Saving energy is about more than just protecting the environment. Reducing your energy consumption at home can also drastically lower your monthly utility bills and make your living environment more comfortable.
Fortunately, improving the energy efficiency of your home won’t disrupt your daily life or require a big financial investment. In fact, it’s never been easier to implement energy saving solutions at home. Here’s what you need to know to save energy in your home:
What Uses the Most Energy in Your Home?
It’s important to learn how you use energy at home so you know what steps you should take to reduce your energy consumption. Every household is unique, but in general, there are some things in every home that use far more energy than others.
The average household in the U.S. spends about $2,060 per year on energy bills. Heating and cooling accounts for 42% of these annual costs, or about $865 per year.
The use of electronic devices such as computers, TVs, and home office equipment accounts for 21% of the average household’s energy consumption.
Water heating, which accounts for 13% of annual energy consumption, is the third largest energy user in the average home. The remaining 24% is split evenly between lighting and the use of appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers.
Understanding how your home consumes energy will make it easier to identify opportunities to reduce your energy consumption.
Energy Efficiency Examples: What Are 10 Ways to Save Energy?
There are many different ways to reduce your energy consumption at home. Here are the top 10 ways to save energy:
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. The temperature on most water heaters is set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is unnecessarily high. Dial the temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to save hundreds of dollars in energy costs per year.
- Install a programmable thermostat. This inexpensive device allows you to preset heating and cooling schedules so you can control how much energy your heating and cooling system uses. For example, adjust the settings to ensure your heating and cooling system automatically turns off during the hours you are at work every day.
- Seal air leaks with caulk. The cracks around your windows let warm air inside your home in the summer and cool air inside your home in the winter. If outside air is let in, the heating and cooling system will have to work harder to keep you comfortable. Prevent this problem by applying a fresh layer of caulk around the perimeter of each window.
- Adjust the settings on your computer and TV. Turn the brightness down on your computer and TVs. You should also turn off your computer’s screensaver. Instead, adjust the settings so your computer goes into sleep mode or hibernation when it is not in use.
- Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Replace the bulbs in the five most frequently used light fixtures with light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. LED light bulbs last up to 25 times longer and use up to 80% less energy than traditional light bulbs.
- Take advantage of your ceiling fans. You can use ceiling fans year-round to reduce your home’s energy consumption. In the summer, use these fans to stay cool so you don’t need to rely as heavily on your air conditioner. In the winter, reverse the blades on your ceiling fans so they run clockwise. The blades will distribute warm air throughout the room when moving in this direction.
- Clean or replace air filters. If your air filter is dirty, the heating and cooling system will need to work even harder to pump air through your home, which means it will consume more energy too. Replace or clean these air filters on a regular basis to ensure your heating and cooling system doesn’t waste energy.
- Plug devices into a power strip. Electronic devices can still consume energy even when they are turned off if they are plugged directly into an electrical outlet. To solve this problem, plug devices into a power strip instead. Flip the switch on the power strip to immediately cut the electricity to these devices and save energy.
- Use window treatments wisely. Keep your window treatments closed during the summer to ensure the sun doesn’t heat the inside of your home. In the winter, keep the window treatments open during the day to allow as much of this heat into your home as possible.
- Air dry. Save energy by air drying your dishes and clothing instead of drying them in the dishwasher and clothes dryer.
Follow one or more of these tips to drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed in your home. The sooner you start to make these changes, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards of living in an energy efficient home!