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Energy efficiency is something that people are talking about more and more, especially surrounding the energy efficiency of individual homes and how it impacts the environment and annual costs.
If you’re one of the many who are interested in ways to economize your energy usage to lower your bills and help to reduce your carbon footprint, you have come to the right place.
Developing habits that optimize the use of energy in your home can help you create a cost effective way of living, and doing so isn’t as hard as you might think.
With the advent of technology, there are many ways that you can incorporate energy efficient tools and make your home a place that you can proudly state as energy efficient.
If you’re interested in finding simple ways to reduce your energy usage at home, take a look at this guide below for some quick tips on how to go about it.
10 Steps to an Energy Efficient Home
Many might think that updating aspects of your home to make it more energy efficient can be costly, but this is not always the case as some implementations are cost effective out-of-pocket.
Here are some ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption annually and help lower the cost of your energy bills throughout the year.
1. Check How Much You Spend Annually with an Auditor
When it comes to figuring out where to begin with updating the energy efficiency of your home, the bet thing to do is start with the hard data.
There are numbers involved when it comes to your home’s energy use, and these numbers are an indication of where you are spending the most energy and how you can lower the amount and cost.
You may be surprised to find where you are spending your energy and how many ways your bills rack up due to inefficient control of how it moves throughout your home.
Economizing your energy expenses doesn’t have to be a throttling experience, it can be easy with a few tips.
Knowing how energy moves through your home can empower you to cut corners and bring your monthly bills down.
If you’re weary of trying to figure it out on your own, there are ways that you can get help to lessen the stress of crunching the numbers and get answers to your most pertinent questions.
The fastest way to find out where your energy is being spent is to hire an energy auditor.
An energy auditor will be useful in helping you professionally asses your use of energy, and they will be able to do so quickly.
Each room in your home may operate differently when it comes to how the energy is used, and an energy auditor will be able to take the information needed from each room.
They will make a point of assessing how the energy flows in and out of your home and how that affects your monthly energy bills.
Hiring an energy auditor is another expense to keep in mind.
If you’re trying to avoid adding to the costs of assessing and improving your home’s energy efficiency, you can do it yourself at home.
There are online tools that are very useful and can help you acquire the necessary information that you will need to assess your energy efficiency at home without professional help.
This method is for the avid DIYer who is willing to get down to the nitty gritty on their own and crunch the numbers!
This online tool will help you look into your daily lifestyle, help walk you through your home’s energy usage efficiently, and give you pin-pointed ways to adjust problems associated with your energy efficiency to help you lower costs and your carbon footprint.
There are other semi-passive ways to help you monitor your energy usage as well.
An energy monitor like Sense is one such tool.
Sense helps you monitor your energy usage by attaching it to your energy breaker board.
You’d place this tool around your mains and have it continuously read the energy currents that flow from your breaker board one million times per second.
This makes this monitor an incredibly useful tool, as trying to monitor your energy flow on your own at this rate is next to impossible!
This tools is bluetooth enabled, making it a smart device that you can control from your phone.
The signal from your Sense monitor is transmitted to an application that you can download.
It tracks your energy usage in real time through the course of your day, making it a passive tool that you don’t have to keep a hard watch on.
You can use the Sense monitor to track the magnitude, phase and frequency of your home’s electrical currents.
This can help you identify how it changes throughout the day, helping you know when and why your energy fluctuates in your home.
Sense is a powerful tool because it can figure out on it’s own what devices you use throughout your home.
If there is any mistake made by the app, you can easily reconfigure the devices used in your home by updating the devices list in the mobile application.
You can also add information related to how much you pay per kilowatt in your home which can help you estimate the cost of your energy bill every month.
The app helps you by allowing to set goals that will help you keep an eye on your monthly energy usage and lower them as the days go by.
Being able to correct any unnecessary expenditures of energy will keep you on track to meet your desired energy goals every month.
The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is another great tool to help you maintain the energy usage you desire.
This smart plug has a mobile application that links to the plug and your attached in-home devices to help you manage when they are on or when you want to shut them off.
