Pumpkin spice is in the air, and that means one thing — fall is here! With the changing season comes a change in weather, and there’s no better time to get ready for the cold in front of us than to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Not only is it an effective way to conserve electricity, but it has the added benefit of reducing your monthly energy bills for all of the fall and into the winter.
1. Keep the Thermostat Low
One of the major electricity users in a home is the HVAC system, so it stands to reason that reducing its use is an opportunity to save substantially. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning down the thermostat seven to ten degrees for eight hours every day can reduce your heating costs by as much as 10%! And get yourself a programmable thermostat — it’ll do all the remembering for you.
2. Seal Leaks and Eliminate Drafts
Drafty doors, windows, and other areas make your HVAC system run a lot harder than it has to. Perform a complete, top-to-bottom inspection of your home to identify and fix any air leaks: weatherstrips, rubber seals, gaps in the attic — all of it. Replace what’s worn out and install what’s missing. And, as long as you’re optimizing the HVAC system, replace the filters (and buy a few extras to keep on hand).
3. Add More Insulation
It’s very rare for a home to have too much insulation. In fact, most are probably lacking. If you’re unsure how well your attic is insulated, get up there and check it out. If it’s thin or missing, get a few rolls and lay them down. If the job is too big, or you really want it done the best way possible, consider hiring experts to install expanding foam. Its efficiency is unmatched.
4. Turn Down the Refrigerator
Did you know that most people keep their refrigerator a lot colder than necessary? If you’ve ever found ice chips in the lettuce, that’s a tell-tale sign that you can turn it up a little. Not only will your food stay preserved just fine, but you’ll use less electricity. And considering the refrigerator runs 24/7/365, the savings will add up quickly.
5. Switch to LED Lights
If you have not yet worked LED light bulbs into the rotation at your home, what are you waiting for? The results are clear and irrefutable. LED light bulbs use less electricity than incandescent lights, and they last longer. Replace your bulbs as they burn out and if you install any new lighting, make sure it’s LED.
6. Reduce Your Phantom Energy Use
Have you ever noticed that all the new flatscreen TVs still have a little red “standby” light on, even when they’re turned off? That’s because they never really totally shut off unless they’re unplugged. And that’s how many electronic gadgets operate, still pulling and wasting electricity even when not in use. There’s an easy way to save this phantom or vampire electricity — just get in the habit of unplugging the computers, the washer and dryer, TV, and more when not in use.
7. Illuminate Your Exterior With Solar
If you’re interested in totally making the switch to solar, that’s great! But if it’s not the right investment for you right now, consider at least going halfway and illuminating your exterior with solar-powered lights. They can be hung, stuck in the ground, or whatever you want. They’re naturally wireless, so they’re easy to install, and they’re usually not very expensive. They charge all day for free and then run at night, it’s a win-win!
8. Turn Down the Water Heater
Most people have their water heater turned too high, so turning it down is a quick win to save electricity. And it’s easy to tell; just turn the shower or faucet on the hottest setting. If it’s too hot to touch, you can turn the water heater down, and it won’t even affect your lifestyle. Generally, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is a good spot. And not only will it save energy, but it’s also safer for everyone.
Start With the Best Rate
Conserving electricity is a smart way to cut back on your homeownership costs. When doing that, make sure you’re advantageously positioned on all factors and review your electricity plan. If you’ve put the bill on auto-pay and haven’t compared providers in a while, you might be paying too much every month.