Happy National Cut Your Energy Costs Day!
If you made a resolution to save money on energy costs this year, today is a great day to start.
Here are some useful tips to help make your energy bills more affordable throughout the rest of the year and beyond:
Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use
Energy Star reported that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices when they’re off or in standby mode1. If you have appliances or electronics you believe could be wasting energy, it might be beneficial to identify which devices can be turned off when not in use.
An efficient way to power off several devices with the flip of one switch is by using power strips. For example, you could plug your TV, game system and surround sound into one power strip. If you have a home office, try plugging your computer, printer and paper shredder into one power strip as well.
Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs
If you still use incandescent bulbs in your home, you may want to consider switching to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. In addition to cutting your energy costs, you may also be able to reduce your lighting costs2. For example, you would need 21 incandescent bulbs opposed to just three CFL bulbs and one LED bulb to provide 25,000 hours of light3. At $0.12 per kWh, the difference in total cost electricity could also be $180 vs. $42 vs. $303.
Here are some quick overviews of CFL and LED bulbs:
- CFL bulbs - Unlike incandescent bulbs which require a wire filament, the electric current of a CFL bulb is driven through a tube containing argon and mercury vapor. This process creates an invisible ultraviolet light that reacts with the fluorescent coating inside the tube to produce visible light. CFLs may need more energy when turned on but use up to 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs once the electric current is maintained4.
- LED bulbs - LEDs are unique from both incandescent and CFL bulbs. For LEDs, the electrical current passes through a semiconductor material that illuminates tiny directional light sources. Standard LED colors include blue, green, amber and red. The white LED color used in most homes and businesses is actually several LED colors combined or filtered through a phosphor material5.
Weatherproof your home
Whether it’s blazing heat or arctic winds, sealing your home from the elements could help you increase comfort and cut energy costs6. Weatherproofing your home may also reduce the stress and increase the lifespan of your heating and air conditioning system7. If you need a few quick and easy weatherproofing tips that won’t break the bank, try these out:
- Install weatherstripping on doors and windows
- Seal air leaks around your home
- Insulate windows with plastic (during winter)
- Insulate water pipes
Consider a programmable thermostat
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homeowners could save nearly $180 per year by installing and properly utilizing a programmable thermostat8. If you have an older model thermostat and haven’t thought about upgrading, it may be worth considering.
The most basic programmable thermostat should allow you to set on and off timers to reduce energy use while your family is at work and school. More advanced models can be accessed via smartphone and allow you to turn on the fan and monitor humidity levels9.
For more information, check out some of the best programmable thermostats of 2017.
Assess your home’s annual energy use
Home energy audits can provide insight into where your home is losing energy and areas you can improve to potentially save money. Additionally, you can determine if you need to repair or replace any hardware and set new guidelines on current and future home energy use.
Here is some information to help you perform a home energy audit:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Yardstick
- Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Home Energy Audit
- Professional Home Energy Audit
Small changes can add up to big results
National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is the perfect day to create and take action on energy resolutions for 2017. Whether you change a few lightbulbs or install new weatherstripping, the actions you take could positively impact the environment and help you save on energy costs this year.
3http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-light-bulb-showdown-leds-vs-cfls-vs-incandescent-bulbs-whats-the-best-deal-now-and-in-the-future/ 4https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_cfls 5https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs 6https://energy.gov/energysaver/air-sealing-your-home 7https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/publications/pubdocs/HeatingCoolingGuide%20FINAL_9-4-09.pdf
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