Energy prices are going up, and energy reliance is becoming more and more pervasive. If you’re like many people, you might be looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home, and decrease your electricity bills at the same time. Here are 10 steps you can take – both big and small – to reduce your home’s reliance on energy:
1. Lower Your Thermostat
The first step you can take to increase the energy efficiency of your home and lower overall energy costs is to reduce the temperature of your thermostat when you leave the house during winter months. Even a small 3-5 degree adjustment will result in energy savings over the course of a year.
2. Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Installing low-flow showerheads and faucets in your bathroom is another way to reduce the energy your home uses. The average showerhead uses about 5 gallons per minute, whereas many low-flow showerheads have an average water usage of 2.5 gallons per minute. This has a huge impact on the water usage, and overall energy usage of your home.
3. Turn Off Unnecessary Water
Whether or not you have installed low-flow faucet fixtures, it’s important to turn off the water whenever possible. Be conscious of leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing dishes, and completing other household chores. The earth – and your energy bill – will thank you!
4. Seal Your Windows
A house with well-sealed windows is much cheaper to heat and cool. Sealing your windows eliminates the drafts and air leaks that allow temperature-controlled air to escape from your home, which in turn reduces the amount of energy necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
5. Unplug Unused Chargers
Chargers and appliances can use significant amounts of electricity if they are left plugged in. Many items, like phone chargers, blenders, laptops, and other devices don’t need to be plugged in unless you are using them (or charging the battery). Unplugging them routinely will help increase the energy efficiency of your home.
6.Wash Your Clothes With Cold Water
Laundry cycles run with hot water are significantly less efficient than laundry cycles run with cold water, because of the energy it takes to heat the water. In most cases (unless the clothes are oily), clothes washed with cold water are just as clean at the end of the cycle as clothes washed with hot water. Changing your default laundry setting goes a long way in increasing the overall efficiency of your home.
7. Increase Your Attic Insulation
Increasing your attic insulation is one of the most significant changes you can make to increase energy efficiency in your home. In fact,The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that increasing attic insulation can decrease your heating costs by 10-50%!
Attic insulation prevents temperature-controlled air from escaping through the attic during the winter and summer months. This reduces the amount of energy the HVAC system uses to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house.
8. Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great way to harvest the sun’s energy to supplement your home’s reliance on the electric grid. Many homes can benefit from installing a solar energy system, and they can save you anywhere from $10,000 – $40,000 over the course of their lifetime.
Before you install solar panels on your home, make sure to get your roof inspected by a professional, and fix any existing damage. Many companies, like this Fredericksburg roofing company, offer free inspections and quotes!
9. Maintain Your HVAC System
An annual HVAC inspection and tune-up will ensure that your HVAC system is functioning as efficiently as possible, and isn’t being hindered by loose connections, dust, or other minor issues.
10. Perform An Energy Audit
A great way to identify more ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to have an energy audit performed. A professional energy audit will thoroughly analyze each room in your home, and provide you with a list of changes you can make to decrease your home’s energy usage.
Whether you implement each idea on this list or simply become more conscious about leaving the water running while you brush your teeth, every step you take helps you increase the energy efficiency of your home, and leave a smaller footprint on the environment around you.