Reduce Your Home Energy Expenses

Are your current water and power bills blowing your budget? Looking for some easy ways to cut your monthly expenses? Interested in ”going green” and cutting your personal carbon footprint? Here are a few simple strategies can help you reduce your home energy consumption, limit your environmental impact and save you money on utility bills in the long-term.

The 3 Steps to Reducing Your Energy Expenses

Step 1 – Home Improvements to Improve Energy Efficiency

There are a few simple and big steps you can take around the home to reduce your energy consumption. Consider some of these energy-saving home improvement projects which save you money over the long-run, but may also get you discounts today. Check with your utility company for rebates on reward for your handiwork.

  • Replace old windows with new argon filled, double-glazed windows. These save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 per year for homes with gas heat, 3.9 tons of oil heat, and 9.8 tons for electric heat.
  • Insulate your walls and ceilings to save 20 to 30 percent on your heating bills. If you live in a colder climate, consider super insulating.
  • Replace the roof based more on energy efficiency than on how it looks. Light-colored roofs, such as white, galvanized metal or cement tile, do the best job of reflecting the sun, and cool quickly at night.
  • Weatherize your home using caulk and weather stripping to plug leaks around doors and windows. Caulking costs less than $1 per window, and weather stripping usually costs less than $10 per door.
  • Plant shade trees> to keep your home cooler in the summer without using electricity for fans or AC. In addition, each tree may directly absorbs about 25 pounds of CO2 from the air each year.
  • Paint your house a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color if you live in a cold climate to reflect or absorb the sun as needed.
  • Install low-flow shower heads to use less water. They cost just $10 to $20 each and save 300 pounds of CO2 per year for electrically heated water, or 80 pounds for gas-heated water.

Step 2 – Use Energy Efficient Home Appliances

Old appliances have a tendency to use a lot more electricity than their newer, more efficient counterparts; in some cases three old appliances can be replaced by one newer model. When purchasing any of these major appliances look for the “Energy Star” sticker which tell you the appliance meets or exceeds standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Consider a front-loading washing machine which tends to use 50 percent less energy and one-third less water. Bonus, most of these washers also remove more water in the rinse cycle that translates into big savings in dryer time.
  • Wash your clothes in cold or warm water, not hot. Switching from hot to warm for two loads per week can save nearly 500 pounds of CO2 per year if you have an electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater.
  • Use your dishwasher less. Only run it when completely full and allow the dishes to air dry; this can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, which provide the same amount of light while using less energy and last 8-12 times longer. You can save about $50 per year in energy costs by replacing 15 incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs.
  • Check your Refrigerator seals and turn the temp down. Refrigerators account for about

20% of most home’s electricity use, broken seals and very cold temps means your appliance is using a lot of power. Clean, replace parts and lower temp, or buy a new, efficient model.

Step 3 – Optimize Your Home Heating and Cooling

Your heating and cooling system should have the highest possible energy efficiency ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the product and lower your energy usage. Replace old systems, maintain optimal temperatures and program the system to automatically adjust to help you save.

  • Consider replacing old furnaces, heat pumps or AC units with a more energy-efficient model. Choose a system which suits the size of your house and one which will last.
  • Replace or clean the air filter in your furnace as recommended Energy is lost when air conditioners and hot-air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can cut energy consumption by 5 percent.
  • Turn down your water heater thermostat, even 10 degrees you lower the temp, you can reduce emissions by 600 pounds a year if you have an electric heater, 440 pounds if you have a gas heater.
  • Use programmable thermostats to turn on the furnace less in the winter and use the A/C a little less summer to keep your home within 10 to 20 degrees of outside temperatures.

*Potential energy savings may vary depending on your lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, home construction and installation of systems.

Get a Home Energy Audit to Find Detailed Ways of Saving More

Get a home energy audit every couple of years to find ways to cut costs. Some Realtor, contractors and utility companies can perform an audit to determine where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient (service may be provided free or at low cost). The auditor will examine your utility systems, water, power, heating, cooling, as well as chimneys, windows, appliances, insulation and air sealing.

These home improvements and little ways to reduce energy consumption could save you thousands on you energy bill each year. Some governments and utility company will offer tax rebates for these home improvements, however, even the out-of-pocket costs outweigh the savings in the long-term.

Ask your Realtor or trusted financial advisor for more details about home energy audits and finding ways to save in your area.

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