Not every tip will be relevant for you… like for me #3 & 4 is not possible since I rent an apartment. But #7 is followed in my house, much to my annoyance 🙂 when you leave the room for 5 minutes and come back to blackness. Every little step makes an impact, really it does. Those small steps add up fast.
1. Keep your furnace running efficiently.
Your furnace is the most expensive appliance in your house to run. In fact household heating accounts for 60% of all energy used in the average home. Make sure it is operating as efficiently as possible by replacing its filter every two months. A great option is to purchase one of the reusable filters that can be washed on a regular basis. You’ll pay more for them but they last for years so in the end they cost less than disposable filters. The few minutes it will take you to properly care for your furnace can increase its energy efficiently by as much as 50 per cent.
2. Install a programmable thermostat.
Heating and cooling your house when no one is home – or when everyone is in bed – uses an unnecessary amount of energy. This is bad for the environment and bad for your checkbook! Instead of wasting that energy, buy a programmable thermostat and set the temperature to be several degrees cooler (or warmer in the summer) during the night and when the house is empty. You can easily have it back to the temperature you like by the time you wake up or arrive home.
3. Wrap your hot water heater in a blanket.
Every hardware store sells fiberglass blankets that you can wrap around your hot water tank to help it hold in heat. They are easily installed (you can do it yourself) and usually pay for themselves in the first year of use.
4. Opt for a tankless hot water solution.
If your hot water tank is getting old and you’re considering replacing it, choose one of the new tankless hot water options. They heat water as you need it instead of keeping an entire tank heated and ready to go at all times. As a result they use significantly less energy, which is better for the environment. And an added bonus is that you can expect to save about 50% on your hot water heating costs.
5. Keep your house cool naturally.
Closing the blinds and curtains and using ceiling fans can dramatically decrease the temperature of your home during the heat of the summer. If you must use air conditioning, keep it at 75F and reserve its use only for the hottest days. A programmable thermostat is a great option to raise the temperature during the night and when no one is home.
6. Replace your incandescent light bulbs.
Although they cost more upfront, the compact fluorescent light bulbs will save you a lot of money in the long run. They use 75% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer! That means you pay significantly less for electricity and are not throwing nearly as many light bulbs into the landfill. If you were to change only five of the light bulbs that you use the most often to compact fluorescent bulbs you could save more than $30 per year.
7. Turn off the lights.
A lot of people are guilty of leaving lights on all over the house. But remember that every little bit of electricity you can save counts! Make it a policy in your home to always turn the lights off when you leave a room. Same making sure that the television, stereo and computer are off when not in use. For outdoor lights, consider a timer or use motion detectors instead of always leaving outside lights on.
8. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are operating efficiently.
Refrigerators that are more than 10 years old use approximately 60% more electricity than new models. To make sure you are not using more energy than needed, keep the temperature of the fridge at 37F and the freezer at 0F. This will keep your food at the perfect temperature without using excess electricity. Another great tip is to clean the condenser once or twice a year so that the motor does not have to run as long or as often.
9. Use your microwave.
Not all foods are great when cooked in the microwave, but there are lots of times you can use it over your conventional oven. Since your microwave uses 75% less energy than your oven, it’s worth it to find new ways to use it when cooking!
10. Unplug electronics when they are not in use.
Did you know that your television, DVD player, computer and kitchen appliances all use some electricity even when they are not turned on? Avoid wasting this electricity by unplugging them if you won’t be using them for a day or longer. And remember to unplug them before you leave home for vacations.
11. Use countertop appliances instead of their stovetop equivalent.
When you are steaming vegetables or boiling water in the kettle, opt for countertop appliances instead of using your stove. They use significantly less electricity and get the job done faster.
12. Only run a full load in the dishwasher.
Before running a cycle through your dishwasher, make sure it is full. You’ll use less electricity and less water – and an added bonus is that your dishes will come out cleaner! And always be sure to let your dishes air dry or use the cool dry option rather than using the heat dry setting. This alone will cut the amount of energy used for each load by 15% – 50%!
13. Change to digital dimmer switches.
Although having dimmers on your lights is a great way to save energy, some of the older styles are no more efficient than regular switches. If you have a dial dimmer, check to see if the switch itself feels warm. If it does, you are not saving any energy by using it. Consider replacing it with one of the new digital dimmers to increase the amount of energy saved.
14. Insulate your hot water pipes.
Insulate the first meter of pipe leading into and out of your hot-water tank as well as any metal hot-water pipes running through unheated spaces in your home. This quick and easy project will reduce the amount of electricity you use and save you some money.
15. Keep your refrigerator and freezer well stocked.
A half empty fridge or freezer uses significantly more energy than a full one. If you don’t have anything else to add, fill up bottles of water and put them where needed to keep things full.
16. Work on weatherizing your home.
If your house is drafty you are literally throwing money out the window. Spend a bit of time sealing up doors and windows to cut down on heat loss. Also be sure to check that you have enough insulation. In older homes the attic in particular can benefit from increased insulation. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it’s well worth it to hire a professional to do an energy audit.
17. Stop losing heat.
There are several places in your home where you are losing heat and may not even realize it. One that most people overlook is the electrical outlets. In particular in older houses where there is not much insulation in the walls. Stop this heat loss by putting in those little plastic child proofing plugs.
18. Turn down the temperature of your hot water heater.
Most houses have the hot water heater set much hotter than it needs to be. As a result you end up having to mix a lot of cold water in to get it to a temperature that is useable. Make sure your hot water heater is set to no higher than 140F. That is hot enough to kill germs but not so hot that it is a huge waste of energy.
19. Investigate grants that will help you improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Changing the way we live is becoming so important that in many parts of the world the government and energy companies are helping homeowners by paying – or at least subsidizing – energy saving measures. Find programs in your area by searching the web, calling your energy supplier or asking your local officials.
20. Request a home energy audit.
A lot of utility companies now offer free energy audits to their customers. Check with yours to see what is available. You may be surprised at what you learn about how you are wasting energy.