With record high temperatures already this summer, now is a perfect time to look for ways to make your home more energy efficient. Listed below are five of the biggest energy wasters in your home. Follow these quick tips and it will help you save both energy and money.
1. HVAC Systems
Your HVAC system accounts for about 46 percent of your overall electric bill.
Change filters regularly. Furnace and air conditioner filters need to be changed monthly, especially during the summer and winter months when the HVAC unit has a heavy workload.
Install a programmable thermostat. To save even more, you can install a programmable thermostat, letting you regulate your home’s temperature throughout the year.
Seal the cracks and gaps. Seal your heating and cooling ducts, especially those running through the attic, crawlspace, basement or garage. This can improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit by as much as 20 percent!
2. Water Heater
Lower and save. The average household spends $400-$600 per year on water heating. Save money and energy by lowering the heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Insulate. You may want to consider insulating both the pipes six feet from the water heater, and the water heater itself. If your water heater is warm to the touch, it could probably stand to be insulated.
Out with the old and in with the new. Lighting accounts for 12-15 percent of your electric bill. Just simply replace five of your standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to save $70 a year.
Sense the savings. Consider installing motion sensing lights in areas of your house that are less trafficked such as the garage, basement, or front porch. They may also be a good idea if you or members of your family are particularly forgetful about turning off lights around the house.
Clean the refrigerator inside and out. Check the temperature settings on your refrigerator. Ideally, a refrigerator’s temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees for maximum operating efficiency.
Replacing a refrigerator that is 10 to 15 years old may help you save in the long run. ENERGY STAR ® models are energy-efficient and can save you as much as $100 a year.
Pull the plug. If you have an extra refrigerator in your garage or basement that is barely in use, consider unplugging it for significant savings.
5. Energy Vampires
Unplug and save. Energy vampires, also known as phantom loads, consume 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances. Any appliance or device that sucks up energy when it’s plugged in, despite being turned off, is draining your bill. By plugging your television and/or DVD player into a power strip and then turning that off when your television is in stand-by mode you can save energy and money.