Half of all the energy we use in our homes goes toward heating and cooling with water usage following close behind. Families can spend hundreds of dollars a month on utility bills but there are ways to cut down those numbers. Many utility companies offer free energy audits and it’s worth taking advantage of.
No matter what season it might be, heat rises. Most homes do not have enough insulation in the attic to keep it from escaping so it just floats. Adding attic insulation can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs. Fiberglass insulation is relatively cheap and installing it can be done by anyone. If you choose to do this yourself, there are tons of tutorials online. Insulation helps heat from escaping but weather stripping helps air from coming in. Applying weather stripping will not only keep out a draft, but rain as well. This is another cheap and easy project that you can do on your own without any home improvement skills.
Your washer uses 90% of its energy to heat the water. With most families washing around 400 loads of laundry per year, that is a lot of energy to maintain. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can to cut down on how much energy your washer is using. If you must use hot water, make sure your water heater is insulated. This will ensure that your water is heated more efficiently. When washing dishes, make sure your dishwasher is as full as it can be. Leave out large items like pots and pans to hand wash them as these can take up lots of room.
When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star brand. These refrigerators, washers, and water heaters use a fraction of the energy to run. Pricing is competitive but may sometimes be a little more expensive. Investing a little more up front to save lots in the long run is always worth it.
Most of a home’s electric energy is used when things are turned off. This is called “phantom loading” and can be anything that holds a time or other setting. Items that are phantom users include: televisions, computers, DVD players, and many kitchen appliances. A simple solution is to plug any of the items into power strips and get into the habit and turning off the strips between uses.