Energy Saving Tips for Your Home
A large number of people are totally clueless when it comes to saving energy at home. Our company, Home Inspection All Star aims to help clients significantly reduce costs through our energy-saving offerings. If you seriously want to cut down the costs of major utilities at home such as electricity, cooling, and heating, here are tips that you can implement at home.
In order to maximize savings, homeowners can trust InterNACHI as we deliver cutting-edge and updated home energy systems through comprehensive testing. Our skilled energy auditors will provide you with the most effective energy solutions that are most apt for your home.
The Importance of home energy efficiency
You may be wondering why it is crucial to achieve energy efficiency at home. There are heaps of advantages that homeowners can enjoy living under an energy efficient household:
- Homeowners who decide on implementing energy efficient practices are awarded with federal level to local level jurisdiction incentives in the form of significant tax breaks.
- Homeowners who take the necessary steps of converting their households into energy efficient ones saves a lot of cash, as evidenced by reduction in overall utility costs.
- Energy efficient homes promote enhanced level of comfort for its dwellers.
- It is well documented that use of too much energy is a major contributor to pollution; one of the primary causes of climate change.
- Energy efficient homes emit less pollutants. Traditional power production facilities creates byproducts that negatively impacts the soil, air, land, and water supply.
Tips for a More Energy Efficient Home
- Almost fifty percent of total energy utilized at home goes toward cooling and heating needs. Here are some useful adjustments that you implement at home to reduce your overall energy bill:
- The installation of ceiling fans at home will drastically reduce energy costs. Instead of using air conditioning systems, ceiling fans are excellent appliances that deliver both cooling ventilation at home.
- It is imperative to occasionally change air filters for air conditioning systems and heating systems. Following this practice not only ensures energy efficiency, but also longevity of the above mentioned appliances.
- Program thermostats to the ideal temperature only. Ideally, thermostats must be turned off during evenings or when nobody is at home. Studies reveal up to 2% reduction on heating costs per one degree that the thermostat is turned down within an 8-hour period. For instance, turning down the thermostat down to 70F from 75F translates to 10% off on energy bill.
- Implement the use of a programmable thermostat system. This type of setting saves homeowners a significant amount of money as heating systems as well as air conditioning automatically turns off when nobody is at home or during evenings. In addition, programmable thermostats feature no traces of mercury, which not only makes them energy efficient, but also money saving too. In fact, households that have this automatic programmed system can save up to $150 annually on energy bills.
- Instead of using a furnace that generates a great deal of energy, install a wooden stove or pellet which are known to be more efficient in generating heat.
- Natural insulation is possible by simply drawing curtains over windows.
- Tankless Water heating systems are known to be more energy efficient than its traditional counterpart.
- The instantaneous water heater only delivers hot water when needed, thus it is also demand-type heating systems. Traditional water storage heaters generate hot water losses, which in turn translates to bigger energy bills. Tankless water heating systems provide a constant stream of got water by directly heating the water than enters the main heating unit connected to the tap system. An electric element or burner installed within the unit heats the water on demand, thus eliminating the need to purchase and install a storage tank or hot water.
- Replacing incandescent lights with more energy-efficient lighting systems such as light-emitting diodes or LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs. Bear in mind that up to 11% of energy budget goes towards lighting needs. Incandescent lamps are extremely wasteful as it can only convert 10% of electrical energy to light, whilst the rest is converted into heat energy. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs can reduce lighting costs by up to 75%. Other advancements in technology allows for more energy and money-saving advantages, as CFLs and LEDs are programmed only to be turned on when artificial lighting is needed. Here are other helpful facts about efficient LED and CFL systems that bear their energy-saving features:
- CFLs utilize 25% energy, but shine up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
- LEDs live longer and are known to use lesser energy than CFLs.
- LEDs are 100% safe as they do not contain poisonous mercury found in CFLs.
- The proper sealing of your home can translate to more savings too! The installation of an insulation system is one of the cheapest ways to achieve energy efficiency at home. With the right type of insulating materials, you can even implement insulation all by yourself! Aside from establishing an efficient insulating system at home, proper sealing of a home’s interior also enhances air quality. Home Inspection All Star conducts leakage assessment, and will later on recommend fixes or repair that can further reduce your energy bill, whilst ensuring your comfort as well.
