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10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency & Save Money

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency & Save Money
Justin Stewart Oct 26, 2019
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Environmental consciousness is a huge topic today, and becoming a part of the movement towards an energy efficient home can be beneficial for both the environment and your wallet.

Energy efficient homes have become all the rage in recent years because of how they help keep your energy bills low and also update your homes while keeping your carbon footprint as minimal as possible.

Having an energy efficient home is conducive to your wallet in numerous ways, including allowing you file for tax breaks at the end of the year with the IRS and increase your tax return amount substantially.

After the updates to your home, you will be able to take into account the amount you receive from your tax breaks, the amount you save from your lowered energy bills, and the simplicity in how you can run an energy efficient home.

On top of all these benefits, you’ll be able to share your success story with friends and family and help them also lower their energy bills and become more environmentally friendly with these simple ideas.

10 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

Thinking about ways to lower your energy bill may seem like a rough path to take when you factor in the costs and all the time the changes will take, but there are both simple and complex ways to go about this.

Lowering your energy bill can be stress free with a few tweaks and the right intention, all it takes is knowing what steps are the most important and efficient, and how making these changes will be more beneficial to you in the future.

1. Run the Numbers for Your Home

The best place to start with lowering your energy bill is making sure you’re aware of how your spending your energy and where it would be most ideal to economize your energy expenditures.

Knowing how you use your energy empowers you to be able to cut the extra use and cut down on your energy bill.

There is one good way to find out how much energy you use without having to figure it out on your own.

The quickest way is to hire an energy auditor who will be able to professionally asses your use of energy.

The person who audits your energy will assess the way each room in your home uses energy and look at what your past bills have amounted to.

Alternatively, you can do it yourself by utilizing an online tool that will help you identify the information that you need to move forward with your energy assessment on your own.

The DIY way of assessing your energy use in your home will take into account your day to day lifestyle, help you go through your home efficiently, and give you personalized recommendations for how to fix any major energy consumption issues.

Another good tool would be using an energy monitor like Sense.

This monitor is a direct tool that attaches itself to your breaker board directly around your mains and reads the current that’s flowing from your breaker one million times per second.

This monitor is bluetooth capable and transmits a signal to an app that you can download onto your phone so that you can track your energy use in real time throughout the day.

Sense’s uses include tracking the magnitude, phase and frequency of your in home electrical currents to see how they change during the day.

Sense figures out what devices you’re using in your home, but if for some reason it guesses the devices incorrectly, you can fix it yourself via the application on your phone.

Another great in-app feature is the ability to input the rate at which you pay per kilowatt and estimate how much your energy bill will be each month.

You will also be able to set feasible goals to lower your monthly energy usage, enabling you to correct any missteps in realtime and keep yourself on track with your desired energy usage per month.

You can also use the Wemo Mini Smart Plug.

This mini smart plug gives you better control of all your devices right from your smartphone or tablet.

Working with your wifi network, this plugin can control your lamps, fans, heaters and more, especially if they’re smart devices.

The Wemo app will help you to control all the devices plugged into the outlet from your phone from anywhere, allowing you to turn unnecessary devices on and off even if you’re not home.

You can use the Wemo plugin and app to schedule when your appliances will be on and off.

If you’re aware of a specific schedule that you actively stay on, you can have your lights off before bed, on before you come home from work, and off when you leave in the morning.

The Wemo plugin also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit, making it easy to integrate with your other smart devices inside your home.

You won’t have to worry about having left the lights on while you’re out, and you’ll be able to control how you use your energy better from day to day.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat

When it comes to the use of energy in your home, the largest expenses will come in the form of heating and cooling your home.

This process is the most expensive because it incorporates your entire home, and being able to maintain a comfortable temperature without properly prepping your home can be costly.

One of the best ways to deal with fluctuations in temperature in your home is to use a programmable thermostat.

There are many on the market today that are designed to be smart devices capable of being controlled from your phone as well as directly from an LCD screen that is attached to the thermometer.

There are many brands on the market, one of the most popular being Nest.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to control the heating and cooling processes of your home simply by not touching the thermostat, but this alone isn’t always enough to maintain a low energy bill.

Oftentimes, this process seems like it’ll be the most beneficial, but there are other elements to living in your home that can alternate the temperature such as inefficient insulation and leaks in areas like your windows and doors.

