When it comes to home improvement, we all tend to focus on design and décor features and completing renovations and other projects to make a house look and feel better. However, another key area to consider is energy usage.
If your power bills are through the roof each year, this is a sign that appliances and other fixtures and fittings may not be working optimally. Plus, when you spend more money on paying utility bills than you need to, this leaves you fewer dollars annually to update decorative and other features within your property.
As summer approaches and electricity usage tends to rise, now is the perfect time to look for ways to cut your household bills.
Complete an Energy Audit
One of the first things you can do is complete an energy audit. This task will help you identify how much electricity your household is currently going through, and where you’re using it. Once you have this overall perspective and understand normal levels for your home, it’s easier to find ways to cut back and to see progress over time. After all, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
To get an energy audit, you can hire a local contractor who specializes in this service. Alternatively, install a DIY energy monitor in your house to track usage, or check out online tools that give you ways of calculating likely usage based on your property set up and lifestyle. Note that the first two options give more accurate results.
Maintain and Repair Appliances
Something many people don’t realize is draining energy in their home is their appliances. That is, these goods may be using more electricity than they need to. To avoid this situation, keep machines clean, well-maintained, and repaired over the years. Doing this improves their energy efficiency and eats up less power.
For example, keep your fridge’s coils clean, so the machine doesn’t have to work so hard. Quarterly inspections and dusting are recommended. Also, remove the lint from your clothes dryer after each use and scrub the lint trap filter a few times per year to get rid of any lint and dust buildup that makes the machine work harder.
You can also get an electrician in annually to perform maintenance on your HVAC system and have a plumber drain the sediment of your water heater. Plus, hire contractors as needed to conduct careful washing machine repair work, or fix your oven, dishwasher, TV, fridge, or any other appliances you notice start to play up. When goods aren’t working optimally, because they need parts replaced or other things seen to, they suck up more power.
Any time you need to buy a new appliance for your home, choose the most energy-efficient products you can afford. Look out for certified goods that are more energy- and water-wise. Typically, the more stars a product has, the less power it uses. These units can cost a little more, but you should easily make up this money over the lifetime of the unit.
Use Goods Mindfully
Everyone in your household needs to use electrical items mindfully if you want to cut your energy bills. Don’t use appliances unless you must. Instead of turning on the heater or air conditioning when you’re a bit cold or hot, consider changing your outfit or using blankets or fans. Plus, wait until you have a full load in your washing machine or dishwasher to switch these appliances on. Also, heating water in these two machines takes more electricity than using cold water, so stick with cool loads where possible.
Improve Your Home’s Insulation
Improving your home’s insulation can go a long way to reducing your annual power bills. In older properties, in particular, insulation is often lacking. Investigate your home’s set up and see if you can add or replace insulation, opting for thicker, higher-quality options to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. Also, if you have old windows that let in more air than they need to, because they’re ill-fitting or broken, consider replacing them.
Reduce Standby Power
You’re likely spending money each year on “phantom” energy sucks. When you have electrical devices plugged into power points or power boards, but you’re not using the machines, small amounts of energy can still get consumed. Over time, this adds up.
A simple way to get around this is to group devices you hardly ever use onto a single power strip. You can then switch this device off when the appliances feeding into it aren’t in use. There are also smart plugs available that can help.
Following the steps listed above will allow you to reduce your home’s yearly electricity usage, cut utility bills, and help the environment. It may take a little time and patience to get used to these changes, but they’re worth it in the long run.