Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes.

Healthy Home

Save Money by Using Less Energy

October 01, 2013

Low Energy LightbulbWhen I change the light bulbs in my home, am I REALLY making a difference in reducing energy costs?

The answer is YES

During the month of October, we celebrate “Energy Awareness Month.”  It is a time to promote energy awareness and energy savings, and learn what we can do at home to reduce our energy use.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the 113 million residences in America today collectively use about 22% of the country’s energy.  Much of this energy is wasted through things like inefficient cooling and heating systems, leaky windows, and old appliances.

The U.S. Department of Energy also reports that energy and water costs are the largest single housing expense, and that a typical U.S. family spends about $2,000 a year on home utility bills.

So, what can you do to save energy, cut utility costs, and protect the environment?

Take the “whole-house” approach.  Taking the whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that the money you invest to save energy will be spent wisely.

Here are some things you can do at home to help you get started:

  • Since lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill, use ENERGY STAR light bulbs.  Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).  CFLs use 75% less electricity and produce 90% less heat.  One larger wattage bulb is more efficient than two smaller wattage bulbs.  For information about the latest and greatest light bulbs, log on to www.nyserda.ny.govbulbology for more help.
  • Energy efficient household products can save families about one third of their energy bill without sacrificing features, style, or comfort.  Look at the appliances and electronic equipment in your home.  There are many home products that you can replace with ENERGY STAR products to increase energy savings.  Some of them are room air conditioners, TVs, cordless phones, ceiling fans, clothes, dishwashers, washing machines, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators.
  • Appliances.  Minimize opening and closing your refrigerator and freezer and keep them full.  These appliances run better when they are full.  Set dishwasher temperature to 120 degrees F and only use the air-dry setting.  Run laundry and dishwashers when they are fullUsing dishwashers and washing machines at night keeps the house cooler and reduces strain on the power grid during peak hours which are from 4PM and 6PM.
  • Install a programmable thermostat, which will save 10-20% of your energy use.  Set your thermometer to 78 degrees F during summer and 68 degrees F during winter.  Every extra degree increases energy use by 6-8%.  Install ceiling or portable fans to help move air around the room.  Keep windows and doors shut tight.  Use shades to block sun and heat in summer and open them in winter to let the sun warm your home.
  • Invest in proper insulation and weatherization products.  Check your ducts for leaks and seal them with mastic tape.   Sealing leaks can save you up to 10% on cooling costs.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors, windows, and pipes.  Replace single pane windows with energy efficient ones.  Add solar shades.

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