Conserving energy changes with the seasons. There are many different steps you can take as the temperature fluctuates to keep your energy bills down and still keep your home comfortable.
A great way to save energy, at no-cost and minimal labour, is to take a trip around the inside of your house to be sure all the windows are locked. The locks on casement windows draw the sash closer to the frame (in the case of double-hung windows, they’re closer together in the middle), and that compresses the weather-stripping, creating a more airtight seal. Windows are designed to provide light and ventilation. They should also seal well in order to prevent air and water leakage. If your windows aren’t locked when they’re not open, you’re not using one of the features that contribute to their energy performance.
The cost of heating water may amount to as much as 15 to 20 percent of your entire utility bill. Setting your water heater’s temperature in the 130-degree range requires less energy to heat and to hold the water. Every 10 degrees you dial down the thermostat can knock 3 to 5 percent off your water-heating bill.
HVAC experts estimate that for every degree the thermostat is dialed down, you can save 1-3 percent on your heating or cooling utility bill. And when you count up the many hours you’re either in bed or the home is not occupied, there is considerable potential for savings. For an investment of $40 to $100, these thermostats can be programmed to automatically dial down the heat at a certain time at night or when you’re away from the house and to turn it up again before you awake in the morning or arrive home.
Electricity consumed for lighting typically constitutes just under 10 percent of the household energy budget. Replace frequently used incandescent lights with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs which are long-lasting and use about one-third of the power required to produce the same amount of light that is produced by a standard incandescent bulb.
Older versions of CFLs had a few problems, such as unattractive colored light, noise, flickering, and slow startup. Those issues have largely been resolved in the bulbs currently on the market. The price of CFLs has fallen in recent years as well, from double digits to under three dollars each when purchased in multi-packs or on sale. That’s still more than incandescents, but with a projected bulb life of as much as 10,000 hours compared to an incandescent’s 800 to 1,000.
Check the settings on your appliances. Refrigerator and freezer temperatures can be set using an accurate thermometer and the easy-to-find controls inside the refrigerator compartment. Set the refrigerator to 36 to 38 degrees, and the freezer to 0 to +5. Anything lower than that is wasted. If you are thinking of buying a new refrigerator, consider energy savings in your buying decision. Look for the EnerGuide label when making your next refrigerator purchase. Also, look for ENERGY STAR® models. ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerators exceed minimum federal energy efficiency standards for energy consumption by at least 10 per cent, which will save you more money in the long run.
While the main goal here is to save energy and reduce your costs you still need to maximize your personal comfort. I have only mentioned a fraction of the ways to reduce your home energy use, for more great tips and ideas click here. By combining simple steps you can make a dramatic difference in your energy bills.