Because of these hard to fix problems, using a programmable thermostat can leave the task of temperature control to a schedule that leaves you worry free.

A programmable thermostat will make changes to your in-home temperature automatically, making your home more energy efficient by simply maintaining your in-home temperature at a reasonable setting.

A lot of the programmable thermostats on the market have predetermined eco-friendly setting levels that will allow you to reduce the cost of your monthly electric bills.

By simply by setting the temperature to the least temperature necessary to keep a comfortable climate, you can reduce your electricity bill literally while you sleep.

Using a programmable thermostat means that you’ll be able to control your home temperature when you’re not at home, and keep your thermostat scheduled for when you arrive home, when you wake up, or when you leave for work.

3. Up the Insulation in Your Home

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. Use Smart Devices that Shut Things Off For You

The prevalence of technology in our society has amplified our ability to thrive in numerous ways, including helping us maintain control of how we use our homes.

There are hundreds upon thousands of different smart products available to us today, including different things that you can easily purchase and install in your home to use.

One perfect example would be smart lightbulbs which are powerful yet use minimal power while giving you the ability to control these devices from applications that you have on your smartphone or tablet.

Some of these lightbulbs even come equipped with the ability to change their color, making this added bonus a great way to create ambient lighting without having to swap bulbs.

A lot of these devices can be controlled in your home even when you’re not there.

There are different ways of interacting with your energy saving lightbulbs, including purchasing an energy conserving switch by a company like Belkin.

These small tweaks can help keep the extra money you’ve been spending on your energy bill in your pocket.

There are other devices that you can use, such as a smart plug that will turn off your device or appliance from home or elsewhere even if they are not equipped with smart technology.

Larger appliances like your washer ad dryer are now made in more energy efficient ways than they were ten years ago which makes replacing an old appliance a smart idea.

Microwaves, TV’s, dishwashers and even more appliances that you use every week are made to conserve energy or be controlled smartly, lowering your energy bill every month.

The investment might seem like an unnecessary expenditure when you’ve already got an appliance that cost some big bucks.

If you’re in the market for a new washer or microwave, you should look into energy saving devices that will help lower your energy bill and add reason to your purchase.

5. Wash Your Clothes the Smart Way

You may already know that washers and dryers take the cake when it comes to energy consumption.

These large machines have a large job, but the cost to run a laundry cycle all the way through can make your electricity bill skyrocket, especially if you’ve got a big family.

The biggest expenses for your washer come from heating the water that you use to wash your clothes with.

If you use hot water for every cycle, the machine is meant to heat that water as it delivers it into your wash cycle.

This churns out energy very quickly and can cost you dollars every time you press start.

Instead of using hot water for your wash cycles, consider using only cold water when you wash clothes.

There are specially formulated detergents that will cut through any stains or dirt on your clothing while keeping them just as clean as if you’d have run them through a hot water cycle.

Having a newer washing machine can save you money on your laundry and heating bills from the start, but if you have an older model that still functions, it’s going to cost you more to do a load of laundry because of how older models were made.

If you’re not looking to spend a couple hundred dollars on a new washing machine, you can invest in a smart leak detector that’ll keep an eye on how much water you use and control any leakage or water waste.

Dryers pose a different problem all together because their intention is to generate heat and dry your clothes.

The best way to cut back on the energy costs of your dryer would be to go full on manual, meaning that you’ll have to string up a clothes line and dry your garments the old school way.

Some dryers come with sensors that can detect how much moisture is in your clothing, so if your dryer has an “automatic” setting, you should use this instead to minimize how much time your dryer runs.

Keeping an eye on your lint screen and dryer duct can also help reduce energy costs by allowing your dryer to run more efficiently.

6. Improve the Efficiency of Your Water Heater

Your water heater is one of the main culprits behind your high energy bill.

A water heater is designed to do just that – heat water – and this means that it pulls energy to keep your showers, dish washing, and laundry equipped with the hot water you’d like to use.

The best way to lower the cost of your energy bill via your water heater right now is to go and turn the temperature down on the water heater, ensuring that the water isn’t at a boiling point for no good reason at all times.

This might mean that your showers run cold sooner, but that may just be a sign that it’s time to cut down your shower time for the sake of your wallet (and the environment).

