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How To Save Energy In Your Home (with Pictures)

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Saving energy around the house is good for your wallet, good for you and the family, and good for the environment. But energy conservation around the house is more complex than just using less electricity, because anything you do at home that requires water or fossil fuels is also energy intensive. There’s also the point of caring for our planet and it’s environment—but if everyone does their part and saves energy, then that problem would be significantly reduced. Cutting energy use around the house involves reducing electricity and water use, being smart about when and how you use energy, preventing energy loss, and choosing appliances and fixtures that will help you save energy.

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

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Replace incandescent bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs, which includes halogen bulbs, create much more heat than light, and this makes them very inefficient. Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs will reduce the amount of energy you use on lighting by up to 75 percent.

Lighting typically accounts for roughly 10 percent of your energy use. A single CFL bulb could save you about $30 in energy costs over the course of its life compared to an incandescent bulb. They cost much more but they last much longer,

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Lower the temperature on your water heater. Reduce the amount of energy your water heater uses by setting the water temperature down to 120 °F (49 °C). You’ll save energy by turning down the water heater regardless of whether you have a gas or electric appliance, because it requires a lot of energy to produce the gas you use in your house.

Don’t set your water heater temperature below 120 F (49 C). This can allow dangerous pathogens to live in your water tank.

Cover the tank with an insulating blanket.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Seal leaks and drafts. Keeping your house at a comfortable temperature requires a great deal of energy. Leaks and drafts around the house that let outside air in and climate controlled air out further increase the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool your house.

Install weather stripping on doors, windows, and attic or crawl space access holes.

Seal up mail slots that don’t get used.

Seal openings and cracks in the roof, walls, around electrical outlets, and around pipes and wires with expanding caulk or foam.

Plug large holes, such as by using a foam product.

Install transparent plastic sheeting on drafty windows.

Buy thermal curtains. These touch the floor and are wrap around to touch the walls, to trap cold air behind them. Normal curtains allow the cold air to escape by convection airflow.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Increase insulation around the house. Adding insulation should allow you to pay less for heating and air conditioning, while keeping your home at the same temperature. Check the thickness of the insulation on your attic floor, attic walls, and roof if they have fiberglass batt insulation that is not covered by flooring or drywall. Compare these thicknesses with the DOE recommended thicknesses of fiberglass batt insulation for your region of the country: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/identify_problems_you_want_fix/diy_check s_inspections/insulation_r_values.

As a do-it-yourselfer, you can add 3 2 in (8.9 cm) or 5 2 in (14 cm) batt insulation to existing fiberglass batt insulation, but you must remove the kraft paper from the existing insulation or water vapor will be trapped in your walls or roof.

If your walls are un-insulated you can hire an insulation contractor to blow in cellulose insulation.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Buy energy efficient appliances. When it comes time to replace appliances, look for the Energy Star rating or another energy-efficiency seal of approval. Energy Star appliances use up to 50 percent less energy and water than their traditional counterparts.

Buy washers and dryers with many energy-saving features.

Front-loading washing machines are the most energy-efficient.

Refrigerators with the freezer on top or the bottom are more energy-efficient than side-by-side refrigerator-freezers

Stoves with ceramic induction cooktops are more energy-efficient than traditional range cooktops

Tankless on-demand water heaters are much more energy-efficient than tank-style water heaters

Portable dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity. If you need to run yours often, try fixing problems that are making your home damp. For example, if your basement walls are bare block, paint them with waterproofing paint. Check that your gutters and downspouts work correctly, and repair them if necessary.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Install energy-efficient windows if you don’t have storm windows. Much energy is wasted with single pane windows and drafty windows. . Older windows are often very drafty, and this means your furnace and air conditioner have to work harder to heat or cool your house, and this means using more energy. When it’s time to update your windows, look into more energy-efficient double- or triple-paned ones that will help reduce your energy use.

If you have storm windows, caulk around their frames. Wind draws air out through storm windows and primary windows if the storm windows are not air-tight.

In many places, there are tax credits available for homeowners who upgrade to energy-efficient windows, so look into government programs where you live.

Practicing Energy-Conscious Habits

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Use smaller appliances for smaller cooking jobs. Using your oven is great if you’re cooking an entire meal. But if you’re just roasting a few vegetables, making toast, or making another small meal, use food-specific appliances that use less energy. For instance:

Use a toaster to make toast

Use a toaster oven to cook, roast or bake small portions

Use a steamer or rice cooker to steam rice and vegetables

Use a frying pan to sauté or stir fry instead of baking or roasting

Use a microwave to bake, steam, and boil all sorts of foods

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Shut off appliances and fixtures you aren’t using. Lights, televisions, computers, and other appliances and electronics use lots of energy. You can save energy by turning off lights when you leave a room, turning off the television and radio when you’re done watching or listening, and putting your computer into sleep or hibernate mode when you leave the room.

When you go away for overnight or longer, unplug all appliances and electronics, because many of them use energy even when they’re not on. To make your job easier, use power strips for appliances that are often used together, such as the TV, stereo, and DVD player.

Unplug phone chargers and other devices when you’re not using them too, because they draw power as long as they’re plugged in.

Cut down on the Phantom Loads. Some appliances and electronic devices continue to consume energy even when they are not in use. This is commonly referred to as the Phantom Load. It is usually caused when electronics are still plugged in or are not turned off. You can ensure that you stop wasting energy and your money by unplugging your electronics or by turning off the power strip where the devices are plugged in.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Cover the bedroom radiators with blankets when you leave in the morning. This insulates them, effectively turning them off partially.

