In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to save some money off their regular costs. A lot of people cut down on the luxuries they used to indulge in, like dinners at fancy restaurants and expensive clothes. Other people make bigger life choices, taking their children out of private school in favor of the public system, or moving from a large house into a small one. But one often overlooked way to save significant amounts of money is to conserve energy use in your home. You may not think so, but the truth is that you can lower your bills by large amounts by making some changes in your family’s energy use. Here are some tips to get you and your family started. Turn off lights when you leave a room. For a lot of people this might seem like common sense, but there are many others out there – especially children – who don’t think to simply flip the switch when they leave a room. This will conserve energy and lower your bills.
Update your lighting. If you have been using conventional light bulbs in your light fixtures, then you are years behind in terms of energy updates. It is long past the time to have changed your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or LED bulbs. CFLs are three to four times more energy efficient than the bulbs that were standard twenty years ago. Though a CFL costs more at the store, it will last much longer and lower your bills.
Use power strips. When your lamp is plugged into the wall and turned off you may think that it is not using energy, but you are wrong. It is actually using energy even while off. If you plug your electronics into power strips, turning off the power strip turns off the energy like unplugging does. Switch to power strips and turn them off at night or other long periods of disuse.
Update your appliances to be energy efficient. The next time you need to replace your microwave, coffee maker or other kitchen appliance look for one that is certified by EPEAT or Energy Star. The same applies to larger appliances like your dishwasher and laundry machines. These will also often use less water so will lower your water bills as well.
Keep your garage doors closed. Think of an open garage door as a giant gaping hole in your house letting all of the hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer escape. All of the money spent to heat and cool the house goes literally out the door when you leave your garage door open. So close your garage door every time you go in and out of it.
Insulate your hot water heater. Your hot water heater uses a lot of energy to keep water hot. But you can reduce the amount that is used by buying a water heater – known as a jacket or a blanket – at your local hardware store. Just the simple act of installing the blanket can save you as much as 9% on your water heating costs.
Winterize your home. A surprising amount of heat and cooling escape homes through cracks in the wall, especially around windows and doors. You can deal with these cracks yourself or you can hire a professional to caulk them. It will make a big difference in how much energy is needed to heat or cool your home.
These are just a few ways to conserve energy in your home. There are a lot of simple steps you can take, but these are a good place to start. Just remember – using less energy is good for your bills and the planet – everybody wins when you conserve energy!
About the Author: Jerry Davidson has been writing about eco-friendly home solutions for companies like Door Systems for nearly a decade. When he’s not writing, you can find Jerry coaching his son’s Little League team to victory.