Another thing that you can do easily is insulate the hot water lines attached to your water heater.

Doing this will prevent your hot water lines from cooling down as fast when you’re not using the water lines.

Using fixtures in your bathroom shower and home sinks will mean that the water that you do heat doesn’t come tumbling out of your fixtures like a geyser, cutting down on how much hot water you use while you’re using it.

Older water heaters heat water before you use it, keeping it retained until you turn on the faucet or start the washing machine.

This means that your water heater is constantly keeping the water at the temperature the heater is set to.

The best way to keep this from happening is to install a newer appliance that heats the water that you use on demand instead of preemptively having it heated for whenever you start the flow of water.

7. Replace Your Refrigerator and *Don’t* Keep the Old One

One great way to cut down on your in-home energy costs is to replace your refrigerator.

Refrigerators are expensive to run, especially if you keep the temperature inside the fridge high.

The way to cut down on how much energy your refrigerator uses right now would be to turn down the temperatures in your freezer and inside your fridge itself.

Knowing things like what temperature freezes your food and what temperature keeps your food cold at a safe level can help you determine the perfect temperature for your refrigerator without lowering it to dangerous levels that will allow bacteria to grow.

If you’re interested in replacing an older model refrigerator that is going to cost you buckets of bucks every month, do not keep your old refrigerator as a back-up.

Having a new energy efficient fridge will be sufficient in saving you money, even if the out of pocket cost is substantial.

Keeping your old refrigerator around and plugged in will cost you somewhere between $50 an $150 every year, and that money could go towards other important expenses or your savings.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, purchase one that is Energy-Star rated as these refrigerators will cost you much less to run every year – somewhere between $30 to $60 dollars, which is great savings comparatively.

8. Air Seal Your Attic and Basement

Insulation is important for your home and ensuring that you use energy efficiently every day of the year.

Insulating your walls and your pipes is important, but if you live in a home that has multiple stories and includes an attic or a basement, then it’s a good idea to take the necessary measures to air seal these floors.

Pre-war homes are leak prone and can cost you a lot of money to keep temperature controlled throughout the year.

It’s a substantial investment to air seal your basement or attic, but the kickback in savings after the fact will be well worth the money spent.

Older homes had actual holes cut into them to make way for pipes and wires necessary to equip the home with running water and electricity.

These leaks let hot and cold temperatures in and our freely, making it much more difficult to keep a temperature controlled home throughout.

In a basement, you’ll find that this is where the home meets the foundation, meaning that there is likely some separation happening which allows for cold and heat to move freely in and out of the room.

If you air seal your home, you’ll protect against unnecessary energy-consuming leaks that will cost you hundreds of dollars a year.

9. Consider Replacing Your Windows

The obvious point that should get paid the most attention when it comes to your home windows is to keep them closed.

If you have the heat or AC running, leaving an open window is the worst possible thing you can do in terms of energy efficiency, so much so that some cities and states make it illegal for businesses to run their AC and leave a window or door open.

Keep your windows closed if you’re aiming to maintain a temperature controlled home.

Outside of the actual window being open, there is potential for your windows to also be a source of leaks where the window meets the wall.

If you notice that you have a significant draft in the winter months despite your windows being closed and your heat being on or your home won’t cool no matter how high your AC is, then you may have leaks where your window is installed.

The best thing that you can do before installing new windows is to weather strip them.

This means you’ll be able to find an alternative way of insulating your windows.

This is ideal for the winter, but this fix should only be temporary solution.

It’s a cheap fix and works effectively for the winter and summer months, but it won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ve done the most effective thing.

Despite that quick fix, it’s better to go through the investment of new windows and check it off your home repairs list.

10. Use Mobile Apps to Fine Tune Your Efficiency

In today’s day and age, everyone is on their smartphone doing one of the thousands of things you can do.

Mobile apps have changed our world and made our lives more efficient.

Energy control for your home can be one of those things as well.

Outside of the applications developed for interacting with specific smart devices for your home, there are other applications that can help you track and control how you use energy in your home.

Employing the use of these apps in your daily energy consumption can teach you more about how much energy you use and ways that you can conserve energy.

These applications can help you discover where you are losing energy unnecessarily and help keep you on track to keeping an energy efficient home.

The best part is most of these apps are free and will benefit you greatly!

Justin Stewart

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