IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN when kids are heading back to school and all of a sudden the house feels emptier. Now’s your chance to save money by cutting back on energy usage! Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Increase Your Temperature Setting -With fewer people at home during the day, raise your thermostat by a few degrees during those hours. Lower it to start cooling about half an hour before your family gets home. You can save anywhere from 4-8 percent on your cooling costs with every degree you increase the temperature by. As the weather starts to get colder, reverse the process so your home is cooler during the day and warmer at night.
- Make Smart Use of Your Fridge - When preparing lunch for your kids, take out all the food you need in order to prep first and then close the fridge door. Keeping the door open, or constantly opening and closing it to take out and put things back, forces your fridge to work harder to keep a consistent temperature. This results in higher energy costs.
- Unplug Unused Devices - When not being used, make it a habit to unplug all those gadgets like iPods, laptops and video game consoles! Even when turned off, these devices will still consume power when they’re plugged in. These “energy vampires” can account for 5-10 percent of your total household electricity bill.
- Close or Open Curtains, Blinds or Drapes -Depending on which region of the country you live in, proper use of window coverings can shave significant costs off your energy bill. If the temperature is still warm, close those curtains, blinds or drapes to keep your house cooler. Otherwise, your air conditioning has to work up to 30 percent harder to cool your home. As temperatures drop, open up the curtains to take advantage of the sun’s heat to warm up your home.
- Get Your HVAC Checked - Contact a RESNET qualified HVAC contractor to make sure your heating unit is running smoothly and is ready to face the cooler autumn weather. Having to make repairs in the dead of winter is both horribly uncomfortable and extremely expensive!
- Use Your Dishwasher Efficiently - Load up your dishwasher completely before starting a wash cycle. Also use the air-dry setting instead of the heat dry setting in order to reduce energy usage by up to 7 percent.
- Get a Home Energy Audit
Contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor for an energy audit. Home energy audits are detailed home examinations to check where and how energy is being lost, and which systems are operating inefficiently. Based on the results, the auditor will recommend cost-effective solutions that will make your home more comfortable, affordable and energy efficient.
This content was originally published by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) here. This content has been republished with the permission of RESNET. RESNET is the independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET’s industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.