Also, leave the shades and curtains in the bedrooms completely open while you are gone. The bedrooms will be heated by UV radiation, like greenhouses. .

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Save water around the house. The water that comes into your house has been treated, filtered, possibly chlorinated, and pumped all over the city, and this requires lots of energy. Finding ways to save water at home, therefore, can help you conserve energy. Some quick ways to save water include:

Taking shorter showers

Turning off taps when you’re lathering up

Filling the sink with water to wash dishes rather than letting it run

Saving kitchen water for the garden

Reusing cooking water

Flushing less

Investing in water-smart fixtures and faucets

Capturing condensation from your air conditioning unit and using it to water plants.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Only do laundry or dishes when you have a full load. Washing machines and dishwashers don’t just use a lot of water, they also use a lot of power, so using them responsibly can help you save energy at home.

To save even more water with the washing machine, always choose the appropriate load size so the machine will adjust the water level.

With the dishwasher, you can also save energy by turning off the drying cycle, and letting dishes drip and air dry instead.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Wash clothes with cold water. Your washing machine already uses lots of energy, in the form of water and power, but you can reduce the amount of power it uses by washing with cold-water cycles. Heating the water accounts for about 90 percent of the energy a washing machine uses when you run a load on hot.

Reserve hot water cycles for extremely soiled loads of laundry, but set the rinse cycle so it uses cold water.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Hang clothes to dry. It takes a lot of power to run a clothes dryer, so you can save energy by hanging your clothes on a line or tower outside instead. Not only will this save energy, but it will also give your clothes that clean, fresh air smell.

Avoid drying clothes inside, as this can create moisture and mold in the house.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Shade your windows with trees or an awning. Trees and awnings are a wonderful way to naturally cool your house in summer and heat it in the winter. To take advantage of this, plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home or install an awning. The trees or awning will shade your house.

In winter, the leaves will fall off the trees and allow warming sunlight into your home.

Instead of planting deciduous trees, you can also install thick curtains that will block the sun, sun screens, or a UV-protective film on the windows to tint them.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Use rechargeable batteries only. While it may seem counterintuitive, recharging a battery is a great way to save energy compared to buying a new one. It requires a lot more energy to produce a new battery than it does to recharge one that’s already made, so when your current batteries die, replace them with rechargeable ones.

Rechargeable batteries are also cheaper in the long run, because you don’t have to keep buying them.

Rechargeable batteries are also better for the environment, because they don’t go to the landfill after each use.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Recycle and reuse. Just like with batteries, it requires less energy to recycle something than it does to make it new, so you can reduce energy use by recycling what you can. Better yet, try to reuse items around the house, such as washing glass jars and keeping them for food storage.

Depending on your municipality, items you may be able to recycle include glass, aluminum cans, bottles, plastic, cardboard, paper, and more.

Buying products with minimal packaging is also a good way to save energy, because no resources or energy is wasted manufacturing or recycling the packaging.

Reducing Heating and Cooling Needs

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Clean your furnace filter regularly. When the filter on your furnace gets dirty and clogged, it makes the furnace less efficient, meaning it uses more energy. To prevent this, check your filter monthly during the months when you’re heating the house. Vacuum or wash the filter as necessary, or every three months.

Some furnace filters aren’t washable, and they’ll have to be replaced every three months or so.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Put in a programmable thermostat. These types of thermostats tend to be a little more expensive, but the investment will pay for itself within a few months thanks to the energy you’ll save. Here’s how a programmable thermostat can save you money:

Set the thermostat so that the furnace or air conditioner comes on less during the day when nobody is home, and at night when everybody is sleeping.

Use the thermostat to turn down the heat or air conditioning when you’re away on vacation, but set it to come back on just before you arrive home. There are also some thermostats that you can operate remotely, such as by using a computer or smartphone.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Seal leaks in your ducts. Leaky ducts, just like leaky walls and windows, can waste tons of energy, because your furnace or air conditioner has to work much harder to replace the lost air. Inspect all your heating, cooling, and air return vents and ducts for holes, leaks, and other problems. If you find leaks, seal them with duct sealant, and then wrap the duct with insulation.

Sealing these leaks could save you up to 20 percent on your energy bills.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Keep your house warmer in summer and cooler in winter. For the summer months, set your thermostat to 77 F (25 C) if you can manage. In winter, set the thermostat to 68 F (20 C). This will prevent the air conditioner and furnace from running constantly, and will save lots of energy in your home.

In winter, use sweaters, thick socks, slippers, and blankets to keep warm at home.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Use fans to cool your home on hot summer nights. In summer, place fans near open windows at night when it’s cooler outside than it is inside. You can use pedestal fans next to the windows, or you can use box fans set in the window sills.

For cross ventilation, use them in windows on opposite sides of the floor, with one fan set to blow air in and one to blow air out.

A small space heater may even be sufficient in winter if you live in the southern part of the US.

How to Save Energy in Your Home (with Pictures)

Use ACs with Smart Time Switches. Air conditioning can act as a heavy load on energy consumption. Smart switches are electrical switches with a built-in timer, turning off and on an electronic circuit. Smart switches can be programmed to allow the cooling for a certain period and cutting off the electric supply until the next cycle of cooling. This way you will be able to conserve energy especially during the night hours.

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