With the rising cost of energy, every family is looking for ways to cut energy consumption and save money. The 10th of January is National Cut Your Energy Cost Day, and we want to help you reduce energy consumption.
While some solutions save money after an initial capital outlay, here are eight daily habits that can reduce your energy bill year-round and cost little or nothing.
Take Advantage of Free Energy. The massive amount of energy radiating from the sun has a profound effect on both your heating and cooling bills. There are several steps you can take to use solar energy to lower bills.
Determine the orientation of your home in comparison to the movement of the sun; the sun will move from east to west on the south face of your home.
In the winter, open curtains and blinds on the south side of the house during the day to let the sunshine in. Make sure to close the curtains during the evening, since glass is a poor insulator.
In the summer, close the curtains and blinds during the day to reduce solar gain; open them during the evening to enjoy the summer sunsets.
Align Indoor Temperature with Outdoor Temperature. During the spring and fall, there will be days that are pleasant enough to open windows and enjoy the fresh air. Try these steps to maximize energy savings.
Be mindful of seasonal allergens and keep the windows closed if family members suffer from allergies or asthma.
Be mindful of high humidity. If the temperature is perfect but the humidity is high, it will not make your home comfortable.
On those perfect days, enjoy. Determine the comfort level of your family by determining how cold is too cold and how hot is too hot. If 780F is comfortable in the spring and fall, will it be comfortable all summer? Find your family’s comfort zone.
Weatherizing Helps Any Season. Eighty percent of energy loss happens through the ceiling and another 15% around windows and doors.
Do a quick check of your attic for sufficient insulation. You should have a uniform blanket of 10” or more; the ceiling joists should be completely covered.
On a windy day, use an incense stick to discover air movement around windows and doors. Use an outdoor weatherizing caulk to seal as many gaps as possible.
Schedule Appliance Use for Energy Savings. Most major appliances generate heat; washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are prime examples. Scheduling appliance use during the evening or while the family sleeps for maximum savings.
During the heating season, this helps heat the house with the energy expenditures you are planning to make.
During the cooling season, the heat is coming during the coolest part of the day.
All year-round, energy usage in off-peak hours (before 7 am and after 6 pm) is less expensive.
Schedule Cooking to Maximize Energy Savings. Baking and stovetop cooking is another energy expenditure that needs to happen daily but creates seasonal habits that contribute to energy savings.
The winter months are great for baking or cooking piping hot soups and stews on the range.
During the spring, summer and fall, plan frequent or regular meals with the main dish(es) grilled or smoked outdoors to avoid the residual heat from the stove/oven.
Check the Water Heater Setting. The factory setting on water heaters is often higher than necessary. There is a delicate balance.
Water must be hot enough; water above 1200F will prevent bacterial growth.
The factory setting of 1400F can cause scalding.
Find a comfortable setting between these settings to meet your family’s needs.
Reduce Standby Energy Use. When you turn the lights off and look around, you will notice little red and green lights scattered around the room. Often, small appliances, such as TVs, computers, and various chargers are using small amounts of energy for no real purpose. Find ways to shut off unnecessary appliances.
Regularly Change Your HVAC Air Filter. Use a calendar, an app, or seasonal prompts to remind you to change your air filter at least every three months. This single habit will make both your furnace and air conditioner run more efficiently and as a benefit will keep your indoor air cleaner.