As the beach chairs get tucked away in the garage and the lawnmower is about to go into hibernation, we start to think (again) about preparing our homes for the cooler months. Taking energy saving steps now pays big dividends in the future.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient homes are less costly to own, operate and maintain, making them both healthier and more comfortable for living. Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, and light their homes. Households can save 20-30 percent on their household energy bill by implement energy efficient repairs and improvements. These small repairs can have a huge impact on energy bills. The savings generated for your home generally outweighs the initial expenditures by a long shot.
Energy Saving Tips For The Home
- Sealing cooling and heating ducts can save up to 25 percent on your home energy bill.
- Repairing leaky drains can save 212 gallons of water a month.
- Insulating the hot water heater can cut CO2 emissions and save 4-9 percent in water heating costs. How do you know if it needs to be insulated? If it is warm to the touch insulate it.
- Replacing showerheads with low-flow ones can save 10-16 percent of water heating costs and reduce water usage by 20,000.
- Installing ceiling fans will cut air conditioning costs by 40 percent in summer and the fans will circulate warm air downwards in winter.
- Use low VOC caulk to stop leaks around windows and doors. Don’t forget around the light switches if you feel air around the switch plate or outlet.
- Home insulation should be installed from the roof down to the foundation for maximum energy efficiency.
- Install a timer on the hot water heater. If it is electric, turn off hot water when not in use.
- Replacing light bulbs with CFL’s can have a huge impact. One bulb can save at least $30.00 in electric bills over its lifespan and 5 bulbs can save 50 percent on annual lighting bills. CFLs also reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants.
- Insulating water pipes conserves hot water every time you take a shower.
- Solar outdoor lighting is maintenance free, and after initial costs, the lights are free to run.
- Lighting controls and timers increase security and decrease energy expenditure.
- This may seem obvious, but dressing warmer and turning down the thermostat is a simple measure with a big impact on heating bills.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle. These three elements provide the most cost effectiveness tip to you and a lighter carbon footprint for the planet.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.