9 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home and Lower Power Bills

How to reduce energy at home has gradually become a household desire as a result of high definition T.V.'s and homes the size of a castle. Throw in a struggling economy and the melt down of a nuclear plant and becoming more energy efficient seems like a great idea.

Our power bills rise as a result of increasing power costs and the need for more and more power to operate are power hungry homes and our power dependent lifestyles. Becoming energy smart and working to control energy usage and energy waste is our defense against those hefty power bills.

Here are 9 steps you can take to answer the question, How to Reduce Energy at Home.

1. Hang on to Your Power Bill.

Your power bill has a lot of information on it that you need to have to assess your homes power usage. You don't have to worry about how you're going to monitor the power you use throughout the year, your power company already has that information available. Your power bill tells you how many therms of Natural Gas and how many kilowatt hours of electricity you used last month and how it compares to the same month a year earlier.

Some households will need to hold onto the power bills that come in the mail and some can access that information from their power company on-line. It is important as household energy reduction programs are undertaken, that a years record of power consumption is available.

Tip: Ask your power company if they are participating in the Green Button program. The Green Button program allows people to access their energy usage on-line.

2. Welcome a Change in Lifestyle.

You can no longer conduct yourself in your home like you did when electricity was 3 cents a kilowatt hour and the only electric appliance you had in your home, other than the Frigidaire, was a light bulb.

Lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce energy consumption and to avoid wasting energy. It will take a greening of the mind and a conscious effort to follow desired energy saving practices.

Tip: Start with something simple like turning off lighting when not needed and setting back the thermostat at night and when your away at work.

3. Conduct an Energy Audit. You'll Learn How to Reduce Energy at Home

An energy audit of your home will help guide energy saving measures. A home energy audit will identify areas of energy waste and what measures you should address first to save the most energy on a cost-effect bases.

To start the home energy audit process, have your home assessed on-line. It's free and it will offer valuable information. There is a number of web-sites that have home energy audit calculators that you can use. The first place to look for an on-line assessment program is your power companies website.

Tip: Your power company may have an on-line audit program or they may even offer a free home visit from an energy auditor. Give your power company a call.

4. Weatherization is Cost Effective. Now This is How to Reduce Energy at Home.

Usually, the most cost-effective method of reducing energy usage and lowering power bills is through weatherization measures. Whether you live in a cold climate and need to keep the cold weather outside or you live in a warm climate and need to keep the hot weather outside, weatherization measures offer the help you need.

Air Sealing:

Your home has more holes in it than you know. Air sealing these holes offers the air barrier you need to separate the outdoor climate from the indoor climate.

Insulation:

Adding insulation to your homes building shell - the ceiling, floor, and walls, - strengthens your homes thermal barrier and offers defense against heat loss or heat gain because of radiation, conduction, and convection.

Tip: Low-income households can get weatherization help through Community Action Programs. Ask your power company if there is a home weatherization, Community Action Program in your area.

5. Heating & Cooling Efficiency.

Upgrading your heating and cooling system to a more energy efficient source can save energy for years to come. There is no reason for any home to have a $400 dollar electric bill anymore. Air source and ground source heat pumps have greatly increased energy efficient in the last ten years. Ductless heat pumps provide heating and cooling for a fraction of the cost of baseboard heaters, resistant ceiling heat, or electric wall heaters.

The 70% efficient gas furnace of the 1970's has been updated to the 95% efficient gas furnaces available today. Heating and Cooling Contractors are available to visit your home and discuss the options available that best fit your home and your needs.

Tip: Before upgrading central heating or cooling equipment, have the supply and return ducts sealed against air leakage. No use wasting all that efficiently conditioned air through ducts that leak.

6. Water Heater, too Often Forgotten

The only time we pay attention to our water heater is right after a cold shower. After all, the water heater is often located in a mostly hidden location, it doesn't make any noise, and it doesn't have any bells and whistles. The water heater is often the #2 energy user in our homes and therefore, when we're attempting to reduce energy use, needs to have some attention directed it's way.

If your water heater is leaking water from the tank, replace it right away and pay attention to the energy efficiency rating of the new water heater. If your water heater is not leaking, do these two energy saving measures:

Adjust water temperature:

The most energy efficient water temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a gas water heater, adjusting the temperature is easy with the dial on the water heater gas valve. If your water heater is electric, you will need to remove the element covers to adjust the temperature. It is best to turn the electricity off at the circuit panel before attempting this adjustment.

Water Heater Blanket:

Your water heater maybe insulated already, but additional insulation blanket around the outside will save energy. Read the owners manual for your water heater and follow the directions. Water heater blankets are available at most building stores, the blanket will also contain written instructions for it's installation.

7. Appliance Upgrades Save Energy

Microwaves heat food more efficiently than a range. New refrigerators use less energy than ones manufactured 10 years ago. New clothes washing machines use less energy and less water. Clothes dryers with moisture sensors, turn off when clothes are dry. New surge protector power strips can stop phantom power loss.

When replacing an old appliance or shopping for a new one, remember to look for the Energy Star Label.

8. Lighting Technology

You will be surprised at the number of light bulbs you have in your home. Take a guess at the number and then go around yur home and count each one. Most people are surprised to realize how many light bulbs their home actually has.

For those lighting fixtures you use the most and are left on the longest, compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs can save significant energy. There is a CFL bulb designed for every light fixture in the home.

9. Renewable Energy

Homes with renewable energy sources like solar electric and wind turbines, not only produce energy but also save more energy. There seems to be a connection between the desire to produce renewable energy and the awareness to reduce energy use. So, one good way to save energy is to produce the energy your saving.

If your considering a renewable energy system, the first thing you will want to do is contact your power company. Your power company knows more about renewable energy than you might think.

These are the 9 steps on How to Reduce Energy at Home. Reducing energy use does not require large sacrifices nor a degree in electrical engineering, it simply requires energy use awareness and a power bill that has the ability to open your eyes.

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Tags: How, air, efficiency, energy, home, insulation, reduce, sealing, to, weatherization

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Comment by Lee Price on July 11, 2012 at 5:30am

Insulation and Renewable energy sources are both massive contributors to increasing energy efficiency and, with recent Government grants and the upcoming Green Deal, there is no reason not to at least look into it. Domestic & General can provide Home Insulation solutions in conjunction with such grants if need be.

Comment by Landon White on June 27, 2012 at 8:09am

Thanks for the great article. I really need to follow all 9 of these steps. I just had my AC unit replaced, which made a huge difference, but I'd like to reduce my energy even more.

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