Want to know how to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without having a crazy electric bill? Energy saving solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some can save you just a little. Others will save you a lot.
Let’s explore some solutions that can really save you a lot of money.
1. Only Use Warm/Hot Water On Very Dirty Clothes
You do it. Your parents did it. And likely your grandparents did it too. Setting the washing machine to warm for most loads just seems like common sense.
Except this common sense is very wrong. Most loads will get perfectly clean on cold. You don’t even need special detergent.
The savings isn’t small change. The average load on warm/hot will cost you about $0.68 in electricity, not including the dryer. The average load on cold will cost you about $0.03.
For a family of 4, doing one load a day, that’s a significant saving. Such energy saving solutions can seem small, but save you a lot.
2. Get a Programmable Thermostat
For central heating and cooling systems, the programmable thermostat allows you to automatically adjust the temperature when you leave for work or go to sleep. The thermostat then returns the temperature to your preferred temperature when you wake or return home.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% on air conditioner (AC) energy simply by adjusting the temperature by 8-10 degrees. They recommend a programmable thermostat to automate this function.
Central air is the most expensive appliance in most homes, so this is a major saving. We’ll speak more about energy saving solutions related to this very expensive appliance as we continue along.
3. Avoid Using the Stove and Oven During the Day in Summer
These appliances put off large amounts of heat that your AC will need to deal with to cool the home. When possible, save their usage for evenings when the house is cooling off naturally.
While you probably don’t want to cook every meal in the microwave, it does use less energy and doesn’t heat the house.
If you must use the stove or oven, turn on the fan to pull heat out through the attic.
4. Switch to LED Lights
There is some initial investment but LED doesn’t just save you a little. It saves a lot of energy both in the form of electricity for lighting and in cooling the home.
Traditional light bulbs generate a lot of extra heat. LED’s use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and close to 20% less than compact fluorescents (CFLs).
Not ready to splurge on LED yet? That’s okay. CFL’s are significantly more efficient than incandescent.
5. Clean the Lint Screen on Your Dryer After Every 2-3 Loads
A filthy lint screen increases the amount of electricity needed to dry a load of clothes.
A heavy load of clothes in a moderately efficient dryer should dry within 30-45 minutes. A dirty screen can increase this by as much as 15-30 minutes.
This will add around $0.35 in electricity per load. When you consider how many loads you dry, this could be over $100 of wasted energy. And don’t forget to get the ducts cleaned periodically. Dirty screens and ducts are also a fire hazard.
6. Avoid Space Heaters Most of the Time
It seems like only heating the room that you’re in makes good energy sense. But space heaters actually use more electricity than a central unit and are rarely an energy saving method to heat a room.
Know when they make sense.
Space heaters cost about 170% more to run than central heat for the same space size.
But when using a space heater, you’re rarely heating the whole home.
If you live in a very large home and only need to heat one small room, an energy efficient space heater may make sense. If you’re heating multiple rooms, you’re using a lot more energy than you need to. Plus they could be a fire hazard.
Find a whole house temperature that makes you comfortable, dress adequately and use a blanket when sitting if necessary.
7. Consider Insulated Windows
The eyes are the windows to the soul. And your home’s windows can open your home up to almost free flowing energy waste.
According to Energy Star, you can save up to $500 a year by replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star rated windows.
Not ready for an upgrade yet? Makes sure windows are properly sealed. And invest in these windows helps reduce heat loss in the winter and heat entry in the summer.
8. Plant a Tree
Not only will planting a tree make the air cleaner, it will shade your house. If your house is out in the open, planting a tree near the west wall where you’ll get the evening sun can significantly reduce energy waste.
Look for a fast growing tree that you can plant relatively close to the house. Tall bushes along a wall that takes a sun ray pounding will also help.
9. Seal Leaky Doors
You may have sealed around your doors years ago. But if you frequently use them, the sealants, strips and other insulators will corrode over time.
Feel around your door for spots where it air is getting through and — when possible — seal to reduce the airflow.
10. Add Insulation
Insulation doesn’t just belong in the attic. Insulation in the crawlspace, external walls and around recessed lighting and other important places can help cut Heating & Cooling costs by 30%.
Wait! That was 10% we could save from using a programmable thermostat and another 30% from proper insulation. Plus all of the savings from windows and smart appliance usage. With these energy saving solutions, we could potentially get the cost of AC down to almost nothing.
For most homes, this is equivalent to saving around $1000/yr.
In fact, your home is more than 25 years old and very poorly insulated, the savings may be even more.
Energy Saving Solutions Can Save You A Lot
In fact, some energy saving solutions are free. Others are an investment in your home that will pay you back several times over in a short period of time.
Proper insulation is one of these investments. It makes smart financial sense.