This is Part 2 of the Series - "Ten Easy Ways to Save Money and Energy in Your Home". Part 1 was published on June 20, 2018.
Most people don't know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy. Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which the homeowner can do themselves.
Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons:
- Federal, state, utility and local jurisdictions' financial incentives, such as tax breaks, are very advantageous for homeowners in most parts of the United States.
- It saves money! It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy efficient.
- It increases the comfort level indoors.
6. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.
Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:
- Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.
- Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, then their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.
- Use efficient ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. These devices, approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Program, include TVs, home theater systems, DVD players, CD players, receivers, speakers, washers, dryers, dish washers, ovens, stoves, microwaves and more.
- Chargers, such as those used for laptops and cell phones, consume energy when they are plugged in. When they are not connected to electronics, chargers should be unplugged.
- Laptop computers consume considerably less electricity than desktop computers.
7. Install day-lighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.
Day-lighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home's interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:
- Skylights - It is important that they be double-pane or they may not be cost-effective. Flashing skylights correctly is key to avoiding leaks.
- Light Shelves - Light shelves are passive devices designed to bounce light deep into a building. They may be interior or exterior. Light shelves can introduce light into a space up to 2 1/2 times the distance from the floor to the top of the window, and advanced light shelves may introduce four times that amount.
- Clerestory Windows - Clerestory windows are short, wide windows set high on the wall. Protected from the summer sun by the roof overhang, they allow winter sun to shine through for natural lighting and warmth.
- Light Tubes - Light tubes use a special lens designed to amplify low-level light and reduce light intensity from the midday sun. Sunlight is channeled through a tube coated with a highly reflective material, and then enters the living space through a diffuser designed to distribute light evenly.
8. Insulate windows and doors.
About one-third of home's total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:
- Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.
- Windows can be weatherstripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and frame. For doors, apply weatherstripping around the entire perimeter to ensure a tight seal when the door is closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if sweeps are not already in place.
- Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window.
- If existing windows have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don't work, the should be repaired or replaced.
9. Cook smart.
An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:
- Convection ovens are more efficient than conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.
- Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
- Pots should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame.
- Using lids on pots and pans will heat food more quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.
- Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.
- When using conventional ovens, food should be placed on the top rack. The top rack is hotter and will food faster.
10. Change the way you do laundry.
- Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the medium settings uses more than half of the water and energy used for a full load.
- Avoid using the high-temperature setting when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140 degrees uses for more energy than water at 103 degrees for the warm water setting, but 140 degrees isn't that much more effective for getting clothes clean.
- Clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but is will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.
- If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines and racks.
- Spin-dry or wring clothes before putting them into a dryer.
Homeowners who take the initiative to make these changes usually discover that the energy savings are more than worth the effort!!
Source:The Allstate Blog
As usual, should you be interested in buying or selling a home, or for any further information regarding your home, please contact me, Karen Borden, your North Alabama Real Estate Professional!