Whether your goal is saving the planet or you’re just trying to save your wallet, there is a lot you can do to reduce your electric bill for your home. Sure, you’re probably too busy laying by the pool to bother thinking about such things, and you’ve no doubt heard some of these tips before, but you’re going to thank us come this winter.
We’ve come up with the ultimate punch list to help you save electricity and help you keep more of your hard-earned money. From the cold air that seeps in through the windows during the winter to the warm air that sneaks back out through the doors and from the overheated water tank to the under-performing dishwasher, here are some of the best tips we know.
A Bright Idea
Energy-efficient light bulbs last longer than traditional light bulbs, work just as well and can often be found cheaper with various local energy department rebates and store specials. Using them is a no-brainer, but here are a few other ideas you may not have even thought of.
Dimmer switches will not only set the mood but can also reduce the electricity used. Ever heard of a “smart power strip?” They should be used for appliances and electronics that don’t fully turn off when not being used like items that require a remote control. The smart power strip will cut off the electrical current when the devices aren’t in use but still keep them functional.
You might even consider getting an energy audit for your home. Some utility providers will even do the audit for free finding where the energy suckers are in your home and help you to reduce their usage.
Keeping Your Cool During Summer
Keeping the temperature at a comfortable range in your home can be a challenge. One of the oldest tricks to keep your home cooler during the summer is keeping your windows’ blinds and curtains closed during the day when the sun is beaming in. Not anymore. Renewal by Andersen offers a complete line of energy-efficient windows made with High-Performance™ Low-E4® glass which is more efficient in the summer compared to regular dual-pane glass windows. Even better, our High-Performance™ Low-E4® SmartSun™ glass is significantly more energy-efficient and blocks 95% of harmful UV rays from entering your home. So, no more feeling like you’re living in a cave during the summer months.
It’s also a good idea to keep your thermostat turned off during the summer months. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat that can lower the heat when you are sleeping or are away at work and can kick on for a short bit during one of those cool summer mornings.
The most energy-efficient home will have a healthy layer of insulation within the walls, in the attic, and around water pipes. If your home is lacking in the stuff, don’t wait until the fall to upgrade. A thicker layer of insulation will actually help to keep your home cooler now and warmer later.
A clogged air filter will not only fail to catch dust, pollen, and lint (a must for families with allergies), it will also prevent clean air from circulating within the house. Not only that, it will make your furnace work harder too. Just the opposite is true from leaky ductwork. You want the air to flow freely through the ducts, not leak out of the sides.
And since you’re on your way preparing for the fall and winter, take a look at the seals around your windows and doors. It is one of the simplest and inexpensive fixes that many homeowners neglect. Whether being broken down naturally over time or being shredded by the pet cat (Hey, it happens!) caulking and weather stripping is an essential barrier to help keep warm air from escaping and letting in the unwanted cold air. It also prevents you from turning up the furnace.
You may never really think about your furnace until it stops working. The folks from This Old House say that soot buildup, dusty or poorly lubricated fans, flickering pilot lights, and loose fan belts can add hundreds to your heating costs each year and recommend that natural gas-powered systems be serviced by a professional every two or three years while oil-fired units should be treated every year.
Saying Goodbye to Summer: Using Your Fireplace Effectively
You may be surprised to learn that your fireplace is a terrible way to heat your home. This Old House (https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/10-ways-to-shrink-your-energy-bills) reports that a lit fireplace draws up about 24,000 cubic feet of furnace-heated air up your chimney each hour and the cold air that comes down the chimney will make your furnace work that much harder. They recommend that you turn your thermostat down a little when you use your fireplace and be sure to close the damper when not in use.
If you rely on a wood-burning stove to heat your home, consider replacing it with a pellet stove. The stove itself looks the same, but the pellets (made from packed sawdust) are cheaper, take up less space and are more environmentally-friendly too.
Appliance Energy-Saving Hacks
Some experts recommend that you set your refrigerator to 38 degrees and your freezer to five degrees which will keep your food fresh but also give it a rest from working so hard keeping things cold. And yes, selecting what you want quickly instead of leaving the door open will help to reduce costs as well.
If you are like many families, you have your regular fridge and freezer in the kitchen and a larger one freezer collecting ice crystals in the garage. Don’t let that ice accumulate inside. In addition to taking up a lot of needed space, that blanket of ice is reducing your freezer’s efficiency.
You remember mom telling you not to run the dishwasher half full? She’s right. You’re just wasting water if you do. However, the same can be true if you spend a lot of time rinsing plates before they go in the washer. People only do that if they are not confident that their dishwasher will actually clean their dishes. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to purchase a new one. Sure, the initial expense can be high, but if you spend your money wisely now, you’ll save more of it later not to mention the quicker cleaning time.
The Advantages of the Energy Star Label
Look for the Energy Star label for every new appliance you’re in the market for. New dishwashers with the label clean just as good, if not better than regular models, but only use 5.8 gallons of water (or less) per cycle compared to the ten or more of older models. In addition to dishwashers, you can find air purifiers, washers and dryers, freezers, refrigerators and more items branded with the Energy Star label – including windows.
Energy Star certified windows can help reduce your energy bill by an average of 12%. We’ve mentioned it above, but Renewal by Andersen’s High-Performance™ Low-E4® glass which is not only great for the summer. They are 47% more energy efficient in the winter compared to regular dual-pane glass windows.
These windows are a good value too. The Fibrex® material offers the strength and insulating value of wood with the low maintenance features of vinyl. Fibrex® material never requires painting and will not crack, pit, corrode, or rot. They are made with 40% reclaimed wood fiber, much of which is collected from our wood window manufacturing facilities.
Every family and their needs are different and so, Renewal by Andersen offers a full range of windows in different sizes and styles. Whatever your electricity-saving concerns are, we’re confident that we can help find a solution for you!