Of course you want to make your home more energy-efficient, but the question is, “Where do I start?” Well, the answer is, “Anywhere!” While there isn’t one major energy-saving solution that will reduce all of your bills at once, a bunch of small and large improvements can work together to lower your utility costs over time.
10 IDEAS FOR A MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME
Here are 10 ways that you can start reducing your water and energy bills this year to achieve some significant savings.
Update your window treatments.
While basic window blinds can help block out unwanted light, you’ll notice a much bigger temperature difference by upgrading to energy-efficient window treatments. Swap out your blinds for thermal curtains, Roman shades, or insulated cellular shades to keep heat in during winter and keep it out during summer.
Install light switches with timers.
Are some members of your household a little forgetful when it comes to turning off the lights? Have an electrician convert your light switches with a timer to prevent the lights from staying on too long. You can also upgrade to smart light switches, which can be programmed to turn on and off remotely or on a schedule.
Get those HVAC maintenance appointments on the calendar.
Did you know that heating and air conditioning accounts more than half of the average household’s energy use? Annual preventative maintenance not only helps your HVAC system run more efficiently, but it can help it last longer and prevent costly breakdowns.
Swap your incandescent light bulbs out for LEDs.
Ever wonder why incandescent light bulbs feel so hot to the touch? That heat is wasted energy! Reduce your lighting costs by swapping out those old bulbs with Energy Star-labeled LEDs. Energy Star-labeled LEDs not only last 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting, but their light quality and energy-efficiency is also superior to other LEDs.
Instead of handwashing dishes, run your dishwasher.
Even though it seems counterintuitive, handwashing dishes actually uses more energy and water than running your dishes through a relatively new dishwasher (and it doesn’t even need to be an Energy Star-labeled model). If your dishwasher is Energy Star certified, relying on it to clean your dishes over handwashing can save you more than $40 a year!
Upgrade to WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures.
WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures must meet the EPA’s criteria for water conservation and quality. If you buy a WaterSense labeled product, you know that it will save energy, use at least 20% less water, and perform as well as or better than regular models. If you don’t trust your DIY skills when it comes to replacing your faucets, showerheads, and toilets, enlist the help of a trusted plumber.
Set reminders on your phone or calendar to change your air filter periodically.
Your HVAC system can’t “breathe” when the air filter becomes clogged with dust and debris. In turn, you’ll have a less efficient system that’s bound to overheat and break down. Supplying your system with a clean filter regularly will help keep your energy costs low and prevent unnecessary wear and tear on the equipment.
Use the cold water cycle on your washing machine more often.
Just because the label says “wash in warm water” doesn’t mean you necessarily need to. In fact, using cold water not only reduces your energy costs, but it can help your clothes last longer and retain their original colors. Just a note: experts still recommend washing most bedding in warm or hot water to get rid of allergy-triggering dust mites.
Add aerators to all of your sink faucets.
With all the handwashing we need to do to stay healthy, it can pay off in the long run to conserve water each time you turn on the faucet! Aerators inject air into the water that comes out. Not only does this help you save water, but you’ll still be able to experience satisfying water pressure thanks to the air in the water stream.
Switch from a tank water heater to a tankless model.
If your tank water heater is just about ready to retire, consider a tankless replacement. Because tankless water heaters only use energy to heat water exactly at the time you need hot water, they can give you considerable water and energy savings. The Dept. of Energy reports that tankless water heaters can be 24% to 34% more efficient for homes using 41 gallons of water or less daily!
1st Home & Commercial Services is there for your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical needs in Austin! Schedule your appointment by calling us at (512) 957-2992 or contact us online.