In the midst of an unfavorable economy and ever-rising energy prices, saving energy can mean saving money that would’ve been spent unnecessarily. Furthermore, as environmental issues like global warming grab media attention, it is a noble goal to reduce the overall demand for fossil fuels and other pollutants.
Fortunately, there are several easy and practical ways to reduce your energy footprint and, as a result, save money. As an added bonus, the environment will thank you.
Reduce Home Appliance Energy Usage
- Refrigerators are known for using up 20 percent of a household’s energy consumption. This could easily be prevented by setting the refrigerator temperature to 37º F and the freezer temperature to 3º F. These settings have been shown to be the most energy efficient. If available, enable the power saver mode.
- When you launder clothes and dishes, make sure the machines are at full when you run them. Most of the newer models of washers, driers, and dishwashers are energy efficient already, but you can maximize their energy efficiency by only running them when you have full loads. If available, enable the power saver modes.
- Reduce the temperature on your water heater. Most water heaters are set for 140º F, but they would be just as effective at 120º F and not many would even notice the difference. According to the Department of Energy, you could save between 3 to 5 percent on energy for every 10º F reduced.
Maximize Home Heating and Cooling
- Overheating and overcooling are common problems in many American households. The most efficient settings for central heating and cooling system thermostats are 68º F during winter days, 55º F during winter nights, and 78º F during the summer.
- Between 25 and 50 percent of the hot air from furnaces and cold air from air conditioners leak out of the air ducts before even entering the main areas of the house. Check annually for any leakages in your air ducts and make sure you seal up those leaks using professional sealing products instead of duct tape.
- For your air conditioners and furnaces, make sure you replace their air filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty and clogged filters make it much more difficult for them to draw in air, forcing them to expend more energy.
- If your house was recently built, it’s likely that you won’t need this tip, but adding insulation to your attic and walls can prevent heat from escaping too quickly during the winter and cold air from heating up too quickly during the summer. The result is that you spend less energy sustaining the temperatures in your home.
Other Easy Ways to Save on Energy
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. By doing so, you can save between 50 to 75 percent on energy expenditure through household lighting. By 2012, the U.S. government will have officially outlawed the selling and usage of incandescent light bulbs anyway so it wouldn’t hurt to begin using them now.
- Take showers instead of baths. The average bath uses approximately 30 to 50 gallons of hot water, whereas the average shower uses approximately 10 to 30 gallons of hot water. Along the same lines, get out of the shower when you’ve finished cleaning yourself. Lingering around and relaxing in the hot water may feel nice, but you will pay for it on your bill.
- Plant a tree in front of your sunniest window. It may take a while to see the fruit of your efforts, but it will work eventually. During the summer, the tree will block the warm sun from heating up your room through the window. In the winter, the leaves will have fallen off and the sun will shine right through like always.