energy efficient

In 2015, energy expenditures across the board sat at the lowest numbers we’d seen in a decade including a 20 percent decrease from 2014 alone.

We’re already doing the work to cut energy costs at home and in other areas, but you can always do more.

Creating an energy efficient home should be a top priority for all homeowners because it not only saves you money on bills each month, but it keeps energy use low across the board, which is better for our planet.

Home energy efficiency doesn’t need to be complicated. It can mean much-needed overhauls or even simple habit changes.

Ready to learn more? Here are seven ways to make your home more energy efficient.

1. Stagger Your Thermostat

Out of all your energy uses, your HVAC system eats up the bulk of your energy costs.

The typical homeowner spends 48 percent of their energy on heating and cooling it.

Now, if you’re like most people, you leave your house for a good portion of the day. Your home doesn’t need to be balmy if you won’t be back for eight hours. You waste the amount of energy spent on regulating the temperature in your house because you aren’t around to notice it.

Set up your timer to lower your thermostat by ten to fifteen degrees between 9 and 5, which are also the warmest parts of the day to save five to fifteen percent off your energy bills each year.

Even dropping the thermostat by three to five degrees lowers your energy usage – and your monthly bills.

2. Switch Out Your Water Fixtures

We waste more energy in the bathroom and kitchen than almost anywhere else. Why? Not necessarily because of how much water we use but because of the amount of hot water used.

Ninety-percent of your energy costs isn’t from running your tap but from the power required to heat up the water before you use it.

Switching out your shower heads and taps is an excellent way to save money without sacrificing your hot shower. An inefficient shower head wastes hot water, which accounts for the second biggest energy expense.

Choose a low-flow fixture to help regulate your showers or home dishes. The federal government sets standards on these appliances that means they cannot let more than 2.5 gallons per minute flow from the tap.

An investment of $10 to $20 could save you 25 to 60 percent on your next water bill.

3. Upgrade Your Insulation

Was your insulation checked for the last time when your home was built? If so, you may benefit from adding or replacing insulation in your home.

The stuff between your walls resists the transfer of heat from the outside in and vice versa. A well-insulated home keeps your house more comfortable during extreme temperatures.

When hot air fights its way out of your house or fights its way in, your HVAC system works harder to maintain the thermostat temperature.

Insulation updates don’t need to be expensive. It’s possible to add insulation to existing walls without knocking out your drywall. Insulating an empty attic is also less costly than doing up your house and can save you $600 a year in heating and cooling costs.

4. Stop Using Space Heaters

Space heaters are an energy efficient home’s worst enemy. Not only are they dangerous when left unattended, but they eat up an excessive amount of energy to heat only a small area.

Before pulling out your space heater, see what other options you have. Wearing the right kind of clothes indoors prevents heat loss from your skin. For example, thermal underwear keeps your warmer for longer than a space header does. You can even turn your thermostat down because the right clothes make your body more energy efficiently.

Household maintenance also helps keep warm air inside where it belongs. Blocking drafts reduces both heat loss and air movement, and both help create a warmer environment.

When in doubt, keep moving. Bake a dessert, clean a long-neglected room, and just keep yourself moving to get warm without the fire hazard.

5. Get Your HVAC System Inspected

When was the last time your HVAC system benefitted from a tune-up?

Regular maintenance prevents little problems from becoming more significant issues that run up your energy usage.

Most HVAC service and repair companies offer a yearly maintenance plan that includes a maintenance visit or even some minor repair costs. Stop energy loss before it starts, and save yourself money by adding years to the life of your heating and cooling system.

6. Stick to Energy Star Products

Buying a new appliance? Make it an Energy Star-certified appliance.

Energy Star appliances meet government standards for making the most of energy use while also doing their jobs. You’ll get quality, performance, and energy savings all in one package.

Learn more about what Energy Start certification means and start your search for your next appliance by visiting EnergyStar.gov.

7. Air Dry Your Clothes

Do you rely on a tumble dryer to get your laundry done? Consider line or rack-drying your clothes.

According to the EPA, clothes dryers suck up more energy than any other appliance. Fluffy towels come with the costs of carbon pollution – and there’s another way.

Save your tumble dryer only for clothes that you need to dry ASAP. If you want the fluff that comes with tumble dryers, give them a quick five-minute boost after they’re dry.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Without Trying

An energy efficient home doesn’t mean rebuilding from the ground up. Everything from simple habits to the right appliances helps you use energy only when you need it without sacrificing comfort.

Ready for more ways to become energy efficient? Click here for more eco-friendly tips for your home.

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