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Make your Home Energy Efficient
There are many ways to make your home more energy efficient by using energy efficient appliances, being conscious of the thermostat and turning off lights and TV's when no one is in the room.
Using less water is easy with the new shower heads and sink facets. You can also use less water by being conscious of the usage when brushing your teeth. Weatherproofing your home will also conserve on the heat and air conditioning bills. Also, Energy Star is a government backed program that is designed to help home owners and businesses protect the environment by using Energy Star rated appliances.
Tips to Start the Day
Start saving money before 9 AM in the morning. There are several tips where you can save money in your typical morning routine without changing the quality of your day.
First, when you first arise and brush your teeth, don’t let the water run the whole time and when you shower do so quickly to use less water. If you use the shower for thinking time, find another place to think. Halve the amount of soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and what ever else you use to get ready for the day. People tend to use more of these products than necessary to do the job. More moisturizer isn’t going to make a difference as your hair is only going to absorb a set amount no matter how much you put on it. Put on sunscreen before you leave the bathroom. Does this save money? You bet. It will save money down the road when you are buying makeup to cover brown sunspots as you age and hopefully prevent common skin cancer.
Drink your coffee and eat your breakfast at home. You can buy a coffee pot with a timer and make it the night before so it is hot when you wake up. You can still have bagels and fruit at home for breakfast but save up to $10.00 per day.
Pack your lunch after supper the night before and take it for your lunch. This is a big money saver. Besides saving money it takes less time to eat, so you can take a walk or just chat with a co-worker.
Try to carpool to work if you have co-workers who live in the area or take the bus as that will save gas.
Another thing that will save you money is taking a brisk walk or run in the early morning or evening. This will save you gym fees and give you more free time.
Home Product Shopping
There are many ways to save money when shopping for your home. Programmable Thermostats are a worthwhile investment and will save you money when they are used properly. By turning your thermostat back 10-15 degrees for eight hours at a stretch (at night while you sleep or while you're at work), you can reduce your heating bill substantially (by approximately 10% per year).
In the summer you keep your house warmer when you are not home. You want to purchase the type of thermostat that is right for your schedule. If your schedule changes frequently you want to purchase the 7 day model where you can set different schedules for different days of the week. If you have a consistently routine schedule the 5 + 2 model will work well for you as the 5 workdays won’t change and you can change the weekend schedule to fit your needs. There is also a 5-1-1 model where each weekend day can be set differently.
Energy Efficient Washer and Dryer
If you are going to replace your washer and dryer, be sure to check out the front loading ones. You save about $135 annually on your energy bill, and they also use less water, which is another savings. The detergent you purchase is made especially for the front loader, but it takes much less per load. We purchased ours about a year ago and it has been a wonderful investment. I wash most loads in cold water for further savings.
More ways for you to cut back on your electric bill:
Change your furnace filters monthly unless you are buying the high quality filters that state change every three months. Look for a sale and stock up on filters at that time as the sales on filters are infrequent.
Make sure your house is sealed up, particularly around the windows. Invest in caulk and weather stripping to plug these drafts. A properly sealed home can improve energy efficiency by 20% annually according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Insulation materials are also eligible for the 30% energy efficiency federal tax credit, up to $1500.
Buy new CFL light bulbs. Switching one incandescent for a fluorescent (CFL) bulb saves $35 in energy costs over the projected 10-year life of the bulb. Not only do CFL lights use less energy than conventional bulbs, but they also generate less heat.
Turn lights off when you’re not in a room. Turn off any heat producing appliance as soon as you are through using it. I know someone who leaves there curling iron plugged in most of the time and as it produces heat it takes more electricity than a light for example and will certainly run up the electric bill over time.
In the summer run dishwashers and dryers in the evening which will help keep the house cool and vice versa for the winter months.
If you are purchasing new blinds or window coverings and live in a sunny area of the country think about buying room darkening ones. This will keep the room cooler in the summer.
Also, in the summer use your fans as the breeze makes you feel cooler. Don’t run them if no one is in the room.
Energy Efficient Dishwashers
Purchasing a new dishwasher you will also find that they are energy savers but be sure and check the Energy Guide on the machine you are considering for purchase. One feature that makes a dishwasher more energy efficient is a booster heater. This booster heater will increase your water to 140° which is recommended for cleaning. While the energy booster machines might cost a little more money, you will recoup that money in about a year if you also reduce the heat on your water heater. We bought a Bosch appliance, a dishwasher about two months ago and it is energy efficient. You have to put your ear next to it to see if it is running. I am joking but on the old dishwasher we had to turn up the TV to hear it, so besides the energy efficiency, the quiet is also wonderful.
The new washers also have more cycle selections, so you can run a small load with less water and energy consumption. Some people think it is cheaper to wash dishes by hand but that is not true as they end up using a lot more hot water.
Refrigerators & Stoves
When buying refrigerators or stoves you also want to look for the most energy efficient models. Although they cost more think of a refrigerator running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and your energy savings will quickly make up for the price difference.
As for stoves, gas stoves are more energy efficient than electric but you may not be set up for gas. As for electric stoves, the most energy-efficient are induction elements which transfer electromagnetic energy directly to the pan, leaving the cook-top itself relatively cool. They use less than half the energy standard coil elements use. The next most efficient electric cook-tops are ceramic glass units with halogen elements as the heat source. They deliver instant heat and respond quickly when you change the temperature setting.
Making Your Home More Energy Efficient
Buying New Water Facuets
Water saving faucets are another worthwhile investment and there is a large variety on the market. For the shower there is a dual setting shower head faucet that offers water saving comfort spray and a high-volume spray. This is just one example of available faucets. There are faucet you can also install that filter out the chemicals which will save you money is you are buying bottled water.
Insulating Hot Water
Tips to save money with your hot water heater
Unless your water heater's storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs. You can also probably insulate your electric hot water heater yourself. It is more difficult to insulate a gas hot water heater and it is probably better to get a qualified plumber or heating contractor to do this job. If you do decide to insulate yourself, be careful of blocking off the airflow to the burner, leave the thermostat uncovered, plus don’t insulate the top of the hot water heater as the insulation is combustible and can interfere with the draft diverter.
You can also insulate your hot water pipes which will increase the water temperature from 2-4° which will allow you to set your thermostat at a lower setting.
If you have to buy a new hot water heater you should choose one that will provide enough hot water for your family and one that will be more energy efficient. There are several types of hot water heaters to choose from and will want to do your homework to decide which one fits your needs. Size, cost, energy efficiency, fuel type are just a few of the considerations.
If you plan to live in your home for the next several years you might consider solar panels. They can cut your electric bill up to 98%! However, the initial purchase of the panels is expensive which is why I mention living in your home for several years to recoup your investment. It is something that would increase the values of your home also. If you have a swimming pool you want to heat a couple of solar panels will do this quite well and definitely be a savings for you.
How to build a Solar Panel from Solar Cells DIY
Another idea is to hire an HVAC inspector for an annual check that your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is operating at peak efficiency. If you have a leaking heat duck in the attic that you don’t know about is can be reducing your energy efficiency by up to 20%. This happened to me after the cable guys were in my attic which cost us money to get them repaired.
As you can see from this hub there are numerous purchases you can make which will ultimately cut your cost of energy and water consumption. Green products are being used more commonly now and people are much more aware that using energy efficient products in their homes is important for the future. As we are living in a time where energy prices are continually rising and water scarcity is becoming a problem, it is wise to look ahead as you make the big appliance purchases down to the little ways we waste.