An energy-efficient home can save you money on your energy bill each month. For instance, you can save nine percent on your electricity bill per year just by replacing five of your home’s most frequently used light fixtures with Energy Star-rated bulbs, according to Energy.gov. Or by turning off the power strip for your electronic equipment when it’s not in use, you can save up to 12% on your electric bill each year. Start making your home energy efficient by doing a home energy audit. Go through your home and check items like windows, doors, and insulation that can affect energy efficiency. Here’s what you need to know to make your house more energy efficient.
Use efficient lighting to reduce your energy bill
Lighting can account for more than 10 percent of the total cost of your energy bill, according to Energy.gov. Switching your old incandescent bulbs to more efficient Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, CFLs, can save you up to 75 percent of that part of your energy bill.
LED lighting, while more expensive initially, saves you money over time due to the bulb’s long life. In addition, LEDs use less energy, saving you money on your energy bill.
Set the heat and air to 78 degrees
Your heat and air conditioner can also drive up energy costs. But, you can take certain steps to help reduce those costs, as described below.
Turn your air conditioner’s thermostat to 78 degrees as opposed to 72 degrees or lower. This step alone saves anywhere from 6% to 18% on your energy bill each month, according to Energy.gov.
To help better circulate the air in your home, use ceiling fans. This allows you to raise your thermostat on average about four degrees.
Install a programmable thermostat that turns off the AC when no one is home or that can turn it on automatically to cool your home before you get there.
Check your air sealing and insulation
Air sealing and properly insulating your home can make a big difference on your energy bill. For instance, insulating your water heater tank can save 7%-16% each year on your water heating bill and sealing air leaks saves 10% to 20% on your yearly heating and cooling bills, according to Energy.gov.
To air seal your home, reduce the amount of air that leaks out of your home. This keeps the cool or hot air in and the outside temperature out. Air sealing is relatively inexpensive, as it mainly requires caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors, areas that tend to leak the air from your home the most.
The proper amount of insulation in your ceilings, floors, and walls can also make a difference on your energy bill. Insulation reduces the amount of heat that is transferred to or from your home, meaning your heater or AC has to run less to keep the temperature where you want it.
Seal the ductwork
You can also seal the ductwork in your house to improve the efficiency of your heating and air system. Problems arise when ducts leak hot or cold air into areas they don’t need to, leading to increased energy production to cool or heat the areas you want to. Sealing and proper insulation represent the easiest way to make your ductwork more energy efficient.
Set your water heater to warm
Your water heater can account for up to 25% of your home energy bill, according to Energy.gov. By turning down the temperature setting of your water heater to “warm,” you can save on your electric bill.
Turn off and unplug computers and other appliances when you aren’t using them. A power strip represents an easy way to turn off multiple appliances at once.
Even when you turn an appliance off, it can still use electricity to run background functions. Some common offenders include most TVs, set-top cable boxes, and computers, among other home appliances.
Depending on where you live, you can plant trees in certain areas around your home to try and cut energy costs. Trees planted on the southern exposure side of your home, or the side that gets the most sun, helps keep the sun off your house during the hot summer months and lets the sunlight through during the cold winter months.
In addition, a few well-placed conifers, such as pine and other winter species, can help keep the cold winter wind off of your home, making it easier to heat. Conifers can also keep moisture from rain and snow away from your house year-round.
Making your home more energy efficient represents a great way to save money. In addition to saving on your energy bill, a well-insulated home is generally more comfortable during the summer and winter. In addition, using energy-efficient lighting, such as CFL and LED bulbs, can really make a difference each month when it comes time to pay your electric bill.