Here are some of the most common sites where leakage can be detected:
- Electrical outlets or receptacles
- Mail slots
- Spaces around electrical wirings and water piping systems
- Attic hatches
- Spaces around air conditioning systems mounted on walls
- Fireplace dampers
- Switch plates
- Window frames
- Inadequate weatherstripping installations around doors
The attic is the most common place where leaks occurs. There are a few steps homeowners can do to repair leakages in attics as well as maintain the space properly to avoid heating and cooling overconsumption:
- The most common areas where large leakages may occur are behind the under attic walls and in dropped-ceiling spaces. Plug these large holes with sealing materials and insulation immediately.
- Seal the smaller holes as well. Start by identifying darkened insulation spaces. These areas are caused by dust-filled interior air that is screened by insulation before they leak through tiny holes. It is fairly easy to identify darkened insulation as evidenced by frosty areas as a result of condensation of moist air which then freezes upon contact to cold air usually found in the attic. During warm weather months, holes are evident through water staining. To seal these leakages, Use caulk or expanding foam to properly seal openings of plumbing vents as well as around electrical wiring systems. Once the caulk dries or the foam is secured, install proper insulation as finishing.
- Weatherstripping is an excellent means of sealing and insulating attic panels. Simply cut a piece fiberglass or a rigid foam board insulation in a similar size as that of the attic hatch. Simply glue the material onto the attic panel’s back portion. Weatherstripping may also be done on pull-down stairs for attics.
- Energy-efficient showerhead and toilet installation
Energy conservation may also be in the form of efficient reduction of water use at home.
- Use low-flow showerheads as they feature different flow rate settings. Some models feature a pause button which automatically shuts down water flow while a bather is lathering up.
- Low-flow toilets are ideal if you want to further reduce energy consumption at home. Water in toilets accounts for almost half of total home water consumption. If your home space features older 3.5 gallon toilets, it is best replace them with latest, low-flow 1.6 gallon toilets which has been tried-and-tested to lower down water consumption by as much as 2 gallons-per-flush(GPF). With a modern, low-flow toilet homeowners can save up to 12,000 gallons of water annually. When purchasing tolilets, make sure to look behind the seat or inside the tank for the 1.6 GPF feature.
- Another water-saving tip is the installation of vacuum assist toilets that feature a vacuum chamber. It utilizes a siphoning action that sucks the air trapped beneath the toilet bowl, which I turn facilitates speedy refilling of water and waste clearance. In addition, vacuum assist toilets operate quietly too.
- Dual flush toilets are being utilized in many parts of Europe and Australia. Due to its water-saving nature, more and more households in the US are adapting its usage too. As it name implies, dual-flush toilets gives homeowners the option to choose between two, low-flow flush settings; 1 gallon or even less flush for liquid waste and 1.6 gallon flush for solid waste management. The installation of low-flow, dual flush toilets mean saving up to 30% in household water consumption.
- The responsible use of electrical appliances and gadgets is one way to significantly decrease energy bills at home. Here are a few tried and tested tips to reduce electricity bill by the right use of electronics at home:
- Strategic placement of appliances can save you a lot of money. For instance, it’s best to place the freezer and refrigerator at a substantial distance from appliances that generate heat such as stoves and dishwashers. It is also ideal not to place cooling appliances nearby heat vents and under direct sunlight. Cooling appliances, when exposed to hotter or warmer spaces or heating appliances, utilize more energy to maintain ideal cold temperatures.
- Up to 3% of energy consumption in the United States is attributed to computer usage. To reduce the energy bill on a household scale, it is best to shut down a computer when they are not being used. If a computer’s CPU should remain up and operating when unattended, it is best to turn off the monitor instead.
- Energy Star-rated appliances should be the first choice of consumers when purchasing electronic devices and appliances for the home. Devices with Energy Star rating are duly approved by the US Department of Energy as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, and include home theatre systems, gadgets, audio systems to name a few. Studies reveal that a good 10% of households in the US switch to the use of energy-efficient electronics translate to reduction of carbon emissions with the equivalent of as much as 1.7 million acres of forest.
