This post is provided by Melissa Frank.
Utility costs only seem to rise year after year, and the need to conserve energy has never been more pressing. If you are tired of the shock and awe that comes every time you open your electricity bill, consider employing these strategies to decrease your energy usage while keeping your home safe and comfortable for your family.
Sealant Is Your Best Friend
Any crack or gap in walls or doors can let cold air flow in and warm air flow out during the winter, and vice versa during the summer. Maintaining the temperature in your home means sealing up any of these cracks, and this project can be done on a budget and a time crunch. As you begin to search for cracks and air leaks, check out the following spots in your home:
⦁ Rooms with dropped ceilings
⦁ Furnace flues
⦁ Doors and window frames
⦁ Areas for plumbing access
⦁ Recessed light features
Once you have spotted an air leak, caulk, weather strip, and seal it up to make sure heat and cool air no longer escape or enter. This weekend task can make you save a bundle on your electric bill, and keep your house the perfect temperature without energy waste.
Wash Your Laundry with Cold Water
If you often wash your towels and clothes with hot water, you are not alone; over 60 percent of Americans wash their clothes in warm water. However, with this practice you could be greatly increasing the amount spent on electricity each month. Many believe that washing with hot water is the only way to get laundry truly clean, but that is not actually the case. While heat can help expedite chemical reactions, you can get the same amount of clean from one cold load so long as you use the right detergents. Powder detergents generally do better with warm water, but liquid soap can work just fine with cold water washes.
Just how much of a difference could washing your clothes make? Consider that around 75% of energy used in a load of laundry is dedicated to heating the water. With cold water, you decrease these costs. It is also important to consider the effect of water temperature on your clothes. Heat can more quickly break down the dyes in your clothes and result in shrinkage. Washing your clothing in cold water can prevent this shrinkage and retain their true color. Another good tip when it comes to laundry? Line dry your clothing. A one-time investment in a cheap clothesline is going to be far less than the operating costs of running your dryer with every load.
Consider Dimmer Switches
What house could not do with a little bit of mood lighting? Dimmer switches can help you set the perfect atmosphere whether you are having a date night at home or hosting a large dinner party. Dimmer switches might also be the key to saving energy in your home. With dimmer switches installed, you have the ability to use only as much light as needed for the moment. This can significantly cut down on energy costs, and provide extra aesthetic value to every room in your home.
Upgrade Your HVAC System
If your HVAC system is due for an upgrade, now is the time. Modern systems are energy efficient and designed to keep your home the right temperature without costing a fortune. While it can be a costly expense, there are companies that can help you finance heating and cooling upgrades, and while the investment might cost a bit more than these other tips, it is bound to keep your more comfortable and save you plenty down the road.
If you are paying more than you should be in energy bills, this upgrade is a lifesaver. Whether you purchase furnaces or split systems, you will find the investment is often more than worth the savings you will find on your next energy bill- and all the bills that follow.
If you are looking for ways to cut down on energy usage and pay less on your electric bill each month, employ these tips and tricks and keep your family happy and comfortable-without blowing your budget.