Conserving the energy to stretch your budget is one of the most cost-effective and smart money moves today. There are several ways you can make adjustments to conserve energy from a wide range of simple behavioral adjustments to home improvements.
The two major motives for conserving energy is simply to save more on the utility bills, which typically cost an average American $400 on a monthly basis, and to protect the environment.
Top 8 Ways to Conserve Energy
Any savvy homeowner who is looking to trim their monthly expenses should take advantage of these top 8 cost-effective ways to conserve energy. In this article, I am going to share top 8 easy and common methods to conserve energy and stretch your budget.
1. Replace your old thermostat with a smart thermostat
Installing a programmable smart thermostat that can automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling during times like when you are sleeping or away. A smart thermostat will be able to eliminate wasteful energy use from heating and cooling.
On average, a smart and programmable thermostat will trim $180 per year. Replacing your old thermostat with a smart thermostat is not expensive at all and they all come in various models that can fit your weekly schedule.
In addition to that, the smart thermostats come with indicators when the air filters need to be replaced or if there are any problems with the HVAC system. The smart thermostats have proven to be effective at regulating efficiency of heating and cooling systems.
2. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Did you know that traditional incandescent light bulbs eat up a lot of electricity and need to be replaced more often compared to their energy-efficient counterparts? Instead, you can use halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights and light-emitting diode bulbs to consume 25% – 80% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer.
While the energy-efficient light bulbs tend to cost more money compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs, the energy-efficient light bulbs last longer which means they cost less in the long run. Energy-efficient light bulbs are the clear winners when it comes to minimizing impact on the environment and has financial benefits.
3. Install solar panels for your home
One of the smart money moves you can do right now to conserve energy is install solar panels at the roof of your home. The solar panels generate free energy that powers your home and reduces the amount of electricity consumption from your utility company.
On average for 20 years, solar panels can save you between $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the area where you live and how much solar exposure you get. Solar saving estimator is a great free tool that helps assess how much savings you will get by installing the panels.
4. Use smart power strips
Electronics that are in standby mode are a huge source of energy waste. Whenever your electronics are in standby, they are still consuming electricity which can drive up your utility bill. Around 75% of the household electronics still consume electricity when they are switched off which can easily cost you $200 per year.
To counter this, you can purchase smart power strips, which is known as advanced power strips. These strips will eliminate the issues with phantom loads by shutting off the power to electronics when they are not in use.
Additionally, the smart power strips can be adjusted to set off at specific time via remote switches, period of inactivity or based on the status of a “master” device. We recommend checking out these smart power strips to get started.
5. Use energy-efficient windows
Most homeowners probably don’t know about this, but windows are one of the biggest sources of energy waste. Single-pane windows are responsible for losing heat in your home which can easily amount up to 10 – 25% of your total heating bill.
To reduce the energy waste from heating, you need to replace all of the single-pane windows to double-pane ones. The double-pane windows serve as a barrier that separates internal temperature and external temperature, which ensures a regulated environment in your home.
For those homeowners who are living in cold regions, these windows should be gas-filled with low-e coating to further reduce heating expenses. Additionally interior and exterior storm windows can help minimize the amount of energy waste from heating by roughly 10 – 20%.
But if you are one of these homeowners who lives in warmer climates, gaining heat might be a problem for you. To remedy this issue, the windows should come with low-e coating to minimize the amount of heat gain by deflecting more light and reduce the amount of thermal energy diffused in your home.
Window shades, screens, shutters and awnings also are great energy conservation. They provide an additional layer of insulation between your home and external temperatures.
6. Minimize your water heating expenses
Hot water is a major contribution to your overall utility bill and energy consumption. Other than purchasing an energy-efficient water heater, there are several ways you can do to minimize your water heating expenses:
- First, you can use less hot water and use only when you need to wash the dishes, your hands, or take a shower after applying hygiene products.
- Secondly, you can turn down the thermostat on your water heater to an acceptable number you will be comfortable with.
- Third, insulate your water heater and the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes.
Most homes are already equipped with smart energy-efficient water heaters nowadays. But if you are looking to upgrade your water heater, you need to consider these two factors: the type of water heater and type of fuel that it needs.
Energy-efficient water heaters can easily save between 8% to 300% more energy and reduce your overall water heating expenses. Also, they have a service life between 10 to 15 years which can be beneficial in terms of how much savings you will get back from water heating.
7. Weatherize your home
Weatherizing your home means to seal the leaks around your home. This is an effective way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. The most common sources of air leaks in your home are vents, windows and doors.
To prevent these leaks, you need to make sure there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window or door frame. You can seal the air leaks on stationary objects by applying caulk.
If there are cracks between moving objects like doors and windows, you can install weather stripping. Both caulking and weather stripping are basic air sealing techniques that usually give you greater return on investments in less than a year.
The air leaks typically come from the interior of your home such as an attic that has small openings. Which means you need to inspect ducts, light fixtures, and attic hatch as the hot air will rise and escape through small openings.
These small openings can shoot your heating bill high if the attic isn’t well insulated. To maximize your savings from energy conservation, you need to fully insulate your home.
8. Adjust your day-to-day behaviors
While all of these energy-efficient ways that I just listed to conserve energy requires replacing or upgrading to a cost-effective product. One of the easiest ways to further conserve energy is adjusting your day-to-day behaviors.
For some of us, it is going to be hard and that’s why if you want to get the most savings out of utility bills then you need to change your behaviors. This involves turning off lights and appliances when you do not need them.
In addition to that, you can perform household tasks manually such as hang-drying your clothes or washing the dishes by hand. Unplugging the electronics that are currently in standby mode like toaster, microwave and such to conserve energy.
But one simple behavior adjustment that will have the most impact on your utility bill is turning down the heat during winter time and using an air conditioner less in the summer. Heating tends to make up for almost half of an average home’s utility bill.
Therefore, these behavior changes like minimizing the intensity and frequency of heating and cooling comes with greater potential savings.
Why Should You Conserve Energy?