Energy Efficiency All Around the Home
If you’re interested in solar power, solar energy and solar panels, you’re likely also interested in saving energy and saving money. There are all sorts of ways you can become more energy efficient around your home, and most are easy and inexpensive. Read on for our 10 favorite ways to use less energy, save money, and become a pro at energy efficiency.
Seal air leaks.
Leaking air is leaking money. Concentrate on your basement and attic. As well, caulk, seal, and add weather strips to windows, doors, and other openings to save big on energy and reach maximum energy efficiency. Make sure that outside windows and doors are securely closed when running your heat or air conditioning. And don’t forget to check your fireplace, pet doors, and the like.
Install ceiling fans and use them in place of air-conditioning whenever possible. Make sure interior doors are open to allow air to flow through rooms you want to stay cool. You’ll also want to shut off rooms (and turn off vents) that you’re not using.
Keep your thermostat in check.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees in the winter. At night or when you’re out, it’s recommended that you lower it further to around 60. In the summer, 78 degrees is recommended for when you’re home. A programmable thermostat can make these changes seamless and ensure your home is as warm or cool as you need when you’re home without wasting energy when you’re not. Now that’s energy efficiency.
Replace old light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
Just replacing five of your most used bulbs with energy efficient ones could save you $75 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Imagine how much you could save if you switched them all out? Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs like halogen incandescents, compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) will decrease your energy usage and save you money in both energy and in replacement bulbs, as energy-efficient ones can last anywhere from three to 25 times longer.
Install EnergyStar appliances.
To reduce the energy demanded by essential appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and washers and dryers, choose those with the EnergyStar label. It’s a simple, easy way to save money over time.
Wash and dry your clothes mindfully.
To maximize the energy your washer needs to do a load, only run complete loads through your washer. And skip the hot water setting when you can; modern soap does an excellent job cleaning clothes with cold water. When you get to the dryer, dry only what you need to and hang fabrics to air dry. Don’t forget to clean the lint filter.
Use your dishwasher sparingly.
Only turn your dishwasher on when it’s full, and don’t use the heat cycle, which uses more energy.
Cook outside when you can.
During the summertime, skip indoor cooking and grill out when you can. Cooking in the kitchen when it’s warm outside means heating up your house and wasting energy cooling it off again. Instead, grill your food outside: meats and veggies grill like a charm. On days when you can’t grill outside, consider using a toaster oven or slow-cooker for less energy consumption and maximum energy efficiency.
Turn off your lights.
If you have incandescent, halogen or LED bulbs, you should turn them off whenever you leave the room to save energy. CFLs are a bit different as their lifespan decreases when they are turned on and off. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends you turn them off if you will be out of the room for 15 minutes or more.
Unplug your electronics.
Turn off your electronics and appliances when not in use is a good start, but did you know that most still leak energy if left plugged in? It’s called being an energy vampire, and your home has them everywhere—from your TV to your computer to your coffeemaker. If unplugging is awkward, try putting your electronics on a power strip that you can easily turn on and off. Don’t forget to unplug your charging stations once your items are done charging. They’re big energy hogs too.
Take a shower instead of a bath.
It takes a lot of water to fill up a bathtub (up to 70 gallons), and it takes a lot of energy to heat all that water. Shower use considerably less water (10-25 gallons for a five-minute shower) and therefore it takes less energy to heat less water.
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What Can You Save With Solar?
With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.