7 Tips for Reducing Your Home Energy Usage

June 2, 2020

Everyone likes to save money. Some areas of expense cannot be easily adjusted, such as your garbage pickup fee or your medical copays. However, there are also many areas in which you can save money by reducing your energy usage. Many things that are fun or add ease and comfort inside your home take energy to run, but the amount of needed energy is based on actual use. By reducing energy usage, you can reduce costs. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can lessen your energy consumption in your home by careful forethought and planning.

1. Switching off the Electrical Appliances

The most obvious and easiest way to reduce energy usage in your home is by turning off anything that uses electricity when you are not using it. Turn off any lights and fans when you leave a room and utilize the energy-saving modes on your computer and attached equipment.

Many of your items in the home, like your TV, will use a small amount of electricity even when turned off. Other culprits can be the mobile devices that you leave plugged in after they are fully charged. Unplugging these items at the source and using power strips to turn off multiple items can help from wasting unneeded electricity.

2. Adjusting Your Thermostat

Your thermostat can become your best friend in your quest to save energy. The EPA estimates that just turning back your thermostat settings seven to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day when you are away can save up to 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling energy usage. These savings will be more evident in milder climates than in extreme climates. The closer your thermostat setting is to the real temperature outside, the less energy your heating and cooling system will use.

For the hours you are at home in the winter, set the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during your waking hours, and set it lower while you are asleep or away from home. During the summer months, set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home and higher for the hours you are away. Try setting it as high as possible while still controlling the humidity levels in the home.

Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will help you avoid discomfort by returning the temperature to its normal setting before you awake or return home. You can set a programmable thermostat for designated times, and you can also manage a smart thermostat remotely with an app on your mobile device. For your convenience, Brennan Electric provides many electrical services for your home in Seattle, including replacing thermostats.

3. Installing Thermal Curtains

Installing thermal curtains for your windows is an excellent way to conserve energy. These heat-blocking curtains act as a line of defense between the outside environment and the interior of your home. In the summer, thermal curtains will block solar rays and minimize the heat that enters through the glass window panes. During the winter, heat is lost to the outside through convection and conduction processes. Thermal curtains will serve as a barrier that insulates the heated interior against the cold air outside.

You can reduce the loss of energy around your windows by as much as 25 percent, depending on the thickness and type of material of these curtains. Windows are a large entry source of the heat that enters your home in the summer. Some estimates indicate that up to 30 percent of the heat that penetrates through to the interior from outside comes through the windows.

The insulating properties of thermal curtains are rated in R-values. The higher the R-value number, the better the material is at blocking the transfer of the heat in or out. Traditional curtains will typically have a value of R-1. Thermal curtains may have a rating as high as R-6. By using heat-blocking curtains, you can potentially save as much as seven percent on your energy usage.

4. Utilizing the Ceiling Fans

It is a common misconception that using ceiling fans will help cool a room. This is not strictly true, as ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. However, by cooling the people in a room during the summer months, you will be able to comfortably have the thermostat for your cooling system set a little higher as a result and thus save on energy costs. Running ceiling fans uses less energy than running a typical air conditioning system. Always remember to turn off the fans when you leave the room.

5. Consider the Laundry, Dishes and the Fridge

You can save money by changing your habits when you are doing the laundry. By being purposeful with this task, you can use less energy when washing and drying your clothes. You can accomplish this by washing your clothes in cooler water, choosing the shortest cycle that will still clean efficiently, and always running a full load each time. Air-dry clothes if you can and only run the dryer when necessary.

If you have a dishwasher, you can save energy by running a full load of dishes each time and by using the shortest cycle that is practical. The refrigerator uses a good amount of energy maintaining your food safely, but there are ways to save energy with this necessary appliance. First, set the thermostat between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the refrigerator and at five degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer compartment. Keep the refrigerator full in order to have less interior air space to cool but be careful not to overfill the compartment and block the circulating air. Make sure your food is well-covered so as not to release additional moisture, which will make the compressor work harder.

6. Cooking Smartly

Using the oven not only uses energy to heat the large interior, but it also raises the temperature in your kitchen. Use a smaller toaster oven as much as possible and utilize other appliances, like your crockpot, air cooker, or instant pot for preparing and cooking meals. If you do use the oven, cook several items at once if possible.

7. Insulating and Sealing Your Home

It may be that your home needs more insulation, especially if it is an older home. The EPA advises that most homeowners can save up to 11 percent of the total home energy costs by adding insulation in the walls and in the roof. For colder climates, these energy savings can be up to 20 percent in reduced energy savings. You can also keep air from escaping or entering your home by sealing any cracks around the windows and doors.

Brennan Electric has been providing expert electrical services to Seattle and the Puget Sound areas for over 30 years. We pride ourselves on our commitment to excellent work and courteous customer service. We can install and repair any type of electrical units, wiring, and equipment, and our technicians are fully up to date on all training. When you need assistance, we can provide solutions. To learn more about our services, call Brennan Electric in Seattle today.

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