Guest Blogger: 10 Ways to Improve your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Guest Blogger #899, Entry #2109, March 15, 2013
Seeking ways to conserve energy use in your home makes sense – both environmentally and financially. Over time, the energy efficiency improvements you make to your home can yield dramatic results. Your energy bills will decrease, and many improvements will also result in greater comfort for you and your family.
The following 10 tips are a great starting point to begin improving the energy efficiency of your home. Even starting small, by just implementing a tip or two, will show you have easy it can be to start saving money and helping the planet as well.
Image via: Jeanne Finnerty
Tip #1 – Cook with Small Appliances
Small appliances use less energy to cook than large ones. Often, they are also much quicker to use. When you are only cooking for a few people, consider using a small appliance like a toaster oven instead of your full size oven. It heats up faster, and uses less energy.
The oven is great for preparing a Thanksgiving turkey, but for smaller meals, smaller appliances tend to work better.
Tip #2 – Buy Energy Star Rated Appliances
Energy Star is a program created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with the U.S. Department of Energy. The organization rates appliances for their energy efficiency, allowing consumers to make informed purchases. An Energy Star rating is a great way for you to see how efficient your next appliance will be.
You should keep in mind, however, that it is not always better to throw out all your old appliances for new ones, even Energy Star rated appliances. Producing new appliances uses a lot of energy as well. If your old appliances are still working well, wait until they no longer perform as intended before buying a new one.
Tip #3 – Air Seal your Home
A well-sealed home allows for efficient heating and cooling. Most people know of somewhere in their home that is drafty. Those drafts can add up to substantial energy loss over time, and should be sealed up. The U.S. Department of Energy has an article discussing how to detect air leaks.
Sometimes they are not always obvious. You can do a visual check of your home, as well as a pressure test. Once the leaks are located, you can seal them up using a variety of products designed just for this purpose.
After you have sealed up your home, you can run the heater and the air conditioner as needed. You will know with certainty that you are not paying to control the temperature of anything but your home.
Image via: David Vandervort Architects
Tip #4 – Get an Energy Audit
An energy audit is a complete energy assessment of your home. While it is possible to try and perform one yourself, hiring a professional will ensure the most accurate results. Professionals also have all the necessary equipment to ensure that nothing is missed.
Energy auditors will analyze each room in your home to see where you can save energy. This kind of information is invaluable, and will show you all the ways you can improve your home for energy consumption.
Some local utility companies will even provide free energy audits to interested customers.
Tip #5 – Change your Light Bulbs
Several different energy efficient light bulbs exist, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED lights. These newer light bulbs are far superior to the old incandescent bulbs that people used to use, and should be adopted by all homeowners.
According to Energy.gov, fluorescent bulbs use only 25 to 35 percent of the energy that incandescent bulbs. They also last about 10 times as long, making them an excellent investment and green lighting option.
Tip #6 – Change your Air Filter
Air filters, for your furnace or air conditioner, need to be changed regularly. Air needs to flow freely through these appliances. When the filter is clogged up, the air system must work much harder to keep the air moving. There is also the air quality to be considered, which is improved significantly with a clean filter.
Tip #7 – Install a Programmable Thermostat
Having a programmable thermostat will allow you to have much greater control over your system. You can program it maintain certain temperatures at certain times. When you are not home, there is little reason to keep the house cool or hot (barring extreme temperatures).
Image via: Nest
Tip #8 – Run Full Loads
When using your dishwasher, always wait until you have a full load of dishes before starting the cleaning cycle. Dishwashers use the same amount of water regardless of how many dishes are inside.
For washing machines, it is also important to run them with loads appropriate to their settings. Make sure the amount of clothes you are washing match the water settings on the machine to make the most out of the chore as well as savings your water and energy.
Tip #9 – Switch to a Natural Gas Range
If you are looking into buying a new cooking range, natural gas is a better choice than electric if you have the option. Not only does natural gas allow for more control over cooking temperature, it also uses less energy to cook with than an electric range.
Tip #10 – Use Fans
Fans are great for improving the cooling capabilities of your central air system. By circulating the cool air produced by your A/C, you can stay cooler with warmer thermostat settings, thus saving on your energy bill.
Ceiling fans can also be reversed to help evenly distribute warm air in the winter, thus improving on your heating bill as well.
See how Far you can go
There are so many ways to improve on the energy efficiency of your home, and more option are constantly coming available as new technologies emerge. Take the time to try out a tip or two from the above list, and see what results you get with it.
You may find yourself adopting more and more energy saving habits as time goes by. The good feelings, both from looking at the cost savings, as well as the feeling of doing what you can for the environment, will only grow as you improve your home.
This article was provided by Lightbulb Wholesaler Inc. who offers energy efficient lighting including LED, CFL and incandescent light bulbs.
For more energy efficient ideas on Stagetecture, click here.