Home improvement tips for energy conservation
There are a few simple and inexpensive steps you can take to reduce energy costs in your home.
Revamp your water heater. You can do this by lowering the thermostat setting on your heater, but don’t go below 120 degrees F or you will find your water is too cold to bathe in. You can also try adding to the amount of insulation in your water heater. This will reduce the amount of heat lost by the unit, which can amount to quite a large portion, especially if your water heater is located in an unheated part of your home, such as a basement storage room. Make your own insulating blankets using fiberglass insulation and duct tape for a cost effective alternative to store bought insulators.
Secondly, consider wrapping your hot water pipes, especially if they run under your home or through an unheated basement. Pipes that aren’t insulated cause your water heater to have to work harder, resulting in higher energy costs. You can purchase pre-fitted pipe insulator sleeves at your local hardware store.
Consider replacing your furnace filters, or at least cleaning them out every few months. Furnace filters are inexpensive and easy to replace. Clogged, dirty filters reduce airflow, forcing the furnace to work harder. They are also a major fire hazard because dirty filters cause the furnace to overheat. You can purchase electrostatic filters, which do not need to be replaced as often. These types last for several years and you can get away with a simple cleaning once a month.
You might not notice on your monthly electric bill but over the span of one year, significant heat can be lost through cracks in the casings around windows and doors. Studies show that over a 12 month period, about 30% of total heat costs are due to heat being lost through cracks and crevices in sealants around doors and windows. Rather than watch your money slip away, pay immediate attention to visible cracks around windows and doors. If none are visible to the eye, hold a candle there on a windy day and if it blows out, attention is needed to repair the beaten weather stripping. You can purchase easy to install self-sticking weather stripping that are very affordable up front and contribute hugely to your home’s heating efficiency. Believe it or not, using heavy draperies, blinds or heavy wooden shutters on the insides of your windows doesn’t produce just an aesthetic effect. All types of window coverings aid in reducing your heat costs by insulating windows and keeping heat in.
There are a few changes one can make every day to help lower energy costs. Consider installing simple water-saving shower heads, which are inexpensive and help to reduce water consumption. Use your dryer and oven early in the morning or later at night when outside temperatures tend to be cooler, thus heating your home in the process. Use the appropriate burner for your pot size. The larger the surface area, the more heat that is lost if a small pan is used. Be aware of using that exhaust fan in your bathroom or above the stove in the winter months as they can sometimes haul the heat from your house. During the winter, use your ceiling fan on its lowest speed and in a clockwise direction. This helps to push the warm air downward but is not fast enough to generate a cool breeze.