When it comes to expenses, most homeowners admit that a large part of their income goes on electricity and gas bills. Truth be told, comfort does not come without a price, but there are plenty of things you can do, to save a few bucks on those utility bills and not lose any of the design or convenience of your house. Apart from saving some money, adjusting your house to be more energy-efficient will also help protect the environment, which has become one of the greatest concerns of today’s world. Below are 7 things you can do, to use energy more efficiently and cut down on those unwanted expenses.
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Check the Insulation
If your house is properly insulated, it allows the temperature inside the house to be better preserved. In order words, less warm or cold air comes in during summer and winter, cutting down on the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the house. If your house is old, you might want to consider some insulation improvements, to help with energy saving.
First of all, make sure the walls, floors, as well as attic and roof are properly insulated, to prevent heat from coming in, or going out. Additionally, pay attention to air leaks, which can form around the windows and doors, if they are not properly sealed. Check the attic as well and make sure there are no cracks near the ducts that travel through the house. These cracks can let air pass through, which makes even the best insulation almost pointless.
Make Use of Sunlight
To cut down on electricity, make use of as much natural sunlight as possible. The key to this is to place windows strategically, so you can take advantage of the natural light all day long. Keep the curtains up during the day to let the light pass through. If you have an office space at home, make sure the desk is placed in natural light, to prevent having to turn on the lights during daylight.
Natural light not only helps save energy, but has tremendous benefits on your health as well. It boosts vitamin D, helps with depression and improves sleep. Sunlight is extremely efficient during the winter as well, even if the sun is not as powerful, especially for keeping the house warm.
By installing and using a thermostat, you can save up to 15% on your heating and cooling bill. Programmable thermostats can help save even more, if used correctly. Decide on a comfortable temperature for when you are home and make adjustments for when you are away.
During the winter, you can lower the temperature by a few degrees during the night, or when fewer people are home, and program it to get back up half an hour before you get home. This saves tremendous amounts of energy and prevents you from losing comfort. Nowadays, you can find smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely from your phone and tablet, which is extremely helpful for people who have to go back and forth a lot.
Consider an Energy Audit
If you what to have a clear idea of how energy efficient your house is, you might what to consider a home energy audit. An auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the house, to determine where you might be losing energy and what adjustments you can do to improve energy efficiency. The auditor will also check the insulation, windows and roof as well as examine your utility bills.
When discussing with the auditor, you will have to answer many questions regarding the house and the residents’ behavior, to help determine how to better save energy. They will be asking questions about what rooms are being used the most, what the schedule of the family is and what you average thermostat settings are.
Replace Old Appliances
Old appliance models are not as energy efficient as newer models, so consider replacing them from time to time, to keep up with the standards. For example, new models of dryers include moisture sensors, which detect if the clothes inside are dry and shuts down to prevent energy waste.
This does not mean you need to throw away all the appliances in your home and buy energy-efficient ones, but when the time comes, it is worth investing in those that have a high energy-saving rating. For example, an oven with an A+ rating will use up to 40% less energy than one with a B rating.
Unplug Unused Devices
Even when they are not in use, appliances can still use energy. Make sure to turn off on unplug any devices that are not in use. This can save you as much as $100 a year. Leaving the computer or tv on screen saving mode can cost you more than you think. Instead, turn them off or leave them on sleep when not used.
Don’t leave your mobile plugged in during the night, as the charger can waste energy even if the phone is fully charged. To get your mind off of it, you can invest in advanced power strips, which detect when plugged-in devices are in use and shuts down the power accordingly.
Make Seasonal Adjustments
Believe it or not, home décor can help you save energy. Rugs and carpets help trap warm air and make the house feel more cozy during the winter, while lighter textures help the air circulate during the summer.
Making seasonal adjustments to make your house feel either more warm or more breezy can help tremendously. For instance, you can use lots of textile décor pieces for your floors and sitting areas during the winter, as well as thick curtains to help keep the warmth in. During summer days, you can switch to more light curtains, which help the light pass through and store those big rugs away. Pay attention to the ceiling as well. The lower the ceiling, the warmer the room.