quick energy saving fixes
Top 10 quick energy saving fixes
Want to save on your electricity bill without paying for costly renovations? Are you renting but still want to maximize your home’s efficiency? Do you feel the need to make your home as energy efficient as possible to protect the environment? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have 10 energy-saving tips that are perfect for you.
DIY projects to save energy
Transforming your home from an outdated, energy guzzler to one that’s energy-efficient is may seem overwhelming. But with a few quick fixes and some small changes to daily habits you can conserve lots of energy and save yourself a pretty penny in the process.
In this section, you’ll find 10 tips to save energy. These are some of the easiest and most affordable ways you can increase the energy efficiency of your home. Rest assured these are DIY energy-saving tips don’t require any heavy lifting or complicated installations. Pay attention to the detailed advice listed below, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a home that is incredibly energy-efficient without any major renovations.
Quick fix #1 - Use cold water in laundry and air-dry clothes
Think your clothes won’t be properly cleaned without hot water? Think again! Just about any washer nowadays is more than capable of thoroughly washing clothes in cold water. Up to 90% of the energy used to run a clothes washer is needed simply to heat the water.1 By running clothes through cold cycles you can save a ton of energy and money. You can further compound the energy savings by air drying your clothes when possible, instead of using a clothes dryer, which requires a large amount of electricity to run. Other ways to save energy with these appliances involve upgrades to the appliance itself, such as making the switch from a top-loading washer to a front-loading washer.
Quick fix #2 - Replace your air filters every three months
Changing the air filters in our homes isn’t something we often think about, but this simple update can have a dramatic impact on your home’s energy efficiency and your electricity bill. Around 25% of the energy in most homes goes toward heating and cooling. Changing a clogged or worn out air filter can lower your energy consumption by as much as 15%!2 Small savings like this certainly add up while improving the air quality and healthiness of your home. Be sure to change out your air filter out at least every three months for maximum efficiency.
Quick fix #3 - Change out your light bulbs
Many people continue to use outdated, conventional bulbs because of their low initial cost. However, most modern bulbs are made to be extremely efficient and to last a lifetime. 12W LED lights use 25% of the energy that conventional incandescent light bulbs use and they last 25 times longer.3 The next time one of your old bulbs busts or burns out replace it with a more energy-efficient LED bulb. It will save you time, energy and money in the long run. Plus, through the Efficiency Connection program, funded by CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, you can have all the LED light bulbs you need delivered right to your doorstep.
Quick fix #4 - Lower your water heater temperature
The manufacturer setting on most water heaters is 140° F. Turning the temperature down to 120° can help you save up to $60 a year.4 Don’t worry, 120° F is still hot enough to be sanitary. If you have a dual-element water heater, be sure to set both thermostats (each located behind an access door) to the same temperature. This will prevent one from being overworked, which can lead to a burnout. For added savings, install an electric water heater timer to prevent your water heater from running when not in use.
If you have an older water heater with an R-value less than 24, get a water heater jacket. This will provide insulation and help keep it from losing heat.
Quick fix #5- Use a smart thermostat
You might be thinking: Why a smart thermostat? Isn’t mine already programmable? Yes, your thermostat may be programmable, but smart thermostats like the Nest Learning ThermostatTM and Nest Thermostat E, take it to a whole other level. Since home heating and cooling are the biggest parts of your energy bill, smart thermostats help regulate these systems so they only run when needed and aren’t overworked. Many smart thermostats can even be controlled through an app so you can monitor and adjust settings right from your smartphone. Higher-end thermostats, including ones from Nest, even learn your behaviors and adjust automatically when you’re away. This prevents you from constantly tinkering with the temperature, causing systems to be overworked or run unnecessarily.
Quick fix #6 - Plug electronics into a power strip
Did you know that many electronics and appliances drain energy even they’re not in use? This type of energy usage is known as standby power or vampire power. Examples of electronics and appliances that use vampire power are your TV, microwave, computer, DVD player and cable box. In fact, many items that use a remote or have an LED display draw power simply by being plugged in. An easy and cheap way to slay these energy vampires is by plugging them into a power strip. A simple flip of the switch ensures all the devices are completely off and not using energy. It’s a good idea to purchase a few power strips for your living room, home office and bedroom so you can turn everything throughout your house off when not in use.
Quick fix #7 – Boost the efficiency of kitchen appliances
Have you ever noticed the eco button or setting on your dishwasher? Eco mode helps conserve energy by using cooler temperatures and less water, or by heating the water slowly over a longer duration as compared to standard appliance settings. So, how much does eco mode save? Using eco mode on your dishwasher can help cut energy consumption by up to 30%.5 You can also save energy by setting your fridge between 35° and 38° F and your freezer to 0°F, as recommended by energy.gov.6
When it comes to cooking, avoid using the oven when possible. Instead consider using the grill, toaster oven, microwave, crockpot, InstaPot, air fryer or griddle. You’ll save energy and don’t have to worry about heating up the house. If you do use the stovetop, be sure the reflectors are clean. This allows them to work optimally, reflecting heat upward toward the pans. For additional energy efficiency, match the size of the pan to the size of the burner so heat isn’t wasted.
Quick fix #8 - Seal up leaky exterior doors and windows
Even with adequate insulation, there are almost always cracks, fissures and gaps that need to be filled. Have you ever felt a draft when standing in front of your front or back door? Or maybe when you stand near certain windows? If so, energy is being wasted. These drafts are air leaks and left unrepaired, can be costly. The good news is that sealing up air leaks is simple and relatively inexpensive. All you need is a couple hours, weatherstripping, a door sweep and caulk. Keep in mind that weatherstripping is best suited for areas where moving parts are involved, whereas caulking is best suited for stationary areas, like around window frames. Both work by creating a tight seal to keep your home leak-free. A well-insulated and leak-free home helps reduce how hard your HVAC system works to maintain the temperature inside your home. This can potentially help you see big savings on your next energy bill.
Quick fix #9 - Get an HVAC tune-up
It probably comes as no surprise that your HVAC system is your home’s biggest energy consumer in your home. As mentioned earlier, heating and cooling account for 25% of your home’s electricity consumption. Making sure your HVAC system is running efficiently is essential. Getting an AC tune-up every spring and a heater tune-up every fall is ideal while the weather is moderate. Regular tune-ups ensure your AC and heater are ready for the dog days of summer and frigid winter temperatures.
Quick fix #10 – Be smart about landscaping
Yes, you can even conserve energy outdoors! Energy.gov reports that strategic landscaping can slash your home’s AC costs by 15%-50%.7 In hot-humid regions, like southwestern Texas, opt for deciduous trees like maple, elm or oak. They provide excellent shade in the summer, reducing heat gain. Plus, deciduous trees shed their leaves in the cooler fall temps, allowing the sun to provide natural warmth. For additional energy savings of up to 10%, shade your AC unit.8 Just be sure to keep the plants trimmed and your AC unit free of leaves, limbs and other falling debris or overgrowth. Finally, there are two things you can do to conserve water. Group plants with similar watering needs together, and only water your yard between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. or after the sun has gone down to avoid evaporation.
1Micheal Bluejay http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html
2U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner
3U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/how-energy-efficient-light-bulbs-compare traditional-incandescents