One of the best things we can do for both our wallets and for Mother Nature is to invest in energy efficient systems around the home. Unfortunately, these appliances, cleaning products, and holistic methods can sometimes be pricey and can deter many homeowners who can't necessarily afford these green initiatives.
However, there is a way to conserve energy without making your wallet suffer. Here are some tips and tricks to implement into your home as a means to be more environmentally-savvy.
- Keep all electronics away from your thermostat. Your thermostat can pick up on the heat released from your appliances, causing your HVAC to run longer than necessary to cool down the room. As a rule, keep the thermostat and larger electronics at least five feet apart.
- Always, always unplug everything when you are done using it! The amount of energy wasted when appliances are still plugged in is astounding, and according to Energy.gov, running laptop can cost you 21 cents per day. All of this can add up, and it will set you back about $75 a year for just a laptop! The same principle goes for your oven, microwave, television, blow dryer, and space heater. To make things easier, plug everything into a power strip then simply flick it off when you exit the room.
- Make sure your air ducts are in good condition! A typical family will spend about a third of their annual heating and cooling budget, or around $350, on conditioning air that comes into the home through gaps and cracks.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. Heating water is pretty expensive and can account for up to a quarter of all of your home's energy use. Simply turning down your water heater 10 degrees Fahrenheit can save you up to $30 bucks a year.
- Stay away from incandescent light bulbs. Constellation.com reports that a whopping 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only 10% is light. Instead, choose energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and always look for the ENERGYSTAR logo.
- If you need to raise the temperature on your thermostat, make sure to do so gradually. This is because quickly raising your heat pump's temperature causes the heat strip to activate and use more energy to heat the home in the same amount of time. So, only increase by a degree at a time, and toss on a blanket!
- Focus on your landscaping. If you plant trees and bushes around the perimeter of your home, less heat will enter, and it will be cheaper to cool. In fact, planting larger shrubs and trees near your home can save you up to 25% in energy bills annually simply by reducing the need for air conditioning.
- Always replace the filter in your HVAC system! This should be done once a month, and here's a simple trick that will help you remember to do so. Write the date you changed the filter on the filter's paper in pencil, and when you can't see the date, it is time to change!
- Take shorter showers. Now, this is easier said than done, especially with younger children. So make it into a game, put on your child's favorite song and see who can finish their shower before the end of the song! This way you'll be able to save thousands of gallons of water within the course of a year.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Old-fashioned, mercury-based thermostats have the potential to increase your HVAC bill by as much as 20%, so it will do your home good to have an upgrade. Plus, programmable thermostats are some of the easiest ways to cut down on your home's energy usage as all you need to do is program a time for it to heat/cool -- this way you won't have to worry about excess heat or air conditioning in the home when no one is there.
- Don't forget your ceiling fans! You may be wondering how running two appliances can actually save you money, but think of it this way. Using a ceiling fan will let you raise the thermostat four degrees without compromising comfort, so you'll be paying less in the long run for the same feeling in the home.
Go on, Mother Nature is waiting!