Energy Tips for Your Home
April 17, 2018
In honor of Earth Day, which is April 22, we’ve got a two-part blog series for you. We’ll cover energy tips for your home first and then your business so that you have the rundown of the many ways in which any home or business can be made energy efficient.
Totally Connected Smart Homes
Remote access is a tool that not only allows for remote control of your burglar alarm (via a smartphone or other web-enabled device) but it also monitors environmental changes such as water leaks, temperature shifts, and furnace leaks. The energy efficiency portion of this equation goes many steps beyond typical programmable thermostats which are only effective for those living in climates that are very consistent year-round. It’s easy to forget about the thermostat and it’s hard to keep up with weather changes in most states, so having remote access means homeowners can easily make necessary adjustments remotely from their smartphones.
Exterior & Interior Lighting
If your front porch is a high-traffic area, you might consider alternative lighting such as CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent light), motion sensors, and photocell lighting. Motion sensors minimize energy waste for forgotten lights and photocell technology can either be used to detect 1) the presence of people or 2) dusk to dawn.
Light timers can be helpful indoors for both preventing burglaries while you are away and also saving energy. Motion lighting is a great option for households with children who are notorious for leaving the lights on. CFL bulbs provide great lighting, reduce energy use and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend replacing the bulbs in your most used lighting fixtures first.
Prevent Drafts & Insulate
Drafty areas often include windows, the door leading from the house to the garage, sunrooms, dryer vents, and attics:
- Window treatments such as black-out curtains and window insulation film are easy fixes for most window drafts but extremely old windows may need replacing. In the winter, replace window screens with storm windows.
- Unlike the rest of your exterior doors, the door leading to the garage isn’t typically sealed as well so consider using a door sweep to stop unwanted airflow.
- Sunrooms have many costly windows; to avoid having to replace them for total energy efficiency, try these tips first:
- Add weather-stripping around window frames using clear caulk
- Apply window tints
- Install a ceiling fan (blow air downward in summer)
- Refer to the window treatment tip above
- Dryer vents can be easily sealed with caulk or spray foam, depending on the size of the gap.
Lastly, a professional sealing and insulation job on your entire home is worth an average of $200 per year or up to 10% of your energy bills. A well-insulated home allows your furnace and air conditioning units to run more efficiently. Don’t forget to insulate and seal the attic and attic door and change out your HVAC air filters!
PRO TIP: Before insulating your home, a general contractor can help find and patch hidden air leaks.
Appliances & Electronics
ENERGY STAR® approved appliances and electronics help to save energy even when not in use. For those items that don’t need to remain plugged in, like your TV or smartphone adapters, unplugging them when turned off can add up. Use a power strip to easily turn off multiple items at once and eliminate standby power consumption. According to ENERGY STAR®, “U.S. households spend approximately $100 per year to power devices while they are in a low power mode, roughly 8 percent of household electricity costs.”
It’s also a great idea to ditch older refrigerator models, which can cost another $100+ per year to run. Consider tankless water heaters which only heat water when hot water is needed.
Watch for our next blog to learn how to energy-proof your business!