energy

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

In Home Improvements by Maxine C. Herrera

Energy proofing a house can potentially cut your annual utility bills by up to half. This article covers breaking down your energy costs, how to audit and reduce your heating and cooling costs (especially while using larger appliances).

Firstly, homeowners need to understand what they are paying for when they pay their utility bills. Around fifty percent of utility bills result from energy usage for heating and cooling the home. You can form a whole house efficiency plan once you appoint priorities to your energy needs and follow it accordingly.

An energy audit a great way to figure out if major heating or cooling systems in the house need updating or even replacement. Buying a new heating or cooling system will save you money years in the future and also raise the value of the home, even if it seems a steep investment.

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Another great way to cut energy costs is to take advantage of heat from the sun. Open shades around the house during the day and close these shades when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping. Install a programmable thermostat as it lets you lower the thermostat during periods when no one is home or when people are asleep. It can help save as much as 10 percent of your bills a year. Also, remember if the air conditioner is too big for the room it will be less efficient than a smaller adequately sized unit. This is because room units work better and use energy more efficiently if they run for a relatively long period than if they are continuously being switched on and off.

Larger appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators are the top reasons for energy wastage. Replacing old or run-down devices instead of just repairing them is a smart investment in the long run. For example, about 80 percent to 85 percent of the energy used for washing clothes goes towards heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the energy used in washing laundry: use less water and use cooler water. Unless you have oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will usually get the job done. Switching your temperature setting to warm can cut energy use in half. Also, be conscious of proper positioning of the equipment as well. For example, don’t put heat-producing stoves next to refrigerators that produce cold.

Here are a few extra tips for energy proofing your home:

  • Switch off your computer monitor during long periods of non-use. The monitor uses more than half of the system’s energy.

  • Unplug battery chargers when they not in use. Chargers for cell phones, laptops, and other wireless devices use lots of energy even when they aren’t charging their devices.

  • Don’t leave the lights on and turn off lights any time you aren’t in the room. You can also install timers or motion sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are switched on.