Using your wifi network, this smart plug can control your fans, heaters, lamps, and much more.
It’s ideal to use the Wemo Mini Smart Plug with smart devices to get the best use out of it.
The mobile application for this plug can help you control all the devices that you plug into the Wemo plugin.
You can control this plug from anywhere, making it easy to control devices that you may want to shut off even when you’re far from home.
You won’t have to worry about that light you left on accidentally when you’re out on the town!
The Wemo plugin can also help you schedule when your appliances come on or get shut off.
This helps keep your lights, fans, heaters, etc. keep time with your personal schedule.
You won’t have to get up to shut off your lights before bed, or have them already on when you come home from your work day.
Being that this plugin is able to work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit, you can easily integrate this plugin with the other smart devices you may use in your home.
All of these tools are powerful gadgets that can help you keep track of your energy efficiency and control the way you spend your energy and money.
2. The Value of Smart Thermostats
Heating and cooling your home is one of the most expensive aspects of your home’s energy usage.
This is due to the fact that heating and cooling your home takes into account your entire residence.
Maintaining a steady temperature that doesn’t fluctuate is important to keeping the atmosphere in your home and keeping the cost of running your heating and cooling systems low.
Prepping your home to maintain a consistent temperature is important, but there are ways to help control this by using a programmable thermostat.
The many programmable thermostats on the market are smart devices and they are able to be controlled directly from your phone via mobile apps.
These thermostats also come equipped with bright LCD screens that allow you to control the temperature and settings directly from the device.
You may even set passwords to keep anyone from changing the settings, ensuring that your energy usage remains exactly where you’d like it to.
One of the most popular programmable thermostats on the market, by far, is the Nest thermostat.
This thermostat is a powerful tool in maintaining the heating and cooling of your home.
The age old wisdom of simply not touching the thermostat may not always be enough, especially when other aspects of your home’s make-up might prevent you from maintaining temperatures.
Leaks and inefficient insulation are the major culprits in causing temperature fluctuations in your home, which doesn’t let the “don’t touch it” idea hold strong in the face of very high or very low environmental temperatures.
These problems require more involvement when it comes to setting them straight, but a programmable thermostat can be the quickest way to help keep a steady temperature in your home.
A programmable thermostat can be set to a schedule that works with your day-to-day life.
This allows you to shut off your heating and cooling mechanisms during the day and allowing you to have them on before you get home.
One of the best features that programmable thermostats have are the eco-friendly settings that run your heating and cooling systems at the bare minimum.
This is ideal for your home because these settings help reduce your monthly energy bill without having you focus a lot of time on keeping your thermostat in check.
You’ll be able to set your thermostat to the settings that work best for your home and your budget, helping you save money literally while you sleep!
3. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
One big part of keeping your energy bill down is making sure that your home is properly insulated to protect from harsh, cold winter weather or even the beating rays of the home-heating sun.
Cold weather can be detrimental to maintaining the climate in your home, and some of the causes of why the cold seems to permeate the walls can literally be because of the walls.
Having proper insulation around your home can mean the difference between an energy that runs you a couple hundred dollars a month versus one that barely fluctuates throughout the year.
Insulation is what protects your home and keeps it at a controllable temperature throughout the course of the year.
Heating and cooling are both equally important when it comes to your home, so having proper insulation, or even extra insulation, can mean saving money every month.
If you think your insulation might be lacking, you should make a point of checking all the important places where insulation matters the most.
Checking your pipes for proper insulation in the wintertime alone can save you a lot of headaches because of all the problems that can arise with plumbing due to the cold.
Issues like a burst pipe can arise easily if your pipes aren’t insulated and the cold freezes the water running through them, making it hard for you to do simple things like shower and clean.
The clean up associated with a burst pipe is also a headache in itself, so having proper insulation for your pipes is elementary in controlling other temperature related problems in your home.
With proper insulation in your home during the winter months, you won’t have to spend extra money on heating because the temperature will be better controlled thanks to it not escaping through points of weakness.
