Agency. Such appliances use 10-15% less energy and water than their conventional counterparts. The higher upfront cost will be recovered by you in time through reduced energy bills.

Replace light bulbs and where convenient install motion sensor lights

This is by far the most inexpensive and effective means of reducing energy costs. Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than conventional incandescent bulbs. Energy Star claims that they pay for themselves within 6 months and each bulb saves around $30 over its lifetime. Wherever possible, use motion sensor lights so that lights get automatically switched on when needed.

Plug leaks in your home’s thermal envelope.

If you carry out an energy audit you will be in a position to assess the effectiveness of your home’s insulation. Since over 50% of the home’s energy use goes towards heating and cooling, it is essential to plug any gaps where air is leaking in and out of your home. You could potentially save a good 10% of your annual energy bill by improving insulation and sealing any gaps or cracks. Tackle windows and doors first, caulking and weatherstripping wherever necessary and then attend to the attic, walls and floors. A properly insulated homes lows the flow of air between inside and outside, which according to the pros at Jayhawk Exteriors, makes for “cooler summers and warmer winters.”

Improve the efficiency of your windows

This can be done by installing storm windows or even energy-efficient, dual-paned, gas-filled replacement windows with low-e glazing. With the passage of time these windows will pay for themselves in reduced utility bills, but if you want a more inexpensive solution, you can affix low-e coated film directly to the window panes to help reduce heat loss. The use of insulated shades, blinds, awnings, drapes and other window treatments can all contribute to making the windows more efficient.

Consider installing skylights and tubular daylight devices

These let the natural sunlight enter the home, making dependence on artificial lighting during daytime unnecessary and consequently cutting down on energy costs. Since some skylight windows can be opened, they are also a means of providing ventilation.

A programmable thermostat will make a difference

Install a programmable thermostat. By automatically adjusting your home’s temperature to your schedule, keeping it comfortable when you need it to be, the thermostat could save you as much as 15 % on heating and cooling costs. For best results, install the thermostat in a draft-free spot on an interior wall, with sufficient distance from heat-generating appliances.

Use ceiling fans

Ceiling fans can help reduce energy costs, depending on how they are used. On hot days, if you turn up the thermostat by two degrees and use your ceiling fan to lower air conditioning you can cut energy costs by up to 14%.

Plant trees around your home

Planting shrubs and bushes strategically around your home can improve insulation in the summer and winter. It is said that if shady trees are planted a foot away from the outer walls of the home, they create a dead airspace that shields against extreme outdoor temperatures.

Conclusion

There are so many other ways to save energy, but for a start, seriously consider these. You can also refer to the book ‘The Home Energy Diet” by Paul Scheckel, an energy auditor who has visited thousands of homes, educating people about energy efficiency, cost-effective improvements and indoor air quality. In this book, he explains where energy comes from and how advanced technologies can help us use less of it while creating a more comfortable home environment.

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