Choosing to be more energy efficient is a great way to improve the comfort of your home, save money, and do something good for the environment. Here are some easy tips that you can implement to help cut your bills, while making your daily life simpler, so that you can spend more time doing the things you love!
Find & Fix Energy Leaks
From vampire energy usage to leaky windowsills, these little energy leaks can really add up to big dollars annually. Every item you fix helps, so check out this list to get you started.
- Seal leaks around windows & doors with caulk or weather stripping
- Fix doors & windows that don’t close properly
- Check for gaps around plumbing, outlets (simple foam gaskets can do the trick), and anything else fixed to exterior walls
- Fix leaky faucets that could increase hot water usage
- Insulate older water heaters to help retain temperatures with less energy usage.
Choose Hands-Free Lighting
For anyone who has ever paid an energy bill it’s easy to remember to turn off a light when you leave a room, but for those who haven’t… well, let’s just say that I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned off a few lights after my kids have left for school.
One helpful tool is automation. The Iris by Lowe’s smart home system installs in minutes and offers an abundance of tools to help automate your home ¬– saving you both time and energy. Pair the hub with motion sensors, smart plugs, or even LED bulbs and you’re set. You can automate your lighting to maximize your energy savings!
Another fun tip is to utilize automatic night-lights. My favorite option is by SnapPower. They won’t clog up your outlets because they are the outlet plate! Simply remove your existing plates and snap on the Guidelights, replace the screws, and that’s it. The Guidelights detect when it’s dark and automatically turn on their LED light that costs only pennies a year to run. We love them and I plan to install them in all of our bathrooms and hallways once we get to that portion of our home renovation.
Lastly, switch to LED lighting. CFLs came in with a bang some years back, but the dangers hidden in these bulbs began making a stir almost as quickly. LED bulbs may cost more upfront, but unlike CFLs (as we’ve all learned) LEDs really do last!
Use Off-Peak Hours to Your Advantage
Electricity companies generally offer lower rates (or credits) in off-peak hours and higher rates during peak hours. To help save money, try limiting usage during peak hours and running things like air purifiers, the dishwasher, dryer, etc. during off-peak hours. These vary by company and season, so check with your provider, but the hours between 8PM and 6AM are generally a safe bet.
Additionally, run full dishwasher and washing machines and consider washing laundry with cold water to help save even more!
Install a Programmable Thermostat
The ability to program your home’s heating and cooling schedule is a must for maximizing energy savings. According to Energy.gov, you can substantially lower energy bill simply by setting your thermostat to 68°F during wakeful hours, and setting it back a few degrees while you sleep, are away at work, or more while you are away on vacation. In the warmer months, you can follow similar rules by setting the temperature to 78°F during the hours that you are home, and higher when you are away for any measurable time.
A programmable thermostat ensures that you can set it and forget it. Many of these systems are also compatible with the Iris by Lowe’s smart home system that was discussed in the Hand-Free Lighting section above. While most Wi-Fi thermostats offer an app, it’s clunky to have to deal with multiple programs so Iris helps reduce the clutter and confusion by working with multiple devices seamlessly.
Also remember that using less energy during peak hours can help you save big, so if you won’t be home consider setting your thermostat accordingly. A programmable thermostat can make all of this a breeze!
Make Fans & Windows Work for You
Set the direction of your ceiling fans to work with your heating and cooling system. Set the fan to a counter-clockwise motion for summer months to help keep cooler air down, and use a low-speed clockwise motion in winter months to gently circulate air upwards and throughout the room without a “cooling” effect.
Not only can opening a window help you take advantage of moderate temperatures but it also helps greatly improve indoor air quality, especially during a home renovation. Give it a try on cool mornings in the summer and warm afternoons in cooler months to welcome fresh air into your home.
Lastly, draw curtains on hot days to work with Mother Nature instead of against her. I love a light and open home, so I know how tempting it can be to let the light flood in, but it can also cause your air conditioner to work harder on especially hot days.