of the maintenance of a home, saving energy will also save you a lot of money. While some energy-saving actions can require a larger up-front investment, they will go a long way in helping to reduce your home energy use and the drain that energy costs can have on your budget.
Below are just a few of the many ways that you can save both energy and money at home.
- Turn it down (or up)!
By turning down your thermostat by two degrees in the winter, and by turning up your central air by two degrees in the summer, you will save energy and money. Two degrees shouldn’t make a large difference in the comfort level of your home, but it will make a positive impact on your utility bills.
At night and when you aren’t home, you can also turn down your thermostat (winter) or turn up your air conditioner (summer) by a few more degrees to save even more energy and money.
Purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat in your home can make these changes in temperature throughout the day easy through the use of automatic settings.
- Turn your water heater dial to 120℉ (~49℃).
Water heaters function most efficiently when set at 120℉. You don’t gain much by setting your water heater at higher temperatures but higher utility bills and an increased risk of potentially being burned by hot water from your faucet¹.
- Hang your clothes out to dry on a clothesline instead of using your electric dryer.
Clothes dryers use a lot of energy and contribute to your energy bills. After investing the money to buy a clothesline, drying your clothes out on a clothesline is free, using the natural solar power of the sun.
- Turn it off!
Turn off lights and unplug electronics when they are not in use. By turning off and unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use, we get rid of the “phantom” energy that results from the standby power in our appliances and electronics, even when they are turned “off.” Switching off power strips can also help to reduce the phantom power in our homes.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy and typically last 7-10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs, and LED bulbs use 75-80% less energy and typically last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs².
- Seal It Up!
Your home’s envelope (windows, doors, and insulation) can be a big source of energy leaks when it comes to heating and cooling. Although replacing inefficient features of your home’s envelope can be costly up-front, you will save a lot of money in the long-run as you will no longer be literally “throwing money out the door or the window” when energy leaks unnecessarily add costs to your energy bills.
- When your home appliances need replacing, consider purchasing ones that are the most energy efficient.
After heating and cooling, household appliances are one of the greatest uses of energy in the home. In addition to replacing inefficient home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer and dryers with more energy efficient models, also consider replacing appliances such as water heaters, boilers, and furnaces with more efficient models as well.
And make sure that your older models get properly recycled! Many business that sell appliances will offer to take away your old appliances for free and have them recycled.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
Did you know that most of the energy used by your washing machine is used to to heat the water? Using cold water instead of warm or hot water when you wash your clothes can help to reduce the overall energy use of your household. Washing clothes in cold water also helps your clothes and their colors to last longer.
- Reduce your shower time.
By taking shorter showers, your hot water energy demands (and their costs) will decrease. You will be saving precious water as well.
- It’s a Wrap!
If you cannot afford to get your older and inefficient windows replaced right away, inexpensive plastic window kits keep to keep cold air from leaking in and warm air from leaking out during the cold weather of winter. These sheets of plastic can be used again the following year, which reduces the use of plastic.