Transforming Your House Into an Energy-Efficient Home From Low to No Cost
Energy efficiency in homes is important not just for the sake of saving money. It’s also needed to reduce carbon footprint and save the environment. Many people want to shift to energy-efficient homes. But this comes with an expensive upfront cost.
Truly, energy-efficient appliances are more expensive than regular ones. Sure, people can save money in the long term by using these appliances. But not everyone has the money to afford them on the get-go. If the time comes that they need to replace their appliances, then they can buy the energy-efficient option.
But until then, there are many free and low-cost ways for homeowners to save energy and lower their utility bills.
Don’t Forget to Unplug
You may be one of the people who often forget to unplug their appliances or chargers when not in use. You may think that because the TV or the microwave oven is turned off, they’re not using power. But that’s not true.
An average American household has 65 devices connected to electricity. And most of them hog power even when they’re idle. For example, a cable box can draw up to 28 watts while it’s turned on and recording a show. When turned off but still plugged, it can draw 26 watts. Not much of a difference there.
Thus, to save energy, make it a habit to unplug your appliances when not in use. Also, remove your chargers from the socket after charging your devices.
Use Power-Saving Bulbs
If you’re still using incandescent bulbs in your home, you’ll want to switch to more efficient light bulbs. The options include CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) ; or LEDs (light-emitting diodes). While this method of saving energy at home does involve shelling out some money, it’s not as high-cost as buying new appliances.
These bulbs consume up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. The annual energy cost of traditional 60-watt incandescents is $4.80. And they have a lifespan of 1,000 hours. On the other hand, CFLs and LEDs cost around $1 to $1.20 annually and have a lifespan of 10,000 hours and 25,000 hours, respectively. Looking at these numbers, even though CFLs and LEDs may cost a little more, you save more money over incandescent bulbs.
Mind Your Plumbing
Energy conservation doesn’t just involve electricity but water as well. You can make small, relatively affordable changes in your plumbing to save energy and money in the long run. For example, you’ll want to insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation can reduce heat loss. It can also reduce your water heating costs.
Another strategy is to use a dual-flush toilet. Basically, it’s a toilet with an option for a half-flush for liquids and full flush for solid waste. This type of toilet is energy-efficient as it uses water velocity to flush down waste, instead of volume. An energy-efficient only uses 1.28 gallons for each full flush while regular toilets use ;1.6 gallons per flush. The older ones used to use 3.5 gallons per flush. You can change your flush on your own. But if you’re not confident enough, you can always hire a professional plumbing service to do the work for you.
A low-cost way to conserve energy is air-sealing your home. You can hire someone to seal the air leaks in your windows and doors for you. But you can also do it on your own. Buy a caulk gun from your hardware store. It usually costs around $20 or less. Inspect your window frames and doors to find air leaks and seal them using the caulk gun.
Sealing your homes can help you save around 15% on heating and cooling costs. It has added perks too. You reduce outside noise and improve the humidity control in your home. So you don’t have to tweak your thermostat too often.
Surround Your House With Plants
Since the pandemic, more people are growing plants in their homes. Most people started becoming plant parents due to the therapeutic effect of taking care of plants. They also add character to a home’s interior. But apart from these benefits, houseplants can also help in energy conservation.
Plants inside the home help in controlling humidity at home. So you can lower your cooling and heating costs. During the summer, plants can release moisture and lower the temperature in a room by 10 degrees. And during the winter, the moisture in plants helps in keeping a room warm.
Homeowners can make their houses more energy-efficient through small changes. It’s not just about buying luxurious appliances that can be heavy on their bank accounts. As the old adage says, if there’s a will, there’s a way.