January 23, 2018
The Top 15 Ways to Save Energy at Home
Saving energy makes financial and environmental sense. By updating your home appliances and following some common sense practices, you can keep the planet healthy and cut down your monthly heating and cooling costs. Here are 15 energy saving tips that will keep you from overheating when your next utility bill arrives.
1. Don’t Over Adjust Your Thermostat
Good thermostat habits can save you up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill. During hot summer days, don’t crank your thermostat down thinking the house will cool faster. It won’t. Big adjustments can actually waste energy because you’re likely to reset the thermostat only after your house gets too cold. That extra energy the rapid cooling took was wasted. Instead, set the temperature to the desired setting and wait for it to cool. The same for heating. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature, the lower your cooling/heating bill will be.
If you’re concerned about your thermostat use, you should also consider investing in a smart thermostat. The smart technology learns your heating and cooling behaviors and automatically adjusts room-specific temperatures to your ideal settings. Plus, smart home technology can decrease your energy consumption which can translate to lower utility bills by up to 15 percent.
2. Get Double Paned Windows
Your windows make up about 15 to 20 percent of your home’s surface. If they’re leaking air from cracks and gaps, you’re throwing money out the window. But even the best sealed single pane windows have a low R-value (insulating property). Double pane windows raise your R-value by creating an insulating air gap that blocks heat transfer.
3. Fix Leaking Ductwork
The ductwork for your central air service distributes your hot and cool air throughout your home. If you have leaky or poorly insulated air ducts, your HVAC system is not capitalizing on its heating and cooling power. Hire a professional to do regular inspections and air duct cleanings to check for leaks and air flow. If you find any, seal them with caulking or metal foil tape and cover any exposed attic ductwork with insulation.
4. Seal Your Chimney
In the summer, make sure to close your chimney damper and that it's fully sealed off. Over time, heating and cooling can warp a chimney damper and affect how well it seals. If your damper is leaking, hire a professional to replace it or try an inflatable chimney balloon. When inflated, chimney balloons form a tight seal within your flue.
5. Add Attic Insulation
A good chunk of hot and cold air escapes through your home’s roof. You can stop it by adding insulation in your attic space. If your current insulation doesn’t meet the required R-value, consider adding more layers of batting type insulation. Or if you have loose-filled cellulose or fiberglass always be sure to hire a professional to get expert advice before doing the work.
6. Install a Dehumidifier
Your central air unit cools your home by removing moisture. It takes less energy to cool your home with the right humidity levels. If your home is too humid, your cooling system will struggle to cool down the air and your rooms will feel stuffy and uncomfortable. Add a dehumidifier to your system to keep the relative humidity in your home between 30 percent and 45 percent.
7. Use Outdoor Energy in the Summer
Instead of heating your home with large energy-using appliances, take advantage of the summer months to use the outdoors. Use the BBQ to cook instead of the oven or stove. Use wind power and a clothesline to dry your clothes. Turn off indoor lighting and open the drapes to brighten up your home with indirect sunlight.
8. Turn Down Your Water Heater Thermostat
About 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home goes to heating your water. So adjusting your water tank thermostat down by only a few degrees can make a big difference. Aim for a setting of 60°C (120°F) and add a mixing valve so the temperature at the tap doesn’t scald you. Any temperatures lower than 60°C can cause a risk of Legionnaires disease. You can also save on hot water usage by installing low-flow shower heads or a thermostatic shut-off valve. If you’ve got a marathon shower taking teen, try a timer for your shower valve.
9. Wash Clothes in Cold Water
At 25 gallons per use, your clothes washer beats out your shower and dishwasher combined for hot water usage. So, use a wash cycle that washes and rinses your clothes in cold water. If your washer is ten years old or older, replace it. Newer washers have larger capacities, yet use less energy and water.
10. Manage Your Electronics
Smartphones, laptops, game consoles, and chargers each use small amounts of electricity that together adds up to major electricity costs. Take advantage of “sleep” modes for your computer and TV. And turn these devices off when not in use. Set your TV’s display brightness to automatically adjust to the room’s brightness. Unplug charging electronics like your smartphone once fully charged because they can still use electricity even at full charge.
11. Add Motion Sensors to Exterior Lights
Your porch light and other exterior lights are all high energy users because they’re often left on for long periods. Install motion sensor lighting so they only work when needed and use high-efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs instead of incandescent ones.
12. Install a Smart Home Weather Station
Smart weather stations monitor the weather in your area and can work with other smart devices around your house to save energy and water costs. A smart weather station can work with your sprinkler system to tell it when to start and stop. You'll never water the lawn during a rainstorm again.
13. Plant Shrubbery Near Your Home
Just like trees shade your house during the summer, shrubs near your home help insulate your exterior walls from heat and cold. Hedges and shrubs work as windbreaks and form an air envelope that helps insulate exterior walls and spigots. For best results, plant hedges that grow well for your region around 30 cm from your exterior walls.
14. Ensure Good Ventilation
You can save on heating and cooling costs by ensuring good ventilation throughout your home. During the summer months, proper ventilation moves hot air out of your attic, cooling your home. In the winter, proper ventilation keeps warm moist air from forming condensation and lowering the effectiveness of your insulation. Check with a professional to see if you have enough attic ventilation.
15. Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System
Newer HVAC systems are more efficient and can save you money because they cost less to operate. If your system is more than 17 years old, look into getting a newer, more efficient furnace or air conditioning unit. Ask about cold-climate, air-source heat pumps designed for spaces in your home that are hard to heat and cool.
If you’d like to learn more about energy saving in your home, get in touch with us today.