By employing some simple tips and common sense your house can become far more energy-efficient. You do not have to cut back on quality or lifestyle to save money and make your home friendlier to the environment. In the end, you will find my top10 tips for energy saving
Insulation and Scheduling
Imagine this scenario, it is the middle of January and the temperature has bottomed out. You don’t know what it is but it is negative something. You’re dreading the thought of getting out of your bed because of the cold long walk to the bathroom for your shower or bath. To add insult to injury, when you finally get up, get into the bathroom, open the hot tap full blast, the water remains cold for several minutes before a hint of warmth finally comes through. This may seem annoying because it delays your warm bath or shower, but actually this can cost you money. The water is cold because it has to travel quite extensively through cold pipes. As the water heats, so do the pipes which is why it eventually gets warm. You could, however, save lots of time and money by insulating your pipes.
By using good quality pipe insulation (check on Amazon) or just neatly taping insulation around your pipes, you can save time and energy, especially in those really cold months. The water in the insulated pipes will still get cold but it will retain its heat longer. This will speed up the process of getting the water hot. This puts less stress on your water heater and translates into lower heating bills.
Another thing you may be able to try is using off-peak energy. Utility companies know the times when people use the most energy. This time is known at their peak time and their rates reflect this. Get in touch with your utility company and ask what their schedule is. Find out the times and if they supply a good off-peak rate. You may be surprised at how often you are able to use this and how much of savings this will bring.
Saving energy and water makes good sense. It is good for our planet as well as your pocketbook. Many are afraid slightly when they hear the words energy efficiency. They immediately associate this with cutting back and sacrificing quality. The truth is you can achieve an energy-efficient house without having to endure cold baths and showers and eating off of dirty dishes. Many times it is a matter of a quick change or installation of a small product that translates into money and water saved.
One device we all use that offers a lot of potential for energy saving is our washing machines. 0 percent of the washing machines energy goes to heating the water used to clean the clothes. Many are under the illusion that the hotter the water, the cleaner your clothes will be. This is both untrue and can ruin certain types of fabric. By washing your clothes at a lower temperature, they will both get clean as well as save heating costs. Make sure that you use your washing machine at a full load. This will save on usage will mean less water and less cost to you.
If you have an electric water heater you may want to consider adding an energy-efficient switch. This switches the water heater off at night and turns it back on in the morning. The average cost is about 30 dollars and it is quite easy to install. This device cuts down on added and unnecessary use on your water heater and usually pays for itself in saved energy in about a year.
By installing some simple equipment and using some common sense, your house can become much more energy-efficient. This translates into good news for our planet, and good news for your pocketbook. Your water consumption and heating use will be less which translates into more money saved for you.
When you get your gas or electric bill, consider that one-seventh of that goes to heating your water. It may not add up to much but when you multiply that out over the year the sum quickly increases. You may think that this money is well worth all of the hot baths and warm showers that you have over the year, but what if there was a way to have this and still save some money. The truth is that by applying some simple energy-saving tips, you can save energy and money without having to sacrifice those long, well deserved hours of relaxation that hot baths and showers provide.
The first step is to actually reduce the amount of hot water used. This may sound radical but it really isn’t. There are several simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of hot water, without having to take cold showers or wear your clothes until they can walk themselves. The first thing you should do is fix any taps that drip or leak. This may seem insignificant but even the smallest drip can add to your water consumption. Second, try turning the taps off while you brush your teeth or shave. Many of us let it run which not only wastes water but also runs up your costs. A million gallons of water per day would be saved if everyone employed this technique.
The next tip does require a bit of an investment but will pay for itself quite quickly. Consider having a low flow showerhead (check on Amazon) installed. These reduce water consumption by up to 30 percent. They reduce the amount of water that passes through for baths and showers without sacrificing the quality. With this device installed you’ll be saving water which is both good for the planet and your pocketbook.
Again, this tip may require a bit of an investment but again will pay for itself. Many believe that washing dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher is more energy-efficient. This isn’t always the case. Washing by hand several times a day actually uses the same amount of energy that operating your dishwasher at a full load. Your dishwasher can be made more efficient. A dishwasher works best if it operates at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a bit stressful for your water heater is that they function best at 120 degrees. However, if your purchase a booster (check on Amazon), this will increase the temperature of your dishwasher without having to add additional stress to your water heater. You can buy dishwashers with this device already installed or by a separate unit. In either case, the money you save on heating water will pay for this extra quite quickly.
The Fall Season – Winterizing The Exterior of Your Home
Getting ready for the fall season can mean making a number of important improvements and changes in and around your home. Part of being prepared for the upcoming season will entail taking care of the present by taking care of any applicable seasonal needs, and preparing for the future season, namely winter, by attending to the necessary elements that will protect you, your home and your family for the months ahead.
The fall season is a good time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Winterizing is the process of preparing your home to withstand the often harsh temperature that the months ahead will bring. This is typically done in the fall season before the inter-season hits full swing. Although the cold temperatures are a definite factor, it is also important to consider the snow, rain, sleet and other elements that can do damage to the outside of your home as well as those that pertain to the inside, such as making sure those inside of your home are protected making sure your home retains heat more efficiently.
