It’s time to start saving on your energy bill each month. You can help some of the issues that waste energy in your home, but there are a couple of details that you may not notice by walking around your home with a checklist. There are many easy ways to lower your energy cost!
Some issues require a specialist, other things you can control by simply changing your habits.
Air leaks are a significant source of wasted energy! Something as small as installing a door sweep to seal a gap in the door leading from outside or your garage into the house can help you save on energy cost.
If you seal air leaks and properly insulate your home, you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, while increasing your comfort. Make sure you identify and seal all air leaks before adding any additional insulation. You can plug air leaks with weather stripping and caulking.
Some of the biggest air leaks can be traced up to the attic. Big air leaks lead to higher energy cost. Good news is, the attic is one of the easiest rooms to insulate and air seal. Use a combination of foam board & foam spray for gaps larger than 3 inches in diameter.
If you have a chimney or furnace flue, you can use metal flashing for larger gaps and high-temperature caulk from brands like 3M and DAP for smaller ones.
If you have central air, you have ducts. Ducts distribute conditioned air throughout houses using forced air heating and cooling systems. You can seal any holes or tears in your ducts with mastic or foil tape. Don’t use duct tape, because it won’t last.
Significant air leakage can also take place through the rim joist. The rim joist is located at the top of the basement wall, where the cement meets the wood frame. You can seal the perimeter areas with expanding foam or caulk. You can also seal any pipes or wiring that goes through the basement ceiling to the above floor.
Doing laundry uses up a lot of energy, not to mention the tons of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere. If you wash your clothes in cold water, you can save $30-$60 a year. Heating the water in the washer uses 90% of the energy used to wash clothes.
Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water every year. Using ENERGY STAR-qualified front-loading washing machines can save as much as 7,000 gallons of water per year.
Use your dryers’ moisture sensor to automatically turn it off when clothes are dry to avoid over drying. If your dryer doesn’t have an energy-saving moisture sensor, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load.
If it’s time to change your washer and dryer, ENERGY STAR is a great brand to replace your old one with.
Raising our heat in the winter and our air conditioner in the summer can skyrocket your energy cost. You can install a programmable thermostat to save up to 10% on cooling and heating costs.
You can also use your window shades. Sometimes we forget that we can close our blinds on a sunny summer day to keep out the heat and open them in the winter to let the warm rays in.
A dirty furnace or AC filter will slow down airflow and make your system work harder to keep you warm or cool. Clean and/or change your filters regularly.
Whether it’s hot or cold, we must use water. Try using low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water bills.
Reduce your water heater temperature to 130° to save on heating water. You can also wrap the water storage tank in a specialty insulation blanket, like Frost Kings Water Heater Insulation Jacket, to retain the heat.
If your water heater needs replacement, consider installing an energy-efficient tankless water heater.
We all do it… we tend to leave our televisions on and fall asleep or leave the lights on in a room when we walk out, but those aren’t good habits to practice if you want to lower your energy cost.
Turn off all lights, appliances, and electronics when you’re not using them. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once. By doing this, the average household will save $100 or more a year on the energy bill. Sometimes the simple things make a big difference.
It’s also best to change to upgraded light bulbs. You can reduce energy use from about 30%-80% with today’s energy efficient halogen incandescent lights, CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs, and LED lights.
We need to use energy these days to work and to play. You can take a few steps to make sure that your energy bill is affordable and do your part for the environment. Hire a contractor who’ll use specialized diagnostic tools to identify some problems.
Print our checklist to make sure you’re conserving energy in your home.