3 Things You Can Do at Home to Save Energy (and Lower Your Bill)
Over the last several months, you've likely noticed your home's energy bill creeping up. Due to a number of factors, energy prices have surged in recent months.
While things like global energy supply and demand – and the ultimate impact on markets – are out of your control, there are a few high-impact solutions that can help you save energh and money.
Here are three tasks you can complete this spring that may help you lower your energy costs.
1. Re-insulate your home.
Whether your house was insulated 20 years ago or just this year, there are some common insulation issues that can drain your heating and cooling energy. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to identify these yourself. You can have a professional conduct a home energy audit to evaluate the state of your home’s current insulation. Some issues they might find include:
- Uninsulated basement or crawlspace ceiling
- Damage to the insulation in your attic
- The wrong type of insulation for your home
- Gaps in insulation
- Uninsulated pipes
A professional energy auditor can provide recommendations for adding or replacing insulation to conserve your energy usage during all seasons. The U.S. Department of Energy offers great advice to help you prepare your home for an energy audit and find a trustworthy energy auditor.
2. Upgrade your home appliances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the ENERGYSTAR® program in 1992 with computers and monitors, beginning the voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last 20 years, the program has expanded to all major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings and plants.
If the appliances in your household are a bit older, upgrading to those with the ENERGYSTAR® label can help impact your energy usage significantly. Consider the following recommendations when upgrading your appliances:
- Choose an ENERGYSTAR® labeled refrigerator and dishwasher.
- Dishwashers that are ENERGYSTAR-qualified are required to use 4.25 gallons of water or less each cycle, compared to other models that can use 10 or more.
- Refrigerators that are ENERGYSTAR-qualified use 15% less energy than models that are nonqualified. Additionally,side-by-side doors result in a less efficient refrigerator/freezer, as do icemakers and water dispensers.
- Avoid placing your refrigerator and dishwasher next to each other.
- Heat from the dishwasher can cause your refrigerator to run more frequently and use more electricity.
- Consider the best size appliance for your household.
- A larger than necessary oven or refrigerator will use energy to heat and cool space you don’t need. Always run only full dishwashers to avoid wasted water. So avoid buying an appliance that is so large that you will have a lot of empty space when you use it!
3. Install a programmable thermostat.
Having a more efficient climate control program for your home helps reduce the amount of energy you’re using throughout the year. Using a programmable thermostat, whether it’s basic or accessible via your mobile devices, can increase your control. Programmable thermostats also increase the longevity and efficiency of your current heating and cooling systems, as they work only when you truly need them to.
Like everything else, thermostats are getting smarter and smarter each day. And with so many options out there, finding the one that will work best for you and your home can be a little confusing.