The typical household spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. One reason for high energy bills is the increased cost of electricity and fuel. Another reason is the use of inefficient appliances in the home.
Believe it or not, you can save up to 30% on energy costs by equipping your home with energy efficient products. These things range from something like an air conditioning unit or washing machine down to something as small as a battery charger or light bulb.
Whether you are building a home or buying an existing home, here are some things you can do to make your home more energy efficient:
- For new construction, ask your builder about making the home Energy Star qualified. These type of homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the International Energy Conservation Code, and they incorporate many energy-efficient features like effective insulation, high performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and ENERGY STAR qualified lighting and appliances.
- Replace your refrigerator if it is more than 10 years old with an Energy Star approved unit. Refrigerators use money energy than any other appliance in the home.
- Run your washer, dryer, and dishwasher only with a full load.
- Wrap your water heater with a hot water insulation kit.
- If your air conditioning unit is more than seven years old, consider replacing it with an Energy Star labeled model.
- Add more insulation to your attic.
- Caulk and weather strip areas around windows and doors where outside air can get into your home.
- Clean your outdoor air conditioning unit and be sure it is clear of leaves or debris.
- Have a professional do a tune-up on your air conditioning system before the weather gets hot and on your furnace system before the weather gets cold.
- Identify lights that you use more than 2 hours per day, and replace your regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They emit hardly any heat and use less than ¼ of the energy.
- Add solar screens or solar tint to your windows that face east and west.
- Keep your thermostat at 78° F during the summer months.
- In the winter, change your ceiling fan switches to the clockwise rotation to bring the warmer air down into the living zone.
- When choosing landscaping, consider height, growth rate, branch spread and shape. The right landscaping can shade your yard and help keep your home cooler in the summer.