Start an Energy Efficiency Program at Home
The rising costs of utilities are stinging everyone’s pocketbooks. The government Energy Star program encourages people to buy more energy efficient appliances.
The rebates and annual energy savings help offset the costs of the refrigerators, water heaters, and furnaces. Here are more ideas for home energy savings that everyone can implement with very little cost.
#1 Energy Efficient Air Conditioning and Heating
Short of installing a new Energy Star furnace or air conditioner, a homeowner can still make changes that result in major savings in energy consumption. Heating and cooling are the major expenses in household utility costs.
Simply sealing doors and windows with expandable foam caulking or weather stripping will reduce drafts, keeping the inside air temperature steady.
Double paned windows save by insulating a layer of air between two panes of glass. Be sure that the windows are properly sealed with weather stripping or caulking.
In addition, the attic is a place where the caulking can be used to advantage.
Upper dormer windows, areas around the chimney, and places where the electrical wiring goes into the attic should all be sealed against drafts. Wrap all heating and cooling ductwork in insulation as well.
Have the furnace and air conditioner serviced each year at the change of season. The small cost of maintenance will reap large savings in utility bills.
By having them cleaned and serviced each year, they will maintain top performance and use less energy.
Install a programmable thermostat. This way, the temperature can be automatically set to a more comfortable level when everyone is home, and to an energy saving level when no one is there.
One caveat is not to allow the house to get too hot, (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit,) or too cold, (less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.) If the house becomes too hot or cold, then returning it to a comfortable range uses more energy than was saved.
#2 Create an Energy Efficient Water Heater
The water heater can be a major expense in the household utility budget.
If a water heater is more than ten years old, it should be replaced with an Energy Star model that will save money.
If the homeowner isn’t ready to replace it, or can’t afford to replace it, here are some simple steps that will save money.
- Set the water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put the water heater on a timer. Have the hottest water available during the times the family showers, washes dishes, and washes clothes.
- Wrap the water heater and the pipes with insulation.
- Consider installing tankless water heaters in the kitchen and baths.
- Install water saving showerheads and faucets. Less hot water used means less expense.
#3 Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
The initial cost of fluorescent light bulbs may make them seem expensive, but the price is more than offset by the savings.
Energy saving light bulbs now come in shapes and sizes that fit almost any lamp or overhead lighting system.
The low energy bulbs last much longer than incandescent bulbs, and they use far less energy. The savings over the course of a year can be significant.
In conclusion, even if a family can’t afford to replace an appliance with a more energy efficient model right away, there are still ways to save on energy bills.
These small, inexpensive solutions will make a big difference in monthly expenditures. The savings will be good for the budget, and good for the environment.