Through energy savings actions, the average home can reduce their energy consumption by 40%. Being energy efficient extends the life of appliances and makes your home more comfortable! You can reduce consumption without losing quality of life!
1. Replace ALL Light Bulbs with LED Bulbs
Replace standard incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) with LED lights. This alone will save over 15% of the average electric bill. Determine which bulbs you use the most and start by replacing them first. Also, consider installing LED motion night lights.
Adding insulation to your home’s attic, sill plates, crawl spaces and walls can make a huge difference in the energy efficiency. The top priority is the attic. Here are government guides on insulation levels by ENERGY STAR.
You can install high efficiency windows, which are 40% more efficient than standard windows. Fiberglass windows are the most efficient. Consider replacing single-pane with double-pane windows that are gas-filled with high performance glass (e.g., low emissivity or “low-e” glass). ENERGY STAR qualified windows can help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15%. If replacing the old windows is not in the budget then use the window film kits to seal off the windows. This works in the winter as well as the summer. This will also substantially increase your comfort. You can change the window dressing for the time of the year. Light colored in the summer and dark in the winter. These help the sun heat and cool your home. You can open your window treatments on sunny winter days and close them tight on sunny summer days. This will have a dramatic effect.
4. Storm Doors
Consider installing storm doors. These provide an additional layer of protection from the elements, and adds an air gap, further insulating the entrance to your home. In the summer, exchange the glass window for a screen window to allow for air flow on days air conditioning is not in use.
5. Use Smart Power Strips or Unplug Electronics
The average home uses about 5% of its electricity powering items in a standby mode. These are called vampire loads. Cell phones, IPads and other chargers still consume power even when they are fully charged. TV’s, cable boxes, DVR’s and even microwaves use power every minute of every day. You should either unplug these items, or use power strips. This is an increased concern as electric companies are turning to new “Smart Meters” that are better at detecting and charging you for vampire loads.
6. Water Heaters
Over 90% of the homes we visit do not have their water heater lines insulated, which wastes energy. In the summer, hot water lines heat the surrounding air which requires additional energy for the air conditioner and water heater. Additionally, heat is lost from the pipes, requiring the heater to reheat the water all over again. Add a water heater blanket and it will keep the heat in all day. Warning: Some water heaters can NOT be covered. Check with a professional or read your equipment manual. A tank-less water heater is a huge energy saver and allows you as much hot water as you could ever use and never run out. Consider a hot water heater Heat Pump. Many of our customers have invested in them and love it.
7. Air Conditioner
Your air conditioner should never be in the direct sun. If it is, you should shade it with vegetation or a fence. Make sure you plant them far enough away as to not disturb the air flow. This alone will substantially reduce your energy consumption and extend the life of your AC unit. Use an air conditioner mister: The evaporation process cools it down and can save you 30% of the required energy. Cooling your attic will cool your home, reduce your air conditioning load and extend the life of your shingles. Using a solar powered vent fan is a perfect solution, as it pumps the hot air out of the attic during the day. In the winter it will prevent ice dams from damaging your roof.
8. Find & Seal Leaks – Blower Door Test
Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks and adding insulation will save about 20% on home heating and cooling costs. It will also save on electrical costs by keeping the furnace blower fan off more. Blowing in a few more inches of insulation in the attic and putting switch plate and receptacle gaskets between the plate and the switch/plug, on outside walls, will substantially decrease the amount of energy needed to warm your home. You can have a company test for leaks by performing a blower door test. Or you can perform one yourself by following these steps:
- Close all windows and outside doors.
- Turn on your dryer and bathroom exhaust fans. This will create a negative air pressure balance between the outside and inside and will cause air to be sucked in from areas that need sealing.
- Light an incense stick and slowly walk it by your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. This will help you locate any air leaks that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.
- Any leaks should then be sealed appropriately.
9. Clothes Dryer
Clean out your dryer vent and vent pipe at least once a year. That allows air to flow freely, keeps your dryer from working harder, extends the life of your dryer and prevents fire hazards. In the winter, if you have an electric clothes dryer, consider installing an indoor vent kit. This will pump the warm air back into your living space, as well as add humidity to the air.
10. Load Up Your Washers
Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use. Use the light cycle when possible, which uses much less energy extends the life of your appliances. When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
11. Programmable Thermostat
Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat. It can save over $150 a year and pays for itself in less than 12 months. Make sure to install it away from natural cool and hot spots.
12. Seal Your Ducts
Having your heating and cooling ducts sealed will save about $190 per year.
Refrigerators are energy hogs. Keeping the condenser coil clean by vacuuming it as needed. This will save hundreds of dollars in wasted energy and extend the life of the appliance. If you have multiple refrigerators, see if you can consolidate the items and eliminate one. This will save you at least a hundred dollars a year. If extra fridges are used seasonally i.e., the summer beer fridge in the garage, unplug it in the off season. Keep your fridge and freezer full. Consider filling empty space in your fridge or freezer with jugs of water. Water is excellent at holding the cold and will displace air allowing for more savings. In the winter, you can put the jug outside to freeze and exchange it for the unfrozen one in your fridge. This will extend the life of your refrigerator while substantially reducing the electricity these energy hogs use.
14. Coffee Maker
Buy a coffee maker that has an insulated pot. You can brew the coffee and then turn it off, keeping it warm for hours. This will save about 500kWh annually.
Use these suggestions to save energy in your home!
Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served the lower peninsula of Michigan since 2007. We have installed thousands of panels and have a happy customer near you, check out what our customers think of us on Guild Quality.