Whether your goal is to lower your utility bills or maybe you’re looking further down the road and have decided to “go green” there’s is no better place than to start at home. Going green in today’s environment is easier than ever as manufacturers have recognized this trend for several years and designing products that use less electricity. When lowering utility bills, some of the easiest things to do doesn’t mean going to the hardware store.
For many, it’s a matter of breaking a few bad energy habits. Turn off the lights when leaving the room and keep the window shades drawn. Don’t run the dishwasher unless there’s a full load and think of doing dishes by hand, one meal at a time. Wait until there’s a full load of laundry before turning on the washing machine. Also, when you do wash don’t use hot water when possible. All of these are simple, easy ways to keep those utility bills down during the hotter months. But the next time you’re at the hardware store, consider these energy efficient upgrades you can install on your own. And like Ben Franklin famously said, “A penny saved, is a penny earned.”
See another related topic on home upgrades to avoid.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs. If you’ve gone to the supermarket lately and remembered that one of your light bulbs have gone out, you might notice the store doesn’t stock the old-fashioned incandescent bulb. These bulbs give off a tremendous amount of heat and actually emit more energy in the form of heat than light. Instead, buy most any variety of energy efficient light bulbs. These new designs cost more than an incandescent bulb but can save more than $300 per year in energy costs.
Smart Thermostats. Most all new thermostats today are programmable which allows homeowners to control the temperature 24/7 from a smartphone. When leaving for work every morning, a smart thermostat will gently raise the temperature to a preset number. Perhaps the thermostat is set at 75 degrees overnight but then gently rises to 78 while you’re at the office. Later, the temperature begins to cool just before you arrive home. On average, a good programmable thermostat can save more than $100 per year.
LEDs. It seems almost every light source takes advantage of Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs. These tiny lights when grouped together provide varying degrees of lighting without all the heat produced from a traditional bulb. From hallway night lights to desk lamps to cabinet lighting, LEDs are extremely efficient and ultra-long lasting.
Solar Power. Outdoor lighting enhances a property’s appearance while at the same time providing a level of security. But advances in solar power over the years have made outdoor solar-powered path lights a money-saving enhancement. No electricity needed and they charge themselves during the day, an automatically turn on when the sun goes down. You can also brighten up the backyard with solar powered patio lights. No electricity needed.
Showerheads. Technology has also improved the low flow showerhead. For years, low flow showerheads meant just that…low flow. For those that want a vigorous shower, low flow showerheads just don’t do the trick. But you may not have seen the latest models. There are showerheads that use 75% less water but still packs a solid water flow.
Insulation. Depending upon the age of your house, you might very well need to check the insulation in your attic. Older homes have less efficient insulation materials. On average, adding new insulation with new, energy-saving materials can save more than $200 per year and something you can do on your own if you have easy access to the attic.
Caulking. Make sure your windows are sealed. Caulking ages over time and can shrink and eventually let cold air out and hot air in. Caulking material is cheap and sealing windows is an easy, efficient fix. And speaking of hot air in and cold air out, think about replacing your front and back doors with energy efficient models. Many doors are hollow inside and without any sort of insulation.
Energy Star. When looking at appliances, electronics or building products, look for items with the Energy Star rating. The Energy Star label will be prominently displayed on the packaging. Energy Stars are awarded for products that are tested and deemed to be energy efficient.
This information was provided by Coast 2 Coast Lending. Visit our mortgage blog to learn more home tips and plently of other mortgage related topics.