10 Ways To Save Energy In Houston
With energy bills hitting record highs, many homeowners are looking for ways to conserve energy and save some money in the process. Unlike popular belief, you don’t necessarily have to invest much to conserve energy. It all starts with simple behavioral and lifestyle adjustments to help lower your energy consumption. Among other benefits, taking on energy saving measures in your home translates to lower utility bills and an even smaller carbon footprint. Outlined below are a few ideas and tips on how to save energy.
1. Make Simple Lifestyle Adjustments
Energy conservation starts with making adjustments to your day-to-day habits around the house. Make it a habit of switching off all the lights in unused rooms, and turning off idle appliances will go a long way in saving energy. You could also choose to forego the energy-demanding appliances, such as the dishwasher or tumble dryer and instead do everything by hand. Hang clothes in the clothesline to save energy. Turning the thermostat a few degrees down during winter, and only using the air conditioner (in summer) when you have to will also contribute to significant energy savings.
2. Switch To Energy Saving Bulbs
Most homes today still use the traditional incandescent bulbs for lighting. These, however, consume more energy than necessary just for lighting. Energy saving bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), LED bulbs, and halogen incandescent bulbs use up less energy (between 25 – 80% less) than the traditional bulbs. Energy saving bulbs are also durable and tend to outlast regular bulbs.
Energy efficient light bulbs might be expensive to buy for the first time. Nonetheless, the energy savings you will record from using these bulbs, in the long run, is more than the initial cost. Switch to energy efficient bulbs to save both energy and money in the long run.
3. Take Advantage Of Intelligent Power Strips
Most electronic devices continue to siphon energy even when turned off. This is very common with appliances that automatically go to sleep mode instead of cutting power entirely. The energy consumed when these appliances are turned off, or in standby mode, (also known as phantom load) is simply put wasted energy. Eliminating phantom loads in your home can save you up to $200 in energy bills per year. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in an intelligent power strip. What the smart power strip does is it shuts down electricity current to these devices. The power strip can be connected via Wi-Fi to the internet, which makes it easier to control your appliances at home. The smart strip can also be programmed to turn everything off during a period of inactivity.
4. Install A Smart Or Programmable Thermostat
A smart thermostat can be programmed to turn off or reduce heating and cooling when no one is in the house or if everyone is asleep. In addition to this, the thermostat can be set to turn on the heater when you are about to enter the house or to heat specific parts of the house. This reduces energy wastage by a considerable percentage considering most HVAC systems run all day every day. Installing a programmable thermostat will, therefore, eliminate the need to upgrade your current HVAC system.
It is estimated that you can save $180 a year from installing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats come in various designs and features, all of which are meant to make your life easier and more comfortable while saving energy. Some of these will even tell you when it is time to have the air filters replaced.
5. Switch To Energy Efficient Appliances
Home appliances contribute to about 13% of your total energy consumption. For this reason, it would be advisable to invest in appliances that consume less energy in the long run. Experts recommend looking into two key factors, the annual operating cost, and initial purchase price. Although expensive, energy efficient appliances run efficiently and use approximately 9-25% less energy than other models.
When shopping for a home appliance, it would be advisable to check the Energy Star rating of the specific model. Highly rated home appliances tend to consume less energy than conventional models. How much energy you get to save from these appliances however differs with the make and model of the appliance.
6. Lower Your Water Heating Expenses
The largest percentage of energy wastage and bills go to water heating. While investing in an energy efficient water heater might help, you still need to make certain behavioral changes to lower your consumption even farther. You could start by turning down the thermostat by a few degrees, conserving hot water, and most importantly, ensuring your water heater and pipes are well insulated.
Shopping for a new water heater shouldn’t be hard either. The only vital factors to consider are the size of the water heater, type, and what fuel it uses.
7. Replace Standard Windows With Energy Efficient Ones
About 25% of your heating bill is wasted energy as heat escapes through the windows. This is particularly the case with single-pane windows. Replacing these windows with energy efficient double-pane windows could see you save lots of energy.
If you live in colder regions of the planet, consider investing in triple glazed or gas-filled windows to lower your heating expenses farther. Both interior and exterior storm windows can help lower heat loss as well. Storm windows are mostly recommended for regions that experience extreme weather.
8. Invest In A Newer HVAC System
The good-old HVAC system might be using more energy than necessary to keep your home comfortable. AN HVAC system is comprised of air conditioning, ventilation, and heating equipment. Heating alone takes more than 40% of your entire home’s energy consumption. This is almost ten times the amount of energy used for air conditioning. That said, investing in a more energy efficient (Energy Star Rated) HVAC system could help bring energy bills down.
9. Ensure Your Home Is Weatherized
Air leaks force heating and air conditioning systems to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house. Having all air leaks sealed, or weatherizing your home could help prevent this from happening. Most of the air leaks are experienced around doors, windows, and vents. Check to ensure there are no leaks around the doorframe and windows, as well as cracks between the walls. Caulk comes in handy when you need to weatherize or seal these air leaks. Weatherstrip your windows and doors to create a warm air envelope inside the house.
10. Adequate Home Insulation
Adequate insulation is required to help keep your home warm or cool, as well as prevent draughts in the house. With proper insulation, it will be hard for warm air outside (during summer) to heat your home, as well as keep your home warm during winter. Be sure have the attic, basement, floors, crawlspace, and walls insulated for the best results.