Every time you see a reduction in your utility bills, it is a chance for you to put more money back into your account. Moreover, lower energy bills also indicate less electricity consumption, which means fewer emissions are released into the environment.
Florida homeowners can save money and help minimize their carbon emissions. Here is a list of 10 easy ways to save money and energy in your home to get you started.
Reasons for Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient
Significant reductions in cooling, heating, and electricity costs can be easily accomplished via a few simple changes, most of which homeowners can do on their own.
Obviously, homeowners who wish to take advantage of the most advanced systems in home energy efficiency can always seek help from energy auditors at KNH Inspections. The latter can perform comprehensive tests to discover the best energy solutions for your home.
All those lightbulbs and home appliances might seem insignificant at this stage, but they eventually add up. What’s even better is that you will end up saving a lot of money on your electricity bills.
If you still need convincing, here are some valid reasons why you should consider making your home more energy-efficient.
- It saves a great deal of money since it costs relatively less to power energy-efficient homes.
- The state, federal, local, and utility jurisdictions’ financial incentives, like tax breaks, are incredibly beneficial for homeowners in several parts of the United States.
- It adds to the comfort level indoors.
- It helps minimize pollution. Conventional power production produces pollutants that make their way into the water, soil, and air supplies.
- It minimizes our impact on climate change. Most scientists favor becoming more energy-efficient as they believe excessive energy consumption significantly contributes to global warming.
With this, here are ten easy ways to save a significant amount of money and energy in your home and protect the environment from further harm.
1. Discover better ways to cool and heat your house
Almost half of the energy (or more) we use in our home goes towards cooling and heating. Cut down on your energy bills by adjusting your cooling and heating systems such as:
- Replace the air filters in your heaters and air-conditioners periodically.
- Install ceiling fans in every room. As opposed to air-conditioners, ceiling fans consume a lot less energy, so use them more often in place of air-conditioners.
- Install a programmable thermostat. This saves a significant amount of money by allowing the cooling and heating appliances to shut down automatically at night or when nobody is at home. A programmable thermostat contains no mercury and can even save up to $150 annually in energy costs in some climate zones.
- Set the thermostat to a suitable temperature. More specifically, you should always turn down the thermostat at night or when nobody is home. For instance, decreasing the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F can help you save about 10% on heating costs.
- Draw the curtains over the windows at night for better insulation.
- Install a pellet or wood stove in your home. They are relatively more efficient sources of heat compared to furnaces.
2. Replace incandescent lights
An average household devotes almost 11% of its energy budget to lighting. The traditional incandescent lights we are so used to seeing in our homes convert roughly 10% of the energy into light. The rest becomes heat.
On the other hand, the newest and latest lighting technologies, such as LED (light-emitting diodes) lights and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), can minimize the energy use required by lighting by 50-75%. Here are some enlightening facts about LEDs and CFLs:
- LEDs don’t have moving parts, and unlike CFLs, they have no mercury.
- LEDs consume less energy and last significantly longer than CFLs.
- CFLs use almost 75% less energy and last 10x longer than conventional incandescent light bulbs.
3. Install a tankless water heater
The instantaneous or tankless water heaters are in high demand as they only provide you hot water supply as needed. Unlike traditional storage water heaters, they do not produce standby energy losses, making them an excellent option for saving energy costs.
Tankless water heaters directly heat water without using a storage tank. Cold water travels via a pipe into the unit when the hot water tap is on. An electric component or gas burner heats up the water. Consequently, tankless water heaters provide a constant supply of hot water.
4. Install efficient and resourceful toilets and shower heads.
One of the best ways to save up on money and energy costs is to conserve water usage in your homes by installing one or more of the following systems:
- Low-flow toilets
Toilets are responsible for consuming roughly 30-40% of the total water supply in our homes, making them the most significant sources of water consumption and wastage. But, if you replace an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a contemporary, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet, you can significantly minimize the water usage by an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF). Doing this can save up to 12,000 gallons of water every year!
- Dual-flush toilets
For many years, dual-flush toilets have been in use in Australia and Europe. However, they’ve recently gained recognition in several parts of the United States. In a dual-flush toilet, you can choose amidst a 1-gallon flush for liquid waste and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. A 1.6-GPF dual-flush toilet is an excellent option and reduces water consumption by an extra 30%.
- Vacuum-assist toilets
This toilet comes with a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck the air from the tap underneath the bowl. This enables it to quickly fill with water and clear the waste.
- Low-flow shower heads
These are available in many flow rates, and a few of them are equipped with a pause button to turn off the water supply while you lather up with soap.
5. Use electronics and appliances responsibly
Electronics and appliances are accountable for almost 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S house. These essential tips can help in minimizing the required energy of household appliances and electronics:
- Freezers and refrigerators must not be situated near the dishwater, stove, or heat vents. In addition, they shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight either. Exposure of such electronics to warm areas will force them to consume more energy to stay cool and maintain the optimum temperature of the things stored inside.
- You should shut off the laptop or computer when it is not in use. If you must leave on an unattended computer, make sure the monitor is shut off. As per some studies, computers, and laptops account for almost 3% of the household energy consumption in the U.S.
- Start using efficient ENERGY STAR-rated electronics and appliances. As sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Program, these devices include DVD players, home-theatre systems, TVs, speakers, receivers, CD players, etc. As per the EPA, if just 10% of households switch to using energy-efficient appliances, it will decrease carbon emissions next to an equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.
