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8 Ways to Immediately Save Energy in Your Home

8waysGFX1Whether you just got the keys to your new home or have been a homeowner for a while, it never hurts to “Go Green!”  Believe it or not, even small changes in your home can have an impact on your energy use.

Last week our article discussed, “Why Every Homeowner Should Do an Energy Audit” and how a professional service can tell you where you’re wasting energy in your home.  It’s so worth scheduling an energy audit to know where your home is inefficient.

But you don’t have to wait until your appointment.  You can start TODAY to save the environment and money with some simple DIY projects or easy modifications. Don’t forget about energy tax credits that many cities and states offer when you do any energy improvements.

  1. Get a Programmable Thermostat. This is a simple must-do so you can schedule your home’s temperature automatically depending on your daily routine – increase when getting up, decreasing when you’re at work, increasing when you come home, and decreasing when you head to bed. There are so many product selections out there to choose from that there’s no excuse for you not to find one you can learn to use! Plus the “smart” programmable ones that came out a few years ago take it a step further with motion sensors and other high-tech features. You’ll save money heating and cooling your home at the right times for you with the right cost-saving temperature.

  2. Use a Smart Power Strip for Your Electronics.  It’s time to leave your old power strips in the dust, and look into a “smart” power strip. Who doesn’t see all the glowing lights from our electronics when you turn a room’s light off. That’s energy being used for no good reason! The traditional power strips probably have encouraged you to keep many of your electronics (printers, computers, DVD players) plugged in constantly, using power even when you’re not using them as they wait in standby mode. Smart strips will shut down power to products on standby mode and save you 5 to 10% of your energy consumption.

  3. Install the Correct Lightbulbs for Your Needs. With the use of incandescent bulbs a memory now, buying lightbulbs can be confusing! Before you go to the store (and pay for new bulbs), make sure you understand the differences between LEDs, CFLs, and Halogens so you don’t waste money on the wrong bulb. The technology keeps changing and improving than the earlier ones so you might find one you like better now. Since these lightbulbs can last longer and are more expensive, make sure the manufacturer has a good refund or exchange program if something does go wrong.

  4. Hang Laundry on Clothes Drying Rack. Hanging clothes to dry may seem like you’re back in pioneer days but try it. Get in the habit of hanging some of your clothes on a foldable drying rack rather than in the dryer. Your clothes, your utility bill, and the environment will thank you! Many items can be dried this way helping you to cut down on the number of loads you put in the dryer each week – which translates to less electricity used. If you have a patio, you can put your rack outside for even quicker drying. (Or get a traditional clothesline to go old school.)

  5. Install Ceiling Fans.We know HGTV decorators hate these and want to take them down, but they can help your rooms stay cooler or warmer.  They can be a low-energy way to keep air circulating so you can keep your temperature set higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Just remember to have the fans reversed in the winter so the air is pulled upwards and away from you. There are more stylish fans out there now so your style won’t be hurt.

  6. Insulate Exposed Water Pipes. Wrap your hot water pipes in the basement or garage with pipe insulation so they don’t lose heat as the water makes it way to your faucets. It can make a two-to-four-degree difference. Check the pipes coming out of the hot water heater and insulate at least the first three feet.

  7. Ensure that all vents are unobstructed and dust-free.  Walk around your home and make sure you’re not blocking your air vents with furniture or piles of stuff. You want this air flow to circulate efficiently to avoid having the heating and cooling blowing constantly. Also get them dust-free too.

  8. Plant a Tree. It sounds simple and it can be simple. Having a shade tree can help cool your home during our hot DC metro summers.  Did you know it can be 10% cooler in the shade? You and your home will be much happier since less AC will need to be cranking. With less direct sunlight on your home, you’ll save energy costs. Check out our past article, “Awesome Program to Plant Trees in Your Yard for Little to No Cost,” that can help you get started.

Let us know if you have any questions about these energy saving tips you can do yourself! It doesn’t hurt to do these simple things and still get that energy audit to give you direction on some of the bigger issues in your home.