In the first post with tips 1-5 we took a brief look at what you can do on the exterior, windows and plumbing of your home to be more energy efficient. In this post I will focus more on the appliances and fixtures of your home to make it more energy efficient. Having an energy efficient home can save you money every month and you don’t necessarily need to change your lifestyle to do it.
When you research how to be energy efficient there are so many tips on the internet that it can give you a headache. Some are practical, others are just confusing! I wanted to give a straight forward list that is easy to do and doesn’t break your wallet. Some things on this list cost you nothing to incorporate into your home, just a small change in your daily routine. Lets dig in.
6. Energy Efficient Home: Shower heads
Lowering the amount of water used in your home can save you a bundle. The shower is where we use the most water. Most standard shower heads push out 4 gallons per minute. That is about 40 gallons for a ten minute shower times the amount of people in your home and how many times a week you shower. That could come to 15,000 gallons a year for one family. That is a lot of water! What if I told you that a one time $20-$50 purchase could save you up to half the water a year! Installing a good quality low flow shower head can greatly reduce your water usage.
There is a lot of controversy on if a low flow shower head is really worth it. Angi.com has some great information on low flow shower heads that may help with your decision. If the low flow shower head is not for you, consider shortening your time in the shower by half.
7. Energy Efficient Lighting Controls and Light bulbs.
Another big energy user in your home is lighting. Use natural lighting when possible. Consider replacing your light bulbs with LED bulbs or fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent bulbs have come a long way and you can get ones that give off more of a natural light or light more like the incandescent light bulbs. They also can last 10 times longer than the incandescent bulbs that are most likely in your home.
There are always advantages and disadvantages to saving energy. Fluorescent lighting does help with energy efficiency, but there are some disadvantages to using them.
Disadvantage: The fluorescent lamp contains a small amount of mercury liquid inside of it, which is converted into a mercury vapor when the lamp is turned on and is what allows the lamb to make light. The amount of mercury in the lamp is very small. However, it is a poisonous substance and should be treated carefully if the lamp is ever broken or goes out.
Disadvantage/advantage: Seemingly high cost is also a disadvantage to the fluorescent bulbs. But, since the bulbs last significantly longer than the incandescent bulbs the cost does end up being less expensive.
Advantage: One of the best benefits of fluorescent lighting comes from its energy efficiency. The energy savings can be up to 35% when compared to conventional light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs also do not put out much heat like the traditional bulbs do. So it shouldn’t burn you when changing it out. It also helps keep the room at a cooler temperature!
I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to remind my children to turn off the lights! You can purchase a light switch with a timer or one with a motion sensor from most most home improvement stores. Then you can set to shut off after 1-15 minutes, or just walk in the room! Or you can be like me and just keep reminding your kids to turn the lights off. One day they may just remember!
A great way to save energy is to dress appropriately for the temperature. Wear a sweater around your home so you can keep the thermostat at a lower temperature during the winter and wear shorts and t-shirt during the summer. The less your cooler or heater has to work the more energy you can save. If the weather is nice out, open a window or door. Fresh air will do you good I promise!
9. Energy Efficient Washing Machine.
Whenever possible, wash your clothes with cold water. Cold water is fine for most types of clothing and most stains will come out by using cold water. Not all stains will be removed when using hot water, such as sweat. The warmer water may even set the stain into the fabric, making it harder to remove later. Cold water washing also means clothing is less likely to shrink or fade and ruin your clothes. In addition, cold water can reduce wrinkles which then saves energy on ironing.
It is estimated that 75-90% of the energy your washer uses is to heat up the water.
Of course you can’t always use cold water to clean your clothes. There are some fabrics that may not do so well in the cold wash. If you are unsure, you can check the tags on your clothes. This should tell you if they should only to be washed in hot water. GE appliances has a great list and rules on clothes labels and what they mean. The statistics about the energy usage was also found in this article.
10. Energy Efficient Home Air Filters.
Your air filters for the cooling/heating systems should be changed every month or every three months depending on where you live. Most units have a disposable filter. However, you can also get a reusable one. Changing filters often makes your equipment work easier and more efficiently. A clean air filter is an efficient one! You can read more about air filters here!
- Switch to low flow shower heads or spend less time in the shower.
- Switch your incandescent bulbs out with LED or fluorescent bulbs.
- Wear weather appropriate clothing.
- Wash your clothes with cold water.
- Change or clean your air filters often.