How to Reduce Your Energy Usage Without Making Any Real Changes

How to Reduce Your Energy Usage Without Making Any Real Changes

How to Reduce Your Energy Usage Without Making Any Real Changes

Audit Your Home’s Energy Use

The first step is to understand where and how you are using energy in your home. Here are some ways to audit your home’s energy use:

  • Review your utility bills – Look at your electricity, natural gas, and any other utility bills to see when your usage peaks. This can help identify major energy drains.

  • Conduct an appliance audit – Make a list of all electric appliances and devices in your home. For major appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, check the EnergyGuide labels for estimated yearly energy use data.

  • Check for air leaks – On a windy day, carefully run your hands along windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, attic hatches, etc. to check for drafts. Use caulk and weatherstripping to seal leaks.

  • Inspect insulation – Check the attic, walls, crawl spaces, and basement for proper insulation. Adding insulation can help reduce heating and cooling costs.

  • Do an HVAC check – Inspect the heating, venting and air conditioning system. Replace filters, get maintenance checks, and consider upgrades to more efficient models.

  • Examine lighting – Note where you use incandescent bulbs that could be switched to LEDs. Also consider adding timers, motion sensors, and dimmers to reduce lighting energy waste.

Adjust Thermostat Set Points

Adjusting your thermostat, even by a couple degrees, can reduce HVAC energy use significantly. Here are some tips:

  • In the winter, set the thermostat to 68°F or lower during the daytime, and around 60°F at night.

  • In the summer, set the thermostat to 78°F or higher during the day. Use a programmable thermostat to raise temperatures at night and when away.

  • Change filters monthly and get regular maintenance check-ups to keep the HVAC system running efficiently.

  • Avoid drastic thermostat setback temperatures that make the HVAC system work too hard to reach the desired temp. Gradual changes are better.

  • Use a smart thermostat that learns your schedule and preferences and automatically adjusts itself to be more energy efficient.

Improve Water Heating Efficiency

Water heating accounts for 14-18% of home energy bills. Try these tips:

  • For electric water heaters, set the temperature to 120°F. For gas water heaters, 115°F is ideal.

  • Install heat traps on hot and cold water lines to reduce standby heat losses.

  • Insulate exposed hot water pipes to avoid heat loss.

  • Limit shower lengths to 5-7 minutes max with a water-efficient showerhead.

  • Fix any leaky faucets promptly. Drops of hot water loss add up.

  • When replacing your water heater, choose an ENERGY STAR certified model for maximum efficiency.

  • For solar options, consider installing a solar water heating system.

Seal Air Leaks, Add Insulation and Ventilation

Sealing air leaks and adding proper insulation and ventilation can improve home energy efficiency:

  • Find and seal air leaks – Use caulk and weatherstripping around doors, windows, outlets, etc.

  • Add attic insulation – Most homes should have at least R-38 attic insulation.

  • Inspect wall insulation – Consider adding insulation to unfinished walls or exterior walls.

  • Add house wrap barriers – Install exterior wind barriers and insulation wraps.

  • Seal ductwork – Use mastic sealant on duct joints and insulate ducts.

  • Add ceiling fans – Use ENERGY STAR ceiling fans to circulate air and reduce HVAC runtime.

  • Install humidity-controlled bath fans – Properly ventilate bathrooms and kitchens.

Switch to Efficient Lighting

Some easy lighting changes that SAVE ENERGY:

  • Switch out any incandescent light bulbs for LEDs. They use at least 75% less energy.

  • Use natural daylighting whenever possible by opening blinds.

  • Add lighting controls like occupancy sensors, timers, and dimmers.

  • Choose ENERGY STAR certified fluorescent lighting.

  • Use task lighting to focus light where needed instead of brightly lighting an entire room.

  • Paint walls and ceilings light colors to reflect and distribute natural daylight.

  • Dust light fixtures regularly to maximize light output.

Unplug Appliances and Electronics

Unplugging unused electronics and chargers can avoid “vampire” standby power losses:

  • Unplug phone and laptop chargers when not in use.

  • Use power strips to easily unplug groups of items like home entertainment systems.

  • Unplug unused appliances like toasters, coffee makers and microwaves.

  • Turn off computers, monitors, printers, routers, and modems when not in use.

  • Enable energy saving modes on electronics like TVs and game consoles.

  • Check for ENERGY STAR ratings when buying new electronics and appliances.

  • Regularly unplug and inspect refrigerators and freezers to check for efficiency.

  • Ensure windows and doors are closed near room air conditioners when not in use.

Change Behaviors and Habits

With some habit adjustments, you can reduce home energy consumption:

  • Wash full loads in your dishwasher and clothes washer. Avoid half-loads.

  • Air dry dishes instead of using heated dry cycles. Open the dishwasher door after washing.

  • Hang dry laundry when possible instead of using the clothes dryer.

  • Cook efficiently by using lids, cutting food small, and using precise burner sizes on stove tops.

  • Take short showers – aim for 5 minute showers to reduce hot water use.

  • Adjust your thermostat – make slight thermostat adjustments to save energy based on occupancy and time of day.

  • Turn off lights whenever you leave a room. Reduce usage with switches, occupancy sensors, and timers.

Summary

In summary, conducting home energy audits, upgrading appliances and devices, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, adjusting thermostats, improving water heating efficiency, changing lighting, unplugging electronics, and modifying habits and behaviors can add up to BIG energy reductions without sacrificing comfort or convenience! With some smart efficiency tactics, we can all do our part to conserve energy.