There are many ways to reduce energy consumption at home to save on utility bills and protect the environment. Here are some essential tips to follow.
1. Behavior adjustments
The first step in reducing energy consumption is to change or adjust the behavior in using the appliances. For instance, you can turn off the lights or any appliances when they are not in use. It would also be helpful to do some tasks manually, such as hang-drying the laundry instead of using the dryer or by washing the dishes by hand.
Behavior adjustments have the highest potential for utility savings and turn down the thermostat during winter and use the air conditioner less in the summer. These reductions in heating and cooling offer the greatest savings.
2. Replace light bulbs by LED
It is time to switch to using light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs or other energy-saving light bulbs to reduce energy consumption. Study shows, LED light bulbs can cut energy consumption by 25% to 80%, and they could last three to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent light bulbs.
3. Use smart power strips
When electronics are on standby mode or are turned off, they consume phantom loads that are estimated to be 75% of the energy used to power the appliance and cost you up to $200 per year.
But using smart power strips can help eradicate this problem as these strips turn off the electronics at an assigned time, or during a period of inactivity using remote switches or based on the status of the master device.
4. Install a smart thermostat
Installing a programmable or smart thermostat will eliminate wasteful energy use from heating and cooling in a way that you will not upgrade your HVAC system. On average, this can help you save $180 per year.
5. Buy energy-efficient appliances
Appliances consume around 13% of the total household electric use. It is important to consider the annual operating cost of an appliance before buying them to ensure that they do not use much of the energy.
Energy-saving appliances may have higher purchase prices, but their operating costs are 9% to 25% lower than conventional models. Just look for the ENERGY STAR label, which is a federal guarantee that the appliance you are buying is an energy-saving one.
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6. Try reducing water heating devices
Like the thermostat, water heating devices also contribute a great deal to the monthly utility bills. There are many ways to reduce water heating expenses.
You can try replacing your water heater with an efficient model, or you can use less hot water, or turn down the thermostat on the water heater.
7. Install energy-efficient windows
On average, 10% to 15% of the total heating bill is because of the heat loss through the windows. To solve this, you may replace single-pane windows with double-pane ones.
For those in the cold regions, gas filled-windows and low-e coats can help reduce heating expenses. Consider also storm windows, especially when you live in areas that frequently experience extreme weather events.
For those living in warmer climates, a low-e coating can help reduce heat gain as it reflects more light and lowers the amount of thermal energy diffused inside the house. Additionally, window shades, shutters, and screens can provide an extra layer of insulation to your home.
8. HVAC system upgrade
You can save up to 12% on the heating bill if you upgrade to a US ENERGY STAR HVAC system. That is an average $36 per year savings. Also, an upgrade to the third component of the HVAC system can improve your energy efficiency.
9. Seal air leaks in your home
Make sure that there are no cracks in your home, such as in your vents, windows, and doors. Sealing air leaks is a great way to reduce heating and cooling expenses.
For a better result, consider fully insulating your whole house.
10. Insulate your house
Insulating the house retains heat in winter and keep heat during summer. The recommended "R-value" for insulation depends on your area. Warmer places should have a lower R-value compared to those in places with colder climates.