Energy conservation is not only good for the environment, but can also save a lot of money. Taking a few simple, do-it-yourself steps can lower your energy bills and keep your house warmer during the long winter months and cooler during hot summers.
1) Exchange incandescent light bulbs with CFL, LED or halogen bulbs, which can save up to $30 a year or more per life of each light bulb. Eleven percent of an average home’s energy costs come from inefficient lighting, so taking the five minutes to change out a few light bulbs is well worth the time.
2) Turn your thermostat down a degree or two. A programmable thermostat allows you the option of turning the air up or down while you are not at home and back to your comfortable temperature when you are. Even this small step will result in big energy savings. Remember that the greater the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature, the more energy is used to maintain room temperature. When a house is occupied, the thermostat should be set at 68 degrees for maximum energy efficiency.
3) Turn off electrical devices when you are no longer using them. This includes not only your TV and computer, but also lights when you leave a room. Though this might seem obvious, things you might not think of are unplugging cell phone chargers, as well as any other appliance that uses a remote control or has a clock on it, which use electricity even when not in use.
4) Seal air leaks around windows and doors with weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors. This will stop most drafts in homes, as well as keep outside air out and inside air in. This is beneficial for both winter and summer months. A simple way to find where air is leaking in your home is to light a stick of incense and take it around doors, windows, attic hatches and switch plates. If the smoke wavers, you know to take the appropriate measure to seal that spot off.
5) Check your appliances to ensure they are working at maximum efficiency. There are simple things to check, like making sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees and adding insulating wrap to it and maintaining a refrigerator temperature of 35 to 40 degrees and a freezer temperature of 0 to 5 degrees. If appliances are old, it might be time for an upgrade to an ENERGY STAR replacement model.
If these simple steps still seem too daunting or time-consuming for you, schedule a professional energy audit where professionals will do a comprehensive assessment of your home and can recommend steps that would be most worth your time and money. If these steps don’t seem like enough, make a trip to your local hardware store and check out all the great products available to implement further energy savings. Energy conservation can be as simple or detailed as you make it, but, in the end, you’re making a huge difference either way!