Your home is wonderful and comfortable, but did you ever sit back and think about all of the energy it takes to keep it that way? Heating and cooling, lighting, refrigeration, entertainment (TVs, computers, gaming systems), maintenance (washers, dryers, dishwashers, ceiling fans), that’s a lot of energy-sucking appliances.
Insider Energy Tips from Home Remodeling Experts
Did you know that in the United States, each household spends more than $3,000 in energy expenditures annually according to a 2012 study from the US Department of Energy. The team at Kansas City NARI is sharing a few of our favorite insider tips and tricks for reducing those high energy bills:
- Replace your air filter every month – since almost half of your energy bill is due to heating or cooling your home, this one can save you a lot.
- Schedule a tune-up for your furnace and AC – at the start of each season, get a professional tune-up.
- Install a programmable thermostat – The U.S. Department of Energy reports that you can save as much as 1% on your utility bills for every degree you bump the temperature up if the setback period is at least eight hours.
- Unplug your electrical items to avoid the vampire – your appliances and electronics use power even when they are powered off or in standby mode.
- Clean the dryer vent after every load – clogged dryer screens can use up to 30% more energy.
- Only use the washer & dryer when you have a full load.
- Switch to LED lights – LEDs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
- Switch your Christmas lights to LEDs too.
- Take more showers than baths – baths use about 20 gallons of hot water, showers, about 7.5 gallons.
- Keep your blinds shut during the day – keep your home from accumulating heat from the sun (solar gain). Don’t make your AC work any harder than it has to.
- Open windows during cool summer nights – let the cool night air help your AC. Don’t forget to close them in the morning.
- Plant trees – plant shade trees next to windows that take direct sunlight during the day. Your outside air conditioning unit can also benefit from proper shading
- Use your ceiling fan – create the wind chill effect, for added comfort. Moving air helps pull moisture away from your skin making you feel cooler. Don’t bother leaving fans on while you’re gone, the windchill effect only helps while you’re in the room.
- Upgrade your insulation – most homes don’t have adequate insulation. Adding insulation will help keep your home comfortable and save on energy bills year round. Attic insulation is the best place to start.
And of course, there are numerous appliances and other items in your home that can be upgraded or replaced to increase energy efficiency. Be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label on the following items:
- Heating and cooling system
- Water heater