The Home Energy Checklist
Ever since the 1980’s, energy conservation has been a hot topic of discussion. Renewable energy allows us to protect the environment, reduce waste and by-products, conserve natural resources, and save money.
Today, people have become more socially responsible and with the green energy movement gaining momentum, eco-friendly has become the new norm. If you look online you will see a lot more WaterSense and Energy Star Rated products. To help you lower energy costs for your home, here’s our checklist of things you can start doing today. Some are as easy to turning a dial, while others may require a trip to the local hardware store.
Assess your monthly electric bill
The first task is to collect you electricity bills from the past few years. This is your benchmark for improving. If you look carefully you’ll see different trends – in summer it goes up because of air conditioning costs, and in winter because of heating.
Heating and cooling will have the highest impact on your energy bill, by far.
Next you need to know which appliances are using up the most energy to keep your home comfortable. This will depend on where you live geographically.
For example, if you live in the south or a humid area your summer electric bill will be higher than in the winter. In this case, look to reduce your cooling units and possibly look into buying a programmable, smart thermostat.
Lower the temperature on your water heater
Did you now that a basic home improvement is to simply lower the temp of your hot water heater by 10°F? Doing so can you can save 3-5% in home energy costs?
Most hot water heaters are set at 135°F, but the recommended setting for maximum efficiency is 110-115° Fahrenheit. During the warmer months this is a no-brainer.
Double pane window seals
Windows that leak allow cold or hot air to escape from the house. This makes your heat pump and air conditioner work harder to keep the home at the desired temperature.
Single window panes are an escape route for temperature and energy. On top of that if they are not sealed properly, they are deficient and contribute to an enormous amount of energy loss annually.
Truth be told, nearly 25% of annual warming and cooling expenses can be attributed to the fact that single pane windows are simply not energy efficient.
A more affordable option is to purchase a window encasing. It was originally designed to insulate older windows from moisture buildup, but has proven effective for heating and cooling; warm air doesn’t escape during the colder months, and home air conditioning won’t escape during the summer.
Change HVAC to Energy Star
Heating and cooling costs homeowners an astounding 43% of their energy use every year.
As indicated by Energy Star, the average HVAC framework more than 10 years of age costs around 30% more to run every year than a new Energy Star Rated model. With the greater part of homes paying about $1,000 annually in heating and cooling costs, the old frameworks can rapidly cost more than you’d expect.
A good example of this is your dishwasher or washing machine. Over 90% of a dishwasher’s energy comes from the hot the water. For washing machines you can save money by knowing which clothes can be washed in cold water.
Check your refrigerator and freezer as well. Make sure they are set to an efficient temperature. Also set your dishwasher to air dry rather than using heat.
Smart Power Strips
Smart power strips are a new answer for home energy costs. Energy “zappers” (devices that suck energy when connected to the source of power but not turned on) are responsible for up to 20% of all energy squandered in America annually. Smart strips sense energy request and stop the supply of energy to completely charged devices or items not currently being used.
Check Heating & Cooling Filters
Whether you have a full HVAC system or use ductless units, switching out dirty filters can save oodles of money on your electric bill. Over time, heating and cooling filters will collect dust which makes the unit work harder to pass air through.
Also check the filters on room space heaters and portable air conditioners. Dust and particle build-up on these units can skyrocket your electric bills.
Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs
Not only do compact fluorescent light bulbs cut home energy costs by 75%, but if each person in the US replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb eliminate the equivalent of the emissions created by one million cars.
For those tech-savvy folks, smart light bulbs have become much more affordable in the last couple years. They have a higher upfront cost, but will save you money in the long-run.
Expect smart bulbs to last between 15 and 25 years.
Check insulation in the attic and crawlspace.
First, look for dirty spots in your insulation. Many times these dirty spots indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes or caulking the edges. You may want to invest in a dehumidifier to help with the potential increase in moisture.
Next, check to see if your insulation is up to par by using the home energy calculator. This tool will help you determine the right amount and type of insulation for your zip code.
For anyone wanting to save money or want to get out of debt fast cutting your electricity bill in half is one of the easiest things you can do. I suggest compiling a list of items that suck up the most electricity – air conditioners, dehumidifiers, pool heaters, etc. This will be your guide for cutting cost.
Also be sure to research more energy efficient models. Ideally try to buy a an Energy Star Rated model!
Keep in mind that these checklists should be revisited every so often to help you conserve energy in your home. Whether you are taking on this project as a way to save money, or as an act of social responsibility, this guide can help you make your home as efficient as possible.
In states like California, energy is becoming a luxury commodity. Prices are rising and in a few decades green energy will up to 90% more efficient than it is today.