5 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient
Making your home energy-efficient can not only benefit the environment but can save money over time as well. There are various strategies you can employ to achieve this goal – both big and small ones!
Some actions are simple and obvious, such as turning off lights and unplugging unused electrical appliances; other steps require more dedication, like decreasing warm laundry cycles or installing a wood or pellet stove.
1. Replace Old Appliances
Replace any outdated appliances with energy-efficient models to reduce energy use and save money over time. Refrigerators and washing machines consume the highest amount of power; switching them for energy efficient ones could significantly lower energy usage. While you may pay more upfront, over time this investment will pay for itself.
Energy-efficient dishwashers and washers will also help lower your electricity usage, as will upgrading older lighting with LED bulbs – they last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs! For even smarter lighting control you could add a programmable thermostat that lets you manage energy usage remotely or install smart lights that turn on and off when you leave a room.
Unplugging smaller household appliances like televisions and microwaves when not in use saves energy; recycling old appliances in an eco-friendly manner is also key; many retailers offer buy-back programs while many junk collectors will also accept your old appliances as donations.
2. Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
One simple light bulb upgrade could have a dramatic impact on your monthly energy costs. Traditional bulbs convert much of their energy into heat instead of light, which wastes electricity while simultaneously raising temperatures within your home, necessitating more air conditioning to cool it off.
Upgrading to energy-efficient light fixtures can save money and lower greenhouse gas emissions. When shopping, look for products certified with the ENERGY STAR label to verify compliance with stringent efficiency requirements. Also consider investing in LED (light emitting diode) bulbs which use less power while lasting longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs.
LEDs contain no mercury and emit a warm, soothing light that’s suitable for most rooms in your home. While LED bulbs are an ideal way to save on electricity, make sure they match with existing fixtures and dimmer switches before making your selection. In addition to saving on electric costs with timers that automatically switch lights off when no one is home before switching back on at predetermined times – saving energy while providing security by making it appear that someone is always at home.
3. Air-Dry Your Dishes
Air drying your dishes may seem like an obvious choice, yet it remains one of the easiest and least-noticed ways to save energy. Heated drying cycles consume at least 15% more energy than air-drying does – switching can dramatically lower electricity costs!
However, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind if you use this method. First off, be sure your dishes are completely dry before placing them back. Otherwise they could potentially start gathering bacteria from the air and even start to stink!
Make sure that you regularly clean and sanitize your drying rack to maintain good hygiene standards in your kitchen. While many use towels in their kitchen for various uses such as drying dishes and hands, storing these can lead to bacteria growth that could become an issue over time.
If you want to increase the energy-efficiency of your home, have a professional conduct an energy audit. They’ll identify areas for improvement and offer suggestions that could lower electricity bills in the future.
4. Turn Down Your Thermostat
As energy costs continue to escalate, it is becoming more critical that we find ways to conserve and save. Simple adjustments can have a dramatic impact on energy bills.
Lowering the thermostat a few degrees can have an immense impact on your energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, setting your home temperature between 68F in winter months and 78F during summer can save up to 10% on energy costs.
Adjusting your home’s thermostat manually or with a programmable thermostat is a quick and simple way to do just this. Furthermore, you can program your heating and cooling system so it automatically decreases temperatures before bedtime or when away, and increases them before rising or returning home.
Additionally, select energy efficient ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics, to both reduce your energy bills and help protect the environment. For even further savings, switch off lights and equipment when they are no longer being used and look into WiFi-connected home hubs to monitor and control energy usage.
5. Install Insulation
Insulation makes your home warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer, cuts heating and cooling costs, reduces noise pollution, and can significantly lower noise pollution levels. Installing or upgrading existing insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvements you can make.
Installing fiberglass insulation can be done as a DIY project, but to maximize its insulation value it requires meticulous care in installation. Every gap and compressed batt creates a path for air flow; to maximize insulation value make sure to fill all gaps, avoid compression, seal any framing holes properly, seal holes in frames securely and consult expert tips (here and here).
Before installing insulation, select the type that is most suited to your needs. Rolls and batts come in various R-values; higher numbers indicate better insulation properties. Certain varieties come with moisture barriers made of Kraft paper or foil that help provide moisture control; others remain unfaced.
Be sure to inspect the existing insulation to see if it has become moldy or water-stained, which could indicate it no longer serves its intended function and needs replacing. Remember that some states offer energy rebates for installing energy-efficient projects such as insulation.