4 Simple Home Swaps for Lower Energy Use
Many homeowners believe that they have little choice about how much money they must spend on their electric bills. They think that they have limited options because of various common factors that influence energy usage, such as the size of their homes and seasonal temperatures in their geographic locations. Yet, you don’t have to settle for the amount that you see on your average bill every month. A wide variety of technologies exist that can help lower energy costs. Consider the following easy changes that you can make around your home:
A home’s lights are typically a huge source of power consumption. People often buy light bulbs that use too much energy and forget to shut off lights when they go to bed or away for work or vacation. You can fix both of these problems with two simple swaps: Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs that use less energy than CFLs. Additionally, invest in light dimmers, timer switches and sunlight sensors. Dimmers can reduce the energy needed to run LED bulbs when you turn down the lights. Timers turn off the lights at a specific preset time. Sunlight sensors automatically switch off bulbs during the day.
A lot of appliances and electronics consume power even when you’re not using them because they’re designed to remain in standby mode. Some devices also have internal clocks backed up by batteries that recharge while in standby. This type of power usage is referred to as a vampire power drain or an electricity leak. To save energy and money, swap out regular surge protectors that you’ve attached to these devices with timer-style ones. Surge protectors that feature timers block access to power after so much time of non-use has passed or at a preset time of day or night.
Some people change thermostat settings based on how they feel at any particular moment. Unnecessary power usage occurs when they forget to re-adjust the settings later. Multiple people in a home manually controlling the thermostat compound the problem. Also, some people use temperature estimates to set their thermostats before leaving home and later discover that the estimates were wrong. To reduce these incidents, swap out your existing thermostat with a smart home temperature-monitoring one that adjusts heating and cooling systems automatically based on both your settings and real-time outdoor temperatures. Pick a thermostat that also offers remote app access so you can make additional adjustments as needed even when you’re not at home.
Homeowners often waste energy on cooling costs because they invest in the wrong types of window coverings. To decrease the amount of sunlight and associated heat that enters their homes from windows, many people use curtains. Fabric can absorb heat. It can also block cool air from entering your home. Invest in better options to reflect heat away and maintain air flow. Swap out your existing window coverings with shutters that you can adjust manually or automatically with a timer. Shutters also make it possible for you to reduce electric light usage by illuminating the interior of your home with indirect sunlight.
Of course, there are plenty of other less simple swaps you can make in your home to lower energy beyond the four mentioned here. For example, you might replace older appliances in the kitchen or old wiring in the walls with newer, energy-efficient options. Make a list of your ideas and start with the simple ones today. As time and your budget allows, move on to the less simple ones that can provide you with long-term energy savings.