Taking steps to make your home energy-efficient is not just a great way to help the environment, but it can also keep more money in your pocket. Fortunately, making your home more energy-efficient is easier than you might think. In fact, here are five simple steps you can take to save both energy and money.
Step #1: Replace Light Bulbs
According to the Department of Energy, 5 to 10 percent of a household’s typical energy cost is spent on lighting. Unfortunately, incandescent lights are very inefficient, with only about 5 percent of their energy consumption being converted to light. LEDs, on the other hand, are 85 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Therefore, switching out your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs can potentially help you save $100 per year.
Step #2: Install an Automatic Thermostat
Turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting while you are away from home can help cut your heating and cooling costs by as much as 10 percent per year. Installing an automatic thermostat will help to ensure your heating and air are automatically adjusted during the hours when you typically are not home.
Step #3: Keep Windows Shut Properly and Sealed
When using your heating and air system, don’t unnecessarily waste energy by keeping windows open. Oftentimes, homeowners have their windows cracked open for things such as Christmas light cords, but this wastes a significant amount of energy while making it more difficult for your heating system to keep up. Similarly, if you are using a window unit to keep your house cool, check to be sure the accordion wings around the system fit properly. Adding weather stripping to your doors and windows will further help to ensure you are not inadvertently heating and cooling the outdoors.
Step #4: Air Seal the Attic and Basement
Air sealing and insulating the attic and basement will go a long way toward making your home more energy-efficient. The attic and the basement are the parts of the home that are the most likely to have holes cut into the building in order to allow for pipes and wires to enter the home. In addition, the basement is where the main frame of the house comes into contact with a stone or concrete foundation, thereby creating more potential for air leaks. Increasing the amount of insulation in these spaces and improving air seals can go a long way toward addressing these issues.
Step #5: Unplug Devices
Unplugging electronic devices that are not in use will help to reduce your overall energy consumption. Even when they are not in use, televisions, stereos, game consoles, laptops and other electronic devices still continue to use energy while they are plugged in. Even your cell phone will continue to pull power after it is fully charged if you leave it plugged in. You can easily turn your electronics on and off by plugging them all into power strips and then turning off the strip when the devices are not in use.