4. Lower Energy Costs with Smart Devices
We’ve already discussed some of the smart devices that you can use to control the temperature in your home, but there are other important smart devices that can amp up this goal.
Smart devices have become more and more useful through the years by helping us to advance our homes in technological ways that are greatly beneficial to us and our wallets.
There are innumerable products available both online and in-store, making them easy to acquire and implement in our homes.
Smart lightbulbs are a perfect example of the kinds of technology we can get our hands on without too much of a hassle.
These bulbs are easily controlled from smart phones through applications that you can download easily.
Smart lightbulbs have been developed in ways that use less power than your traditional bulbs, and some come equipped with novelty features like the ability to change their color.
This is great because you can change your lights to create ambient lighting without having to remove and replace the lightbulb.
These lightbulbs, like other smart devices, are able to be controlled from outside of your home.
Some of them are also programmable to a schedule, allowing you to set your lights to a timer based off your own daily schedule.
A great addition to help you maintain the use of your lightbulb is to purchase an energy conserving switch.
There are plenty of small changes you can make throughout your home, but there are also some big ones you can make by changing out older appliances for newer energy efficient ones.
Getting a new microwave, washer, dryer, or refrigerator will help you conserve energy and lower your monthly energy bill as well.
5. Wash Clothes with Energy in Mind
Washers and dryers are big consumers of energy, and being mindful of how you use them can help you save a lot of money over the course of a year.
If you have a late family or use your washer or dryer often over the course of a month, these appliances can pull a lot of energy and make your bill skyrocket.
When it comes to the use of these machines, most of the energy used serves one specific purpose- heating things up.
That the size of these machines alone can give you a clue as to why they use a lot of energy, but they also are necessary to keep a happy home, so avoiding the costs entirely is a pretty slim notion.
Your washing machine doesn’t hold hot water in the machine between uses.
Washers are devices that heat water as it is pulled into your washing machine, making the use of hot water for a cycle costly.
This launches your electricity bill up into the heavens due to the fact that one cycle can cost you a few dollars just to get it going.
To lower your energy bill quickly, only use cold water when you wash your clothes!
If you use hot water to help fight tough stains and caked on dirt and grime, then it’s a good idea to invest in specially formulated detergents that can combat these issues easily.
Another idea is to make your own stain fighting detergent with the powerful cleaning qualities of baking soda.
One way to really cut down on the costs of running your washing machine would be to purchase a newer model washing machine.
This cost may seem high out of pocket, but the amount of time that laundry machines last and the overall savings you’ll make over the course of time due to the energy efficient qualities will be well worth it.
If purchasing a new washing machine is out of the question, there are other things you can do.
Investing in a smart leak detector can help you keep an eye on how much water is used by your machine and if you need to fix it to lessen these numbers.
When it comes to dryers, there are different problems that you must take into account.
The purpose of your dryer is to generate heat so your clothes dry effectively.
There is no way around this if your intent is to use a dryer every time you wash your clothes, but if you’re flexible on going down a path that is manual for this, then you can see a lot of savings.
Hanging garments on a clothes line and allowing them to air dry is the best way to do this.
If this is something that you don’t have space for, or prefer to use a machine for the sake of time and the overall ease of it, then there are still helpful things you can consider.
There are a lot of dryers now that come with sensors that detect the levels of moisture in your clothing.
This ability is usually controlled by the “automatic” setting which minimizes the amount of time that your dryer is run for, tailoring it to stop when your clothes are actually dry.
Another helpful tip is making sure to clean out your lint screen and dryer duct between loads to help your machine run more efficiently.
6. Alter the Use of Your Water Heater
Water heaters are big energy users, and it’s important to keep a close eye on how well this appliance is running to keep your energy costs low.
Your water heater is the one appliance that makes your life easier when it comes to showering, washing dishes, doing your laundry, or using hot water in any other way at home.
The fastest way to change how much energy is used by your water heater is to lower the setting at which the temperature remains inside your water heater.
This is one of the quickest ways to lower your energy bill.
