There are various approaches to take in order to reduce your utility bill, and based on the season, these bills will always fluctuate. In order to reduce your energy footprint, these suggestions have been provided by the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, combined with home automation tips.
• Turn down the temperature of your water heater to a warm setting, rather than hot. It is recommended to be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, check if your water heater has an insulating blanket. This insulation helps reduce the loss of heat and will affect your bill in a positive way. This normally accounts for 14-25% of the energy consumed in your home.
• Make sure your furnace or heat pump receives professional maintenance every year.
• Consider exchanging your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, otherwise known as CFLs. Another great option is light-emitting diodes, known as LEDs. These bulbs can save up to 3/4 of the electricity used by basic light bulbs. Bulbs with 60-100 Watts are ideal for energy conservation.
• Turn off the lights when you are not in the room. Installing timers or occupancy sensors is also a great way to make sure the lights are always turned off behind you. Automated lighting is a great way to control your lighting energy costs.
• Keep large electronics turned off when they are not in use. For example, if you’re not going to use your desktop computer for more than two hours, it is a great idea to turn off the monitor and CPU system in order to reduce energy use. This tip should also be applied to any equipment that drains energy when it is not in use. Cell phone chargers, fans, coffee machines, printers, and radios all drain energy even when they are turned off but still plugged into the wall.
• Install a programmable thermostat that will adjust the temperature according to your life schedule. This way the house can be comfortable when you arrive home, but not wasting energy to keep it at one temperature the entire day. Automated thermostats are an easy way to ensure that heating or cooling spend is used most efficiently.
• Clean or replace filters for your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump yearly.
• Check your windows for leaks or drafts. Add film or caulk to all of these areas in order to reduce wasted energy. The typical home loses more than 25% of its heat through windows.
• Insulate hot water pipes. Also, insulate your heating ducts in areas like the attic and crawl spaces. This can prevent up to 60% of heat loss.
• Be aware of your major appliances’ efficiency. Upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient appliance will lower costs as well.
• Consider planting tall trees and shrubs around the west side of your house. This will create natural shade and reduce air conditioning costs.
• Washing clothes in cold water is also known to reduce costs. It is also beneficial to hang dry your clothes when possible to reduce the use of the dryer. Ensure your dryer vent is clear of lint so the door will fully close.
Using these tips will reduce the use of energy in your home. Gather your electricity and fuel bills and compare their costs from month to month in order to recognize your progress. For more information on home energy conservation, and to view a helpful checklist, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s web site. View My Alarm Center’s home automation offerings to help you save an average of 15% on your home energy bills.