- Chargers, when not used to charge electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones, must be unplugged from outlets to further reduce electricity costs.
- Switch to the use of laptop computing devices as they are tried and tested to consumer lesser electricity.
- Implement daylighting practices as an excellent substitute to electrical lighting systems.
The practice of daylighting simply means the use of natural light to illuminate the interiors of a home. The following daylighting approaches should be followed as part of an effective energy conservation scheme at home:
- The installation of skylights at home boasts a two-fold function. Double-pane skylights facilitate the entry of light, but not heat. Flashing skylights on the other hand is one efficient way to avoid leaks in the uppermost areas of a home.
- Light shelves are devices that work passively in conserving electricity. They were originally designed to facilitate the bounding of light deep into the interiors of a structure. It is extremely effective in energy conservation as it successfully introduces light to an indoor space up to two and a half times the distance from the floor to the top of window systems. Advanced light shelves on the other hand guarantees double the energy efficiency when compared alongside traditional light shelves.
- For natural lighting and heating solution at home, install clerestory windows. These window treatments are characterized by short, wide panes placed high on the wall.
- Light tubes are specialized lenses that were originally designed to intensify low-level lighting, while at the same time reducing light intensity coming from the hot sunshine at midday. Light tubes works by channeling the sunlight through a tube that is finished with a highly reflective material, which in turn enters the living space via diffuser that distributes light evenly indoors.
- Efficient window and door insulation practices should be implemented to avoid heat loss. Studies show that a household’s overall heat loss is facilitated by faulty windows and doors.
- By sealing the edges of windows and doors with a rope caulk, you can efficiently reduce heat loss, thus alleviating the need to use the heating system at home.
- Weatherstripping is a good way of insulating the indoors without breaking the bank. A special insulating lining should be placed between the perimeter of windows and frames. This can be implemented on doors too, in order ensure a tight seal.
- The installation of storm windows featuring single panes is known to conserve energy too. For existing windows, a removable glass frame may be installed instead.
- Replacement or repair should be implemented if doors and windows show signs of rotting, damages, or cracks. Poorly fitted sashes or missing putty should be remedied to achieve maximum energy efficiency.
- The way by which food is cooked may also translate to reduction in energy bills. A significant amount of energy is wasted when food is cooked the wrong way. Here are some tips on how you can cook sumptuous meals, while at the same time conserving energy:
- Replace conventional ovens with convection ovens as they feature fans that circulate the heat more evenly inside the oven. Convection type ovens also allow for food to be cooked at lower temperatures. Lastly, convection ovens consume 20% less electricity than traditional ovens.
- Use microwave ovens for heating food items, than placing them in conventional ovens. Microwave ovens consume up to 80% less energy than outdated oven systems.
- Use pans that feature size similar or close to that of the heating element or flame.
- Use lids for pots and pans when cooking. This technique heats the food more efficiently than uncovered pots and pans.
- Use pressure cooker for meats and other food items as it dramatically cuts down cooking time.
- Always place food dish on the top rack when using conventional ovens. The top rack features a higher temperature, thus allowing faster cooking time.
- There is a handful of techniques that you can save energy while washing clothes with a washing machine:
- Always wash with full load, and never use the medium setting on your washer. The medium setting is known to only save less than 50% of energy when compared alongside the energy and water one can save when washing full load.
- Avoid setting the temperature at 140F high, especially when the clothes to wash are slightly soiled only. Water at 140F utilizes more energy when compared to warm water setting at 103F. Bear in mind that higher water temperature, such as that set at 140F is just as effective in getting the clothes cleaned as that of warm water setting at 103F.
- Always make sure to clean the lint trap before using the dryer. Aside from the fact that lint is a fire hazard, its accumulation prolongs drying time as well.
- During sunny or windy days, it is best to air dry clothes instead.
- For faster drying and to reduce energy use, spin dry or wring clothes before placing them into the dryer.
These practices, although simple, are guaranteed to reduce your utility bills. Seek for the expertise of our certified home inspector, as we assess more ways on how you can further help in energy conservation, while ensuring savings for you and your family too!