Guest post by Gary Ashton REALTOR®
Saving energy conserves natural resources and saves money—money you can use to fund retirement, pay for travel, or purchase energy-efficient home upgrades. Here are more ways to save energy at home.
Seal Air Leaks
Most homes have air leaks around doors and windows. Cool air escapes through these gaps in the summer, while hot air comes in. As a result, your air conditioner must work harder to keep the home cool. The reverse happens in winter; you consume more oil or gas trying to keep the home warm. Sealing air leaks stops air transfer, conserves your HVAC system, and reduces your energy consumption.
Install a Tankless Water Heater
Don’t have enough sun exposure for a solar water heater? Go tankless. Tankless water heaters heat up water on demand, rather than heating a stored tank. These typically heat two to five gallons per minute. For homeowners who use 41 gallons of water or less per day, a tankless water heater will be 24 to 34 percent more energy efficient. Homes that use more water will still see an energy saving benefit, but it drops to 8 to 14 percent more efficient.
Use LED Bulbs
LED bulbs are the most efficient lightbulbs. They use much less energy than incandescent bulbs. By changing out an old bulb for one Energy Star light bulb, a family can save $40 before the LED burns out.
Watch the Thermostat
Homeowners can save money and energy by closely watching their thermostat. By turning the thermostat up in summer — to 78 degrees increase of 72 — consumers can save anywhere from 6 to 18 percent on electricity bills. The lower the difference between air temperatures outside and inside, the more energy savings rack up. In the winter moths, homeowners can turn down the thermostat to consume less heat and energy. Programmable thermostats make it easy to adjust the thermostat to only heat or cool the home when it’s occupied. These deliver additional cost savings of up to $150 per year, when used properly.
Run a Ceiling Fan Year Round
By running a ceiling fan year round, homeowners can redistribute air to keep interior rooms more comfortable. In the summer, cool air circulates through the room. Homeowners can turn up the thermostat by 4 degrees and notice no difference in indoor air temperature. In the winter, homeowners can run their ceiling fan in the opposite direction so that it pushes the warm air down and keeps rooms more comfortable. Homeowners can change the direction of the fan by using a switch that directs the blades clockwise or counterclockwise. The energy saving benefits offered by the fan outweigh any costs associated with running the fan as long as the thermostat is adjusted as well. This will generate a net energy savings.
Wash Only Full Loads of Laundry
Wait to do laundry until there’s a full load rather than throwing in a partial load of laundry because something is needed. If there’s a single item someone needs now, it’s better to hand wash it in the sink than run the laundry. To net even more savings on laundry, stop using the dryer. Instead, hang clothing from a clothesline. By running only full loads of laundry instead of half loads, homes can conserve 3,400 gallons of water per year.
Air Dry Dishes
Using a dishwasher saves energy over washing dishes by hand, especially when homeowners run full loads, which save money over running partial loads. To save even more energy, homeowners can skip the dishwasher’s drying cycle and air dry those dishes — a move that saves anywhere from 15 to 50 percent energy, depending on the dishwasher make and model.
Taken together, all of these strategies have the potential to put hundreds of dollars per year back in homeowners’ pockets, while greatly reducing the environmental impact of a home. Start saving today.