October 27th is celebrated as the Energy Star Day.
We talk about saving money around every financial turn, from buying discounted packaged dry goods in bulk to keeping up with the maintenance on our brand new vehicles. Yet, one area of homeowner costs literally and figuratively flies out the window. Most of us do a poor job of reigning in our energy bills.
- Americans spend $130 billion per year on energy that does absolutely nothing but go to waste
- The amount of energy wasted by 75,000 average American homes in one year equals the waste that spewed out of the 2010 BP oil rig disaster
- In 2012, the amount of energy wasted by businesses and homeowners in the United States would have generated enough power in the United Kingdom for seven years
Yet, we are discussing macro effects of energy waste. The dramatic effect on family budgets throughout the United States has wakened up many people. However, not many Americans understand how to reduce energy waste. The answer lies in 15 simple steps that turn your home into an energy efficient machine.
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1. Change out Incandescent Light Bulbs for LED Indoor Lamps
The average American household that uses 47 light bulbs saves more than 80% in energy consumption. Forget the government. Do the right thing and replace incandescent light bulbs with LED indoor lamps. Your accountant will also thank you.
2. Dual Flush Toilets are Better than One
We tend to flush the toilet about as often as we leave the kitchen sink faucet on. Dual flush toilets decreases water usage by using water whenever it's needed. A dual flush toilet has two handles or buttons that flush different water levels to ensure that you only use the water you need. The energy savings translates into more than $100 a year for sewer and water bills.
3. Dimwits Don't Use Light Dimmers
How bright do you really need the lights inside of your home? You don't need a floodlight to read a favorite book or to watch the latest episode of The Blacklist. Light dimmers save more than 90 percent of light energy, which translates into a 10 percent reduction of your total energy bill. You simply set the dimmer to a level that meets your needs and watch the light automatically dim, after a certain period has elapsed. The less light that you use, the longer you enjoy the energy saving benefits of LED bulbs.
4. Automatically Shut Down Desktops and Laptops
How many times do you stop working on a laptop or desktop computer to do something else? Your smartphone rings a text or Federal Express comes knocking at the door. Whatever the case, you waste precious energy by leaving unattended computing devices running at full power. Laptop and desktop computers that include the "auto shut off" feature prevent you from wasting energy, while you tend to other matters. The feature automatically shuts off computer power, whenever the system detects a preset period of inactivity. So use these features by activating them by going to settings (or control panel) in your devices.
5. Strip Down Electronic Device Power
Conventional power strips offer homeowners a convenient way to increase the number of electrical outlets. However, the convenience leads to careless energy usage, as the electronic devices remain plugged in most of time. Many electronic devices, such as plasma televisions and DVD players continue to use power after you turn off the machines. Smart power strips eliminates energy wasting conventional power strips by implementing the same automatic shut off feature found within computers. Once you turn a plasma television off, a smart power strip automatically cuts the power drawn from an electrical outlet. Energy efficiency experts estimate that smart power strips save homeowners more then $100 per year in energy costs.
6. Ceiling Fans Require Less Power
Air conditioners spoil us by producing a steady stream of cooler, drier air. However, far too many homeowners blast the AC from the first hint of spring to the last gasp of autumn. Air conditioners guzzle energy, especially in homes that leak in hot, humid air. Window units might be the most inefficient home appliance of all. The answer to air conditioner energy waste whirls fastidiously above you hear in every room of your home. Ceiling fans push warm air down from the ceiling, which provides a heating benefit during cooler months of the year. Strategically located ceiling fans can reduce HVAC energy waste by more than 10%.
7. When Shower Drips are a Good Thing
We know that a dripping shower wastes water and hence, energy. A shower head that includes a drip features allows you reduce the flow of water, while you lather up with soap. The water reduction feature appears to save little in energy, but every bit counts in the effort to implement home improvement ideas to make it energy efficient.
8. Add a Layer of Heat Loss Protection
Sealing home windows airtight goes a long way toward saving energy. Advanced technology has taken airtight windows one step further by introducing smart blinds. Cellular and honeycomb blinds work in tandem with windows to reduce heat loss by up to 86%. Smart blinds operate on a timer switch that you set at night and an automatic daylight detector for daytime energy savings.
9. Second that Motion
We know about the security benefits of installing outdoor motion sensor based lighting. An added benefit helps you save energy and thus, lower your monthly utility bill. Motion sensor based lights automatically turn on, whenever the sensors detect movement. Many systems don't turn on for smaller animals, which saves you even more energy. Ensto puts the savings on lighting costs around 60%. Motion sensor lighting systems also make it convenient for you to move about the deck, with your hands full.
10. From Dusk to Dawn Energy Savings
After hosting an outdoor bash, we sometimes forget to turn off the outdoor lighting. This act of forgetfulness adds up in higher energy consumption. Dusk to dawn LED light bulbs automatically turn off at a certain time to prevent energy waste. Of course, we have already discovered the energy saving benefits of LED bulbs.
11. Here Comes the Sun
Far too many homeowners avoid solar powered energy systems due to the false belief the systems put a large dent in the family bank account. Although the initial investment runs higher than other types of outdoor lights, the savings accrue after several months in the form of much lower electrical bills. Solar powered outdoor lights can save the typical family more than $30 per year.
12. Change the Air Filters Regularly to Enhance Energy Efficiency
Changing your air filters on a regular basis is another great way to reduce your energy expenses. This is especially true if you spend over $100 on cooling and heating your home. By getting into the habit of doing this, it is possible for you to save almost $50 a year. This amount of savings is enough to pay for the extra filters you will use.
13. Lazy Doesn't Cut It for Saving Energy
Advanced technology has made us, let's say, complacent, when it comes to consuming energy. For example automatically operated lawn irrigation systems turn on from the programming of a preset schedule. However, automatic irrigation systems inefficiently use energy. Save anywhere between $10 to $35 per month on your water bill and save energy at the same time by manually operating your lawn irrigation system.
14. Charging Electronics Wastes Energy
We all use smart phones, tablets and laptops in our homes. And with devices getting smarter more apps are being run resulting into more use of battery. So we usually charge these devices at night. For these devices it's better to use smart charging stations that are either timed or automatically turn off after the device is fully charged. Charging devices are responsible for using almost ten percent of a home's power, and that's quite a drain on both energy and finances. That's why it is important to make sure that you are using the correct kind of energy efficient charging stations, so you can reap the benefits of not consuming quite so much power.
15. Use Smart, Programmable Wifi Thermostats
Smart home automation allows homeowners to have virtual control over everything that consumes energy. Programmable smart thermostats sit at the forefront of the home energy efficiency movement. Smart thermostats automatically adjust to account for the time of day. You program smart home thermostats from your smartphone. Save nearly $200 per year by switching to smart thermostats.
Owning a home requires a lifelong financial commitment that includes finding ways to save money on energy consumption. You don't have to be Stephen Hawking to reap the rewards of implementing home energy saving practices. In fact, most of the measures for saving energy involve little or no financial investment.