In the last decade or so people have become more aware that our sources of energy are fast becoming depleted. Whole new industries have sprung up offering alternative ways of creating and saving energy. One of these is the development of longer-lasting compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), which provide an excellent way to save on the energy used in lighting. They are more expensive to purchase than traditional light bulbs, but over the long-term they do save money. Many people have switched over to these in their homes, but there are other ways you can use less energy in your home as well, and some are quite inexpensive to implement.
Unplug Your Appliances – People these days tend to accumulate a variety of small appliances in the kitchen that they keep plugged in at all times. If you have a toaster, coffee maker and blender that are plugged in even when you’re not using them, they are drawing electricity from the electrical outlets. Count the TVs, DVD players, and computers that remain plugged in and over time you are wasting a lot of energy. Unplug your kitchen appliances and use a power strip on the larger items to save energy, but don’t forget to turn it off. You might also consider getting a Smart Strip, which can sense when the appliances plugged into it are in operation, automatically cutting the power when they’re not in use.
Clean Lint Traps & Vents in Your Dryer – Cleaning the lint trap and vent in your clothes dryer on a regular basis will save energy, but more importantly not cleaning them and letting lint and debris build-up is a serious safety hazard. Each time you pull the clothes out of your dryer you should clean the lint trap. If you throw dryer sheets in with your clothes, this can cause a film to form on the lint trap, so you will need to scrub it with a small brush using soap and water every six months. The dryer vent should be cleaned out at least once a year. These steps will have your dryer running much more efficiently, saving you energy.
Furnace Filters Should Regularly be Replaced – The filter on your furnace should be replaced every month, or at least every three months. Read the instructions to determine how often your particular filters need to be replaced. No matter what kind of furnace or filters you have, with a clean filter your furnace will definitely run better and more efficiently.
Seal Any Cracks in Your Home – Air leaks are very common in older homes. If you have air leaks due to cracks throughout your home, go to any hardware store and get weather stripping or caulk to seal all the air leaks. Just doing this will lower your energy costs for heating and cooling your home.
Have Ceiling Fans Installed – Ceiling fans can be used all year long and will consume far less energy than running your air conditioner or furnace. Ceiling fans circulate cool air throughout the home during the warm months of summer and during the winter they push down the warm air in the room that tends to rise up. Most ceiling fans come with a switch so you can reverse the direction of the blades to pull up the cooler air or to push down the warmer air in the room.
Upgrade To A Programmable Digital Thermostat – Chances are that you have an old thermostat regulating the temperature in your home. Replacing your old unit with a programmable digital one can save on energy. You can easily buy one at Home Depot, Lowe’s or even on Amazon for as little as $25. How they work is that you would set, or program your air conditioner and heat to switch on, go up or down or switch off at certain times of day or night. This prevents your air conditioner or furnace from running all the time. The savings can go as high as $150 per year for the average home. Another great idea is to keep the shades closed in the hot summer months, especially during the hottest times of day. This keeps the sun from beating down into your windows and unnecessarily heating up your rooms. In winter you can keep your shades open and let the sun shine in to warm things up.
By taking these easy and fairly inexpensive steps you will definitely save on the cost of energy consumption. You will also have a safer, more comfortable home. As the worldwide population rises, we all need to understand that our planet has limited resources and everyone should do their part to conserve energy.