Nate’s Corner: Top 5 energy tips to save money
As we transition from spring into summer, we have a few tips and tricks to help you conserve energy and keep more money in your wallet.
- Upgrade your appliances
Whether you’re buying a dishwasher, clothes dryer, refrigerator, or furnace, the energy efficiency of each appliance you choose can make a big difference in the ongoing cost of your home. Always look for the Energy Star® label to ensure that you’re buying a product that exceeds government standards. Also, pay attention to the Energy Guide label which will allow you to compare the typical annual energy costs of different models. Whenever possible, choose appliances that run on natural gas, rather than electricity, as they are more economical to use in the long run.
- Seal up the cracks and crevices
If we could see the air that leaks in or out of our homes, many of us would be shocked. Air, like water, is relentless in its pursuit of a path leading inside or outside the house. In fact, studies have shown that air infiltration can cause up to 35% of a home’s heat loss. Of course, the proper installation of high-performance windows and insulation is key to reducing air infiltration, but it is also essential to seal up less noticeable areas where air can pass through the home’s shell. Be mindful to seal the openings around electrical outlets and switches, recessed lighting, plumbing vents and any cracks or crevices that might be hidden around windows or doors.
- Plant Trees
It may sound too simple, but planting a tree to shade your home can help cut energy costs in warm weather and can even make your home easier to heat in the winter. According to the USDA Forest Service, trees that are properly placed around your home can reduce your air conditioning needs by up to 30% and your heating costs by 20% to 50%. Furthermore, the US Department of Energy says three properly placed trees could reduce utility cost by $100 to $250 per year. Considering that trees also improve a home’s curb appeal, planting them around your new house plan would be a win-win.
- Window coverings
You can choose window treatments or coverings not only for decoration but also for saving energy. Some carefully selected window treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
– Interior blinds, unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%.
– A Drapery’s ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type and color. During summer days, you should close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Studies demonstrate the medium colored draperies with white plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.
– Highly reflective window films help block summer heat gain. The size of the window glazing area, window operation, climate, building orientation, and whether the window has interior insulation.
- Cooling system
– Make sure that you are changing filters in your HVAC system every 30 days. This is key to keep your system running at peak performance.
– Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb. However, be sure to turn fans off when you leave – they only cool people, not rooms.
– Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout your home.
– Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees, and use the program feature on your thermostat to adjust temperature throughout the day.