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What can I do to Conserve Energy Costs?

Conserving energy is good for your wallet and the environment.

Energy costs can be significant expenses for farms and households of all shapes and sizes. Improving your energy efficiency is good for your wallet and the environment. If you do not have a strategic plan to conserve energy, it is time for action.

Replace Your Light Bulbs

Traditional incandescent light bulbs consume an excessive amount of electricity and must be replaced more often than their energy efficient alternatives. Halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use anywhere from 25-80 percent less electricity and last 3 to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

Although energy efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, their efficient energy use and longer lifetimes mean that they cost less in the long run.

Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling during the times when you are asleep or away. When you install a programmable thermostat, you eliminate wasteful energy use from heating and cooling without upgrading your HVAC system.

On average, a programmable thermostat can save you $180 per year. Programmable thermostats come in different models that can be set to fit your weekly schedule. Additional features of programmable thermostats can include indicators for when to replace air filters or HVAC system problems, which also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Reduce Your Water Heating Expenses

Water heating is a major contributor to your total energy consumption. Other than purchasing an energy efficient water heater, there are three methods of reducing your water heating expenses: you can simply use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, or insulate your water heater and the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes.

Power Down Your Equipment

Virtually every piece of technology in your life runs on electricity. Shutting down equipment at the end of the day seems to be a no brainer, but it can be overlooked. Remember to shut down your computers, gaming systems and other equipment that require significant energy, or place them into sleep mode.

The savings do add up. For example, if it costs you 12 cents per kWh, reducing 2,400 kWh a month by turning things off would help you save at least $3,400 annually. You can use this to invest in more equipment upgrades, leading to even more energy savings.

Weatherize Your Home

Weatherizing, or sealing air leaks around your home, is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. The most common sources of air leaks into your home are vents, windows, and doors. To prevent these leaks, you should ensure that there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window, or doorframe.

To seal air leaks between stationary objects, such as the wall and window frame, you can apply caulk. For cracks between moving objects, such as operable windows and doors, you can apply weather stripping. Weather stripping and caulking are simple air sealing techniques that typically offer a return on investment in less than a year. Air leaks can also occur through openings in the wall, floor, and ceiling from plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring.

Air leaking out of your home is most often from the home interior into your attic through small openings. Whether it is through ducts, light fixtures, or the attic hatch, hot air will rise and escape through small openings. As the natural flow of heat is from warmer to cooler areas, these small openings can make your heating bill even higher if your attic is not sufficiently insulated. To reap the full amount of savings from weatherization, you should consider fully insulating your home.

Insulate Your Home

Insulation plays a key role in lowering your utility bills through retaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out of your home during the summer. The recommended level of heat resistance, or “R-value,” for your insulation depends on where you live. In warmer climates, the recommended R-value is much lower than for buildings located in colder regions like the Northeast.

The level of insulation you should install depends on the area of your house. Your attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace are the five main areas where you should consider adding insulation.

Replace Your Air Filters

Many devices across your home use filters, including your HVAC system. These systems often come with displayed reminders to replace filters regularly. Doing so will not only help you avoid having to make costly repairs to your air conditioning but could also save money. In fact, The Department of Energy released a report saying that replacing dirty filters regularly can reduce household energy consumption up to 15%. This is because clean filters are more efficient and put less strain on your system.

Energy conservation is important and beneficial for many reasons. You can save money, increase your property value, and protect the environment all through simple energy-saving measures. These are great benefits you can gain from saving energy no matter your exact motivation for conservation in the first place. By simply taking a small step towards living a more energy-conscious lifestyle, you can begin to enjoy all of the perks of being energy efficient.


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