- Chargers for cell phones and laptops consume a lot of energy when they are plugged in. Hence, they should be unplugged when they’re not connected to electronics.
- A laptop consumes significantly less electricity compared to a desktop computer.
6. Seal and insulate your home
Sealing and insulation of the house are incredibly cost-effective ways of creating a more energy-efficient and comfortable home. A tightly sealed home enhances the indoor air quality and adds to your comfort while drastically minimizing the utility bills.
Energy auditors from KNH Inspections can examine signs of leakage in the building envelope and suggest easy fixes that will significantly increase your energy and money savings and bring you the comfort you need. Leakages most commonly tend to occur in:
- Mail slots
- Electrical outlets/receptacles
- Attic hatches
- Around wires and pipes
- Window or wall-mounted ACs
- Inadequate weather-strips around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Switch plates
- Window frames
Air leaks most likely tend to occur in the attics of your home, primarily because the hot air rises. As a result, homeowners can conduct an array of maintenance and repairs in their attics that can save heaps of money on heating and cooling, such as:
Seal the small holes
This can quickly be done by identifying areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation usually results from the dusty indoor air being filtered by insulation before leaking through the tiny holes in the building envelope.
In cold weather conditions, you might notice frosty insulation areas, generally caused by moist and warm air condensing and freezing as it meets the cold attic air. You might find water stains in warm or hot weather conditions in these areas.
Use caulk or expanding foam to seal these tiny openings, especially electrical wires and plumbing vent pipes. Cover the areas well with insulation once the caulk is dry.
Plug the large holes
Leakages are most likely to be the greatest in the attic areas where the walls meet the attic floor, in dropped-ceiling areas, and behind and under the attic knee walls.
Seal the attic access panel with weather-stripping
Another great idea is to cut a small piece of fiberglass or foam board insulation, preferably in the attic hatch’s size, and use a strong adhesive to glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have an attic door or pull-down attic stairs, you can also seal them in the same manner.
7. Insulate doors and windows
Almost one-third of the heat in your home is lost through doors and windows. Here are some ways you can minimize the loss of energy through doors and windows:
- The simplest and cheapest option is to seal all the cracks and window edges with rope caulk.
- You can have the windows weather-stripped with a special lining that’s inserted between the frame and the window. For the doors, apply weather-stripping around the entire perimeter to ensure a firm seal when they are closed. You can also install high-quality door sweeps at the door’s bottom.
- If existing windows have cracked glass, damaged or rotted wood, locks that don’t work, poorly fitting sashes, or missing putty, you should get them repaired or replaced.
- Install storm windows at single-paned windows. You can also install removable glass frames over the existing windows.
8. Install daylights as an alternative to electrical lighting
Daylighting is an excellent practice that entails using natural lights to light up the interior of your home. Here are some fantastic approaches to daylighting:
- Light shelves
These are passive devices designed to bounce the light deep into the building, and they might be exterior or interior. Light shelves can light up a space up to 2.5 times the distance from the floor to the window’ top, whereas advanced light shelves can add light 4 times that amount.
We recommend “out with the old and in with the new” skylight options! More natural light, improved energy efficiency, and even fresh air ventilation to further minimize heating, cooling, and lighting costs. You must ensure the skylights are double-paned, or they might need to be more cost-effective.
- Clerestory windows
They are short and expansive windows that are set high on the wall. Protected from the scorching summer sun by the overhanging roof, they enable the winter sun to shine bright through for warmth and natural lighting.
- Light tubes
They use a unique lens explicitly designed to intensify the low-level light and minimize light intensity from the afternoon sun. The sunlight is channeled via a tube coated with a reflective material. It then enters your home living space via a diffuser, evenly distributing light.
9. Engage in smart cooking
A massive amount of energy is lost while cooking. Here are some statistics, along with excellent recommendations that illustrate less inefficient ways of cooking.
- A microwave oven uses 80% less energy than a conventional oven.
- A convection oven is way more efficient than a conventional one. It uses a fan to force the heat and hot air to evenly circulate, thus cooking food at unbelievably low temperatures. Moreover, a convection oven uses 20% less electricity than a conventional oven.
- Place the pans on the flame or heating element of the matching size.
- A pressure cooker drastically reduces cooking time.
- A lid on your pan or pot tends to heat the food more quickly than cooking it in an uncovered pan or pot.
- Place food on the top rack when you use a conventional oven. The top rack is generally hotter and allows the food to cook faster.
10. Change the way you do laundry
To conserve as much electricity as possible, pool the entire household’s laundry together and do full loads all together to minimize the number of times you use the washer every week. Also, you should treat warm-water washing as optional for events when you really need it.
Not heating the water each time you prep for washing the clothes is an excellent way of saving energy. Use these helpful tips to do your laundry more efficiently:
- Where possible, air-dry your clothes on racks or clothing lines.
- Don’t use the medium setting on your washing machine until you have a full load of clothes. This saves almost half of the water and energy used for an entire load of clothes.
- Clean the lint trap every time before using the dryer. Excess lint can lead to a fire hazard and extend the amount of time needed for the clothes to dry.
- Do not use high-temperature settings when the clothes aren’t very dirty.
- Always wring or spin-dry the clothes before throwing them in the dryer.
Great Habits Make a Difference!
Florida homeowners who take the initiative to implement these changes typically discover that their energy and money savings are significantly more than worth their efforts. Our home inspectors at KNH Inspections can further simplify this process by conducting more thorough examinations of energy and money-saving potential than the average homeowner can.