Our homes use a lot of energy. It’s essential for cooking, lighting, running appliances, heating and cooling, and doing much more things that make our life comfortable. Approximately 38 percent of that energy consumption is just spent on heating and cooling1, and often a big percent of that is wasted by air leaks in the structure of your home. This and many other inefficiencies create needless out-of-pocket expenses to homeowners and renters alike.
A home that is optimised to use energy as efficiently as possible will not only keep us comfortable, it will also add up to considerable savings over time. For that reason, it’s worthwhile to consider whatever investments are reasonable toward a whole-house energy saving approach. Here are some simply smarter tips that can make your home energy efficient and hence can save some money going into big energy bills.
Heating and cooling expenses can be reduced by as much as 10 percent by simply turning back the heater or air conditioner during the hours of the day you spend away from home2. Programmable thermostats can be set to tailor heating and cooling to specific hours of the day. Even better than programmable thermostats, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely with a Smartphone in case you’ll be at the office late. Some smart thermostats will even memorize your daily routine after a week of manually adjusting the dial as needed, and then automate the trends you’ve set. Here are some other tips
- Clean your air conditioner regularly. Dust build up can reduce airflow. Over time, this makes your equipment very inefficient.
- Consider a professional clean of both indoor and outdoor unit fins and coils annually for improved energy efficiency.
- Keep your outdoor air conditioning unit shaded from the sun or install it on the shady side of the house – this can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency.
Some estimates suggest that a big percentage of heating and cooling energy escapes through air leaks around doors, windows, electrical outlets, plumbing and light fixtures. That’s more than just a pretty penny slipping through all those cracks. So, identifying air leaks and sealing them off will help save energy and money too. Here are a few tips:
- Slowly and carefully wave a lighted incense stick around doors, windows, outlets, and fixtures. Any place where the smoke blows horizontally indicates an air leak at that location.
- Seal and weatherstrip doors and windows where leaks occur. This can also be used near plumbing, ductwork, or wiring that penetrates through walls.
- Seal off leaking electrical outlets with foam gaskets that can be purchased cheaply at most hardware stores.
Washing machines draw energy from the electrical, and water heating systems, which when combined, amount to a significant amount of household energy use. Here are some tips to save energy:
- Washing a single item can use as much power and water as doing a full load. Limit washing machine use to full loads only.
- Use cold water washes only, in most cases cold water gets the laundry done just as well.
Using your clothes dryer regularly can send your power bills skyrocketing. Don’t forget the ‘solar’ option. Hanging clothes to dry uses no electricity and it’s free. It’s best to use a clothes line or drying rack though sometimes it’s hard to avoid turning on the dryer. Here are some tips:
- Clean the lint filter before every load. A blocked filter means you use more electricity.
- Reset the temperature with each load. High temperatures use more power and can shrink or damage some fabrics.
- High humidity in the laundry prevents the dryer from working at its best. The heated, humid air coming out of your dryer should be directed outside.
- Dripping wet clothes should not be placed in a dryer. Spin dry first.
- Try to do several loads one after the other. This makes use of the heat in the machine from the previous load.
Water heating accounts for 25 percent of home energy use1; of that usage a considerable portion of water and energy is wasted. Older, inefficient showerheads allow 12-15 litres of water to flow in a given minute and the average bath consumes 80 litres of heated water. To keep this consumption minimized, here are few tips to follow:
- Take quick showers instead of baths. Install low-flow showerheads, and pay careful attention to showering routines and consider ways to minimize. Some conservation experts recommend keeping shower time under five minutes.
- Don’t leave taps running while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Consider solar heating solutions.
Lighting accounts for 7 percent of home energy use1. You can save a lot of energy by using energy saving lightings. Use of energy saving lighting like LED and CFL can reduce the wattage used in a light fitting while maintaining similar light output. By using energy saving lighting, you can generate huge savings on your electricity bills, and contribute towards building a better environment. Here are some more tips to do that:
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Clean lamps and shades frequently for better lighting..
- Use lampshades with a white liner to reflect more light.
Standby power accounts for 3 percent of home energy use1. Appliances like TVs, DVD players, computers, stereos, and game consoles still draw small amounts of standby power when not in use. These devices drain electricity all day, every day.
- It’s a good idea to turn devices off at the wall when not in use.
- Clusters of appliances can be regulated by plugging them into a smart power board. The main appliance, like the TV, for example, can be plugged into the master position. The power strip will keep all electricity switched off to accessories plugged into subordinate outlets until the TV is switched on.
These and many other improvements in your living space and energy consumption habits will pay dividends down the road. But in the spirit of energy savings, the best approach is to make any upgrades you decide to implement an efficient transformation. We recommend contacting your energy provider for a home energy audit to help establish a workable plan.