Energy expenses make up a large amount of household expenditures. By rearrange your home and making a few simple tweaks, you can reduce energy use, maximize efficiencies, and cut those bills. Here’s some tips how to get started.
Preparation to Save
The first step to lowering energy bills is to make a whole-house plan. You should think of your home as an energy system with mutually supporting parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace; it’s a network of air canal.
The casing of the house is vital to saving energy. Wall insulation should be no less than R-22 and ceiling insulation at least R-40. (R value means thermal resistance of the insulation; the higher the R value, the stronger the resistance.)
The most familiar forms of insulation, such as cellulose and fiberglass, lose R value as they become old. Insulating walls and ceilings at higher rates than you think you need.
Majority think insulation is meant primarily for cold climates, to retain heat. Yet, insulation works just as well to retain coolness.
Windows typically comprise 10 to 25 per cent of a house exterior surface, meaning their properties are either supporting or undermining your whole-house efficiency plan. Your option is to check out high-performance windows, which, at their most basic, are double-paned clear glass surrounded by wood and vinyl frames. In addition to directly reducing energy costs, they can create a quieter indoor situation and result in less window condensation. Some, such as those coated to block the sun, can protect furniture and flooring from evaporation. High-quality windows, which are usually more expensive than traditional ones, are about thirty per cent more efficient in both the heating and cooling seasons, depending on the setting of the window and the area you live in.
Air conditioning and residential heating systems are often more powerful than they need to be, in part so they can quickly meet the cooling or heating demand. Because equipment is generally larger than the house requires, it hardly ever runs long enough to reach its most efficient point. This can cause humidity problems in the system and will wear it out before its time.
If you are building a new house, consult with your engineer or builder on the size of your system. If you are buying or upgrading a cooling or heating system, its worth buying a system that allows you to identify detailed zones, so you are not cooling or heating idle rooms.
Today, manufacturers have greatly enhanced the efficiency of most main appliances. Many of us are still using the conventional models, although units touting energy efficiency can save significant amounts of cash.
For example: a ten-year-old refrigerator can use more than twice the energy compared to current models with Energy Star labels. These mean the equipment (refrigerator, washing machine) is at least ten per cent more efficient than government standards require.
Mounds or walls of earth give superb insulation. Plants, for instance dense shrubs and trees, help provide wind blocks and shade to reduce the energy demand. And consider whole-house fans as an substitute to air-conditioning, or as a supplement to reduce the amount of power needed to cool your home.
Another method to trim power usage is to change lighting. Think about replacing your traditional bulbs, which are most likely incandescent lights, with slightly larger compact fluorescent light bulbs—they are about 75-80 per cent more energy efficient.
Some Other Tips to Save Energy
- Switch your water heater setting to “warm” (120°F).
- Use the energy-saving settings on dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, and clothes dryers.
- Keep tabs on the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. Consider replacement with more efficient models.
- Clean or replace the furnace, air conditioner, and heat-pump filters at least once a year.
- Insulate hot-water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
- Depending on your system, install a programmable thermostat to automatically raise or lower temperatures.