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How a energy-efficient home lowers electric bills and helps the planet

energy efficient home

There are numerous good reasons to limit energy usage in our homes. Starting at the household level is an easy way to ensure a robust Earth for your children and grandchildren. And, of course, there’s another bonus beyond sustainability when you have an energy-efficient home — smaller energy bills!

There are some well-known ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption, such as switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs, using a programmable thermostat, ensuring your home is properly insulated, and purchasing high-efficiency appliances with energy star ratings. But there are also some tricks that you may not have thought of! 

Here are some surprising (and easy!) ways to save energy in your home: 

In the Kitchen

  1. Bake several meals at a time! Heating your oven is what uses the most energy. If you keep your oven hot and bake several meals at a time, you will eliminate that drain. And as a bonus, you can put some meals in the freezer to save you from cooking on an extra busy night. 
  2. Use the correct ring size for your pot or pan when cooking on your stovetop, not one that is larger than necessary. 
  3. Place lids on pots and pans when you cook on your stove. This allows for more efficient cooking and therefore can reduce energy consumption by up to 14%.
  4. Consider using your slow cooker or pressure cooker more often. A slow cooker is 75% more efficient than an oven, and pressure cooking can reduce your energy usage by 70%. 
  5. Store gallon jugs full of water in your refrigerator when it isn’t full. This will keep cool air from rushing out, replaced by warm air when you open the door.  It also helps maintain a steady temperature and gives you potable water if you have a boil water alert!. 
  6. Vacuum the condenser coil on the refrigerator.  A quick YouTube video will show you how.  It is very easy and will substantially reduce the energy needed to run your refrigerator and extend the life of your refrigerator.

In the Laundry Room

  1. Hang your clothes on a drying rack or clothesline before putting them in the dryer. The shorter the drying time, the less energy used. Especially in the winter months.  You are pumping hundreds of cubic feet of hot moist air outside creating a negative air pressure sucking air through every nook and cranny.  This cold dry air then needs to be conditioned.  Hanging clothes up will add moisture, reduce drafts and decrease the amount your furnace has to run.
  2. Add a clean, dry towel to your dryer with your wet laundry to soak up moisture.
  3. Wash your clothes in cooler water. Ninety percent of the energy used to wash your clothes is for heating the water. Coldwater cleans your clothes and linens just as effectively when you use a high-efficiency washer and detergent formulated for cold water.
  4. Make sure your dryer vent is clean and clean the vent pipe at least once a year. Many dryer vents are almost choked off with lint build-up.  Doing this is free, will decrease the energy needed, and extend the life of your dryer.

In Other Areas of Your Home

  1. Install indoor motion sensors inside your home in areas such as the garage, hallways, or bathrooms.
  2. Install motion sensors on your outside security lights. This will reduce their usage by 95+% as compared to running them from dusk to dawn.  It will also increase safety; I.E. when someone approaches the light will come on causing the occupants to wonder why the light came on and scaring off intruders.
  3. Redesign rooms to maximize sun exposure in the winter and minimize it in the summer by rearranging furniture such as couches, chairs, or beds.
  4. Ban phone and computer screens for one night a week. A no-screen night can reduce energy consumption and encourage interaction between family members. Have a board game night, or pick up a book you’ve been meaning to finish.
  5. Wrap your hot water tank with a water heater blanket. This can reduce residual heat loss by up to 40%. Also, insulate the water pipes coming out of it.  These pipes can act as a boiler warming the air around it causing heat loss and putting additional load on your air-conditioner.  This will also decrease the amount of time your faucet has to run to get warm water.
  6. Set a two-song shower time to ensure you don’t spend more time in the shower than you need to.

And lastly — but not surprisingly — installing solar panels on your home or business can save you money and reduce energy consumption. The average 6 KWh solar panel system installed anywhere in the country can save you about $1,500 per year on electricity bills.

Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electricity contractor serving Michigan’s lower peninsula. We have been working to help create healthier, more energy-efficient, and earth-friendly living spaces since 2007. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out if solar is right for you! 

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