There are several major parts of the outside of the home that should be investigated and repaired, if necessary when winterizing the home. First, inspect the outside of your home for nay cracks, chips or holes in the outside materials around your home. For example, any cracks, splits or chips in vinyl siding or holes in wooden siding can allow icy, cold drafts of air to enter into the home and bring the inside temperature down. This can often be repaired caulking or weather stripping, which will fill those holes. This process may make your home more heat efficient, but also more energy-efficient.
Also, check any shingles on the rooftop to make sure that there is the correct number of shingles are present and while you’re counting, ensure that each single is securely nailed down. Strong, high-velocity winter winds can easily strip rooftops of their shingles, which is not only dangerous but also leave the rooftop exposed to the elements.
Bring all outdoor plants inside the home and, if necessary, start to collect the amount of firewood you will need for the next several months. If you have a fireplace, keep in mind that a fireplace does not heat a home as efficiently as a general heating unit, such as a furnace.
There are a number of ways to winterize the outside of your home without having to pay a lot of costly home repair bills. One way is to plant trees near the home structure itself. Trees such as certain types of pines, when planted close to the home, will deflect the winds away from the house. This will not only help make the home more efficient at retaining the heat, but it is also an environmentally safe, easy way to help your view from the inside and outside. Keep in mind that as the temperatures drop, the ground will become more difficult to dig into, so if you decide to put of pines to deflect the wind, do it as early in the fall season as possible.
The Fall Season – Winterizing the Interior of Your home
It is important to prepare for the cold winter months well in advance of their arrival. If you wait too long, there are many necessary jobs that will simply not get done, such as any work outside in the year, as the ground will be too cold. So, when you are preparing to winterize your home, do the outside work first and save the inside jobs for when the weather prevents you from going out. There are a number of ways to get your home ready for the weather changes that the winter will bring. Although the inside of the home does not get the same exposure to the elements that the outside does, it is important to take steps to prepare each part of the house, inside and out, for what the winter may bring.
If you live in an area where there is a highly likely chance of inclement weather, such as snow and ice storms, high-velocity winds, and other potentially damaging elements, make sure the inside of your home is ready with supplies to last you in the event that the weather prevents you from leaving your home for a long period of a time. Make a small survival kit for yourself and your family, keeping canned goods, bottles of water and toilet paper in a storage area that is accessible from the inside of the house.
Also, to make more room for any necessary groceries, free up space in your storage areas such as a refrigerator or pantry by removing any items that can be stored outside. Rather than placing these items, including canned goods, sodas, and even certain vegetables, outside in the open air, move them into storage bins or boxes and place them in a protected, but unheated area, such as a garage or shed. This will help you free up space for your winter survival kit or any other items such as blankets that you may want to keep on hand to help you get through the cold months ahead.
When you are preparing the inside of your house for the winter months, take good care of your radiators by “bleeding” them. Bleeding the radiators should be done on an average of two times a year and just before the winter comes, you will need to take a look at the pipes and make sure they will conduct heat and water properly. Bleeding the radiators means that you will need to get out any air that may have become trapped in the lines which can block the flow of water.
Depending on the age of your home and the windows in it, you may want to inspect the caulking and sashes for any cold air that could potentially leak through once the wind starts to blow. Windows are typically one area of the home where heat often escapes. One way to address this issue would be to staple a thick, clear plastic over the windows. A more expensive, but a more efficient option would be to consider replacing the window altogether.
Top 10 Tips For Saving Energy
1. Ceiling fans (check on Amazon) save money on heating and cooling. There many styles of ceiling fans that will fit any decor. Make sure you have the blades set for the season. There is a switch on the fan to help you do that. Read the directions for the correct settings.
2. Natural lighting saves energy dollars. You can use natural light to provide light in your home. Skylights offer one option and solar tubes offer another. Solar tubes are installed on the roof of your house and the tube runs down into the room you are lighting. The transparent cap on the end of the tube provides the light for that room without using any energy.
3. Make sure your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump is operating at peak efficiency. If you are purchasing any new heating or cooling equipment, be sure it has a high-efficiency rating. Keep checking to see that all equipment is functioning properly. Make sure you change the air filters once a month to keep the air flowing without restriction. Also,w make sure your refrigerator seal is intact and that all your appliances are running at peak efficiency.
4. Replace all your interior light bulbs with the new energy-saving bulbs that are available. Turn off all the lights you are not using.
5. Make sure all weather stripping on your doors (and windows if you have it) is in good condition; not torn or worn. Install a threshold on your door to prevent the loss of heat or cooled air. Install weather stripping on a casement window.
6. Upgrade your house insulation to a higher R-value. Insulate your attic and your concrete garage walls. You can hire a contractor to perform this work.
7. Caulk all the doors and windows. No caulk or cracks in the caulk can cause a significant amount of air loss.
8. Seal your house’s foundation. Not only will it prevent air loss, but it will protect you from the insects that come into your house between the house walls and the foundation.
9. Seal baseboards and electrical outlets and switches. These are common sources of air loss from your house. Make sure all your windows are properly sealed to prevent air loss.
10. If you have a pool, be sure the pool pump runs at the optimal time of day. Pool pumps use a lot of energy.
For more information on how to help the efficiency of your home, visit the DOE’s website.