As winter’s cold temperatures make your home a bit chilly inside, you’ve been cranking up the heat to keep your family warm. And because winter isn’t the best time for outdoor activities, everyone has been spending extra time watching shows and surfing on the computer. Thus testing how energy efficient your home really is.
Your family’s increased power consumption often means a higher electric bill, and you’d like to begin reversing that trend right now. By making your Murphy, NC home more energy efficient, you’ll save money over the long term. As an added bonus, you’ll reduce the demand on your power generation company’s resources. To get the ball rolling, follow these simple strategies that contribute to positive results.
KEEP THE COLD AIR OUTSIDE
During our region’s colder months, you’re focused on keeping your home comfortably warm, without spending a fortune in the process. You’ve tried to be conservative with the heat pump, and maybe you’ve been running the gas fireplace as well. So, don’t allow subpar windows and/or doors to sabotage your efforts.
Button Up Your Drafty Windows. If your home’s windows have gaps larger than ⅛ inch, seal those leaks by placing adhesive-fitted closed-cell foam onto the window sash’s bottom. Or, tape bubblewrap over the entire window, creating a plastic barrier that’s surprisingly effective.
Seal Your Home’s Leaky Doors. To decrease cold air intrusion through your doors, apply foam strips on each door’s top and sides. To finish the job, place a door sweep on the bottom.
REDUCE YOUR HVAC AND LIGHTING BILLS
Keeping your home toasty warm in the winter, and pleasantly cool in the spring and summer, just makes life more enjoyable. And when you’re relaxing inside with your family, you create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with your interior lighting and accent lamps. However, your comfortable, well-lit home could be contributing to a higher electric bill. Fortunately, you can make several small changes that will help to get your electric expenses under control.
Fine-Tune the Climate Control System. To stay warmer during the winter, set your ceiling fans to rotate in a clockwise direction. Reversing the air flow helps to push warm air downward toward your living space. And while blades are stopped, wipe them down to eliminate any dust. Also, turning the thermostat down to 55 degrees at night will give your heat pump (and your budget) a break.
During the warmer months, minimize your air conditioning expenses by setting the thermostat at 78 degrees, especially when you’re away from home. Or, if it’s not excessively warm, run your ceiling fans instead to maximize air flow without placing demands on the heat pump.
Turn Down Your Light Consumption. To quickly and painlessly decrease your lighting costs, simply turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you’ve been leaving lights on when you’re away from home, consider putting them on easily managed timers.
In addition, consider trading your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the curly-shaped bulbs derived from tube-shaped fluorescent lights. An Energy Star-compliant CFL uses one-fourth the energy, and lasts ten times longer, than a similar incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of light. Although each CFL costs more than an incandescent bulb, you’ll typically recoup that cost in less than nine months,
DECREASE YOUR HOME’S POWER USAGE
Powering up your computer, TV, and household appliances is as easy as flipping a switch. When you’re finished, you hit the “Off” button and walk away, assuming that the device’s power consumption has stopped.
However, if each piece of equipment is still plugged in, it’s racking up charges on your electric meter. This “standby power” usage costs you more than you realize. In fact, standby power makes up 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy usage, with the average American household shelling out $100 per year. However, here’s some good news: you can easily reduce your standby power consumption, which will translate into savings over time.
Use a Switch-Equipped Power Strip. Install a power strip with On/Off switches for your electronic devices and other equipment. In your living room, for example, use a power strip for the TV and DVD player. Place another power strip near your computer, printer, paper shredder, and desk lamp. By plugging all equipment into an adjacent power strip, and turning off the power strip switch when those devices are idle, you’ll stop their electrical power consumption.
Unplug Your Power-Consuming Products. By simply unplugging your household devices when they’re not needed, you guarantee that they won’t add to the electric bill. While you wouldn’t want to unplug the refrigerator or home alarm system, for example, consider using this tactic on the microwave or bread machine.
Run Full Loads in the Washer and Dishwasher. Washers and dishwashers are the epitome of convenience. Several times a week, you hit the “On” switch, and clean clothes, dishes, and flatware appear in a couple of hours. However, if you run your appliances without full loads, it reduces their efficiency and costs you considerable money.
First, let’s say you throw a few things into the washer, and choose the appliance’s “Small Load” setting. Surprisingly, the machine will use almost as much water and energy as a full load of clothes. By running full laundry loads rather than half loads, your household could save up to 3,400 gallons of water annually, according to the United States Department of Energy. Speaking of energy savings, running one large load of laundry saves you roughly 25 percent to 50 percent of the energy used by two small loads. Even better, these water and energy savings translate into extra cash for your family.
Use a similar strategy to operate the dishwasher more efficiently. Although one full load consumes more water and energy than a half load, that single large load uses considerably less water and energy compared to two half loads. So, consistently pack the dishwasher full, and you’ll gradually reduce your water and energy expenses over time.
With this easy-to-follow blueprint, you can make your Murphy, NC home more energy efficient. Over time, you’ll likely see a smaller electric bill, giving you extra cash for home projects and enjoyable family activities.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team