Otherwise, your water heater will maintain a boiling point for your water all day, every day and continue raising your bill.
The second step after lowering the temperature of your water heater is to insulate the hot water lines that come from this appliance.
This little tweak will help keep your waterlines hot for longer, enabling you to conserve small amounts of energy by not letting the heat escape through the pipes as it travels to the different faucets in your home.
Getting fixtures that lower the water pressure and help you control how quickly you use your heated water can also help.
Older water heaters retain hot water and keep it at the temperature your appliance is set to which means that your water heater is always working.
To put an end to this, your best bet is to invest in a newer model water heater that only heats water as necessary, instead of keeping it warm all the time.
Although a costly expense when purchased, this will help you lower your monthly energy bills over time, saving you more than you’d expect easily.
7. Invest in a New Refrigerator
Refrigerators are necessary appliances in the home, but the one thing that they all do is run constantly.
This can mean that your refrigerator is a big culprit in hiking up your energy bill.
Lowering the temperature of your refrigerator can make a big difference, and it is recommended to do so if you don’t need your drinks ice cold all the time.
Knowing the temperature for food safety standards and keeping your refrigerator just below this level can help you lower your energy costs and save your food from spoiling.
A better option would be to replace your refrigerator with a newer model.
This will be a costly expense up front, but the overall savings you’ll gain from an energy efficient fridge will help deter you from not making the purchase.
If this is what you decide to do, it is important to get rid of your old refrigerator instead of using it as a back up.
Having a second refrigerator will easily add to the cost of your energy bill, therefore it’s best to let it go and start over with a newer model.
Energy-Star rated refrigerators are known to be far cheaper to run annually.
Keep an eye out for the Energy-Star logo when purchasing a new fridge, and you’ll be happy with the money-saving results.
8. Make Your Home Draft Proof
It’s very likely that your home may have sufficient insulation to keep your home warm or cool throughout the year.
This is great, except the fact may be that your insulation is just enough to do this job but not enough to prevent leaks.
Well insulated walls and pipes can make a world of difference, but the true problem may lie in the areas of your home that you don’t occupy as often.
Your basement and attic are the two places where these leaks happen the most.
Taking the time to properly insulate and seal these areas of your home can help lower your energy costs substantially throughout the year.
Any leaks you can find in your home are likely to be in these rooms, and this makes it that much harder to keep your home properly heated or properly cooled.
To protect against the unnecessary use of energy in your home, be sure to have these areas thoroughly checked and any problem areas taken care of.
9. Temperature Control: Replace Your Windows
When it comes to keeping the energy used to cool and heat your home at a minimum, it’s important to keep your windows closed.
This being an obvious answer, you may wonder why windows play such an important role in lowering your energy bill.
Well, the answer is simple.
Your windows may be a leak-seekers gold mine.
One way to identify if you have leaks around your windows is to check for a draft in the winter months, or making a point to check if your home stays cool when your AC has been running.
If you have drafty windows in the winter, you can easily weather strip them as a temporary fix.
This fix is inexpensive and works well throughout the year, but it may do you better to invest in installing new windows that are flush against your walls to put an end to the year-round drafts and leaks.
10. Mobile Apps and Ways They Can Improve Energy Efficiency
One of the most powerful and surprisingly useful tools against inefficient energy use is your home is your smartphone!
Your phone can be used as energy control equipment in many ways.
Your smartphone can help you control smart devices that have available applications to download, but you can also use your phone to keep track of your overall energy use.
These apps are important because you can keep an eye on the way your home uses energy overall.
This will help you become more informed about where you lose energy and how you can fight against this by pinpointing the source of your energetic overuse.
When it comes to lowering the cost of your energy bill every month, there are tons of different measures you can take.
Developing the habits of only using what you need when you need it and making a point to make necessary home repairs can be your best friend in battling a high energy bill.
There are both small and big ways that you can make changes, and even the smallest tweak can impact how your home uses energy,
Make a point of starting small and keeping an eye on your consumption of energy.
You’ll find these changes to help you be more environmentally conscious and keep your wallet happy!