As a Homeowner, we understand that with the added costs of heating and electric energy you are looking for ways to save money each month and help conserve our world's energy. Here are a few suggestions for what you can do in and around your home to help lower your monthly energy bill and increase the value of your home.
Adopt energy-saving habits. Make it a habit to turn off the lights as you leave a room. Also, replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Items in your home that are turned off but still plugged in, are occupying energy from your home. So turn off your computer and unplug electronics when they are not in use.
Maximize Your A/C
Experts estimate that creating a proper seal around all the air leaks in your home can save you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. Shutting the doors and vents in unused rooms can lighten the load of your air-conditioning unit. Apply weather-stripping to operable windows, exterior doors, garage doors, and doors that lead to the attic, it will provide a barrier between fixed and moveable parts of your homes doors and window. It's also important to clean out air-conditioning filters once a month, which usually involves running water through them and letting them air-dry.
Stay in the Shade
Anything that keeps the sun from coming in to your home will make it easier for your air-conditioning unit to maintain cooler temperatures. Make sure your windows have shades or curtains to keep the sun from heating up your rooms. For the longer term, consider planting leafy trees or bushes to shade your home. When gardening, select plants that are well suited to your climate and require minimal watering and attention. Better yet, plant a tree, and it will provide shade and soak up carbon from the atmosphere.
Step away from the oven
Here's a great excuse to go out for dinner or order a pizza. Turning on the oven heats up the rest of the house, which forces your air conditioner to go into overdrive. If you still want to cook at home then consider barbequing, using the toaster oven or even the stovetop, which gives off less heat than the oven.
Cool Your Laundry Down
85 – 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes is used to heat the water. By washing your laundry in cold water instead of hot, you will help preserve the environment, save energy, and save money. Always make sure that your loads are full and if possible, choose a front loading washing machine. Front loaders use about 40% less water and about 50% less energy.
High Efficiency Appliances
When replacing appliances, look for high efficiency units. Appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings, an international standard for energy-efficient consumer products, typically utilize a minimum of 20 percent less energy. This means savings for you and the environment.
Make Every Drop Count
Conserve water by repairing any leaky faucets and installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, this will save gallons of water. Challenge yourself to a speed shower and turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving. Although you might need to crank up the water heater during the winter months, cooler showers in the summertime will let you turn down the temperature setting for a few months, which reduces energy costs.
Program the Thermostat
Programmable thermostats, which allow the a/c temperature to rise automatically during the day when no one is home, can lead to annual savings of 30%. Even though most systems today have programmable thermostats, people use them only about half the time, which means a lot of systems work harder than necessary.
Upgrade your Lightbulbs
It's a good idea to replace older light bulbs with compact fluorescents, they use about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), produce about 75% less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. If you're buying other major items, such as washers, dryers, dishwashers or televisions, don't forget to take energy efficiency into account.
Audit your Energy
You can give your home an overall check with an energy auditor who can look for any air leaks and other inefficiencies. An expert can help you find the areas that need improvement to help you conserve energy in your home, which saves you money now and will improve the value of your home in the future. The Ontario Home Energy Audit Program is an energy conservation program that shows you how and where your home loses energy.