I am a homeowner and I have been going through the process of making my home as energy efficient as possible. I am not going to discuss appliance removal and replacement to more energy efficient units. I want to start with the least expensive methods that can make a real difference in your energy usage. These five little things are not only effective for homeowners but can be useful for renters as well. By taking these steps you will be making less of an impact on our environment and you will lower your monthly utility bills. The really good news is that very little to no money will need to be spent. Who can argue with that?
1. We will start with checking for those little power vampires. Take a walk around your home and you will be surprised by how many small appliances or electronics are sucking a little power 24 hours a day. Is the coffee maker or microwave plugged in all the time? If it is not in use it does not need to be plugged in. These items draw power all day and it can add up.
2. I call this the walk and caulk. Inspect your home and look for all those little holes that heated or cooled air are escaping and close them up with caulk. Put some new weather-stripping around windows and doors. Money is trickling away.
3. Replace burned out light bulbs with the new energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. They last longer and use less electricity. I did not throw away any working light bulbs but I did replace them with the CFL bulbs when it was time for them to be replaced.
4. A programmable thermostat is another real easy step in saving some green. You could be heating or cooling your home for eight or ten hours a day when there is no one there. Set the thermostat to change the temperature in your home by seven or eight degrees a half hour after you leave every morning and then to start warming or cooling your home a half hour before you arrive home to a comfortable temperature. You will never even notice the change as far as comfort but you will notice when that next utility bill hits the mailbox.
5. The water heater is a major contributor in eating up energy. A couple things can be done here so I wrapped them all up into one step in an effort in being concise. First, lower the water temperature a few degrees. Next, you will want to add insulation to the outgoing pipes so the water loses less heat as it moves along the pipes. A water heater wrap adds insulation so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature consistent.
Most people I know are not in a position to replace old appliances and haul them away but anyone can take these inexpensive steps. Even if you are not concerned with the environment everyone is concerned with having lower utility bills.