10 Tips for Monitoring Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Smart thermostats, tankless water heaters and home energy monitors make it easier than ever to monitor the energy efficiency of your home. Even if you don’t have the budget for new appliances or better insulation, you can reduce your energy consumption in several ways.
1. Fix Your Lighting
LED lightbulbs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They also last up to 25 times longer, making them an ideal choice when you’re looking to reduce energy costs.
If you don’t like the appearance of traditional LEDs, there are also smart versions that connect to your phone, allowing you to set their color exactly the way you want. You also can schedule them to turn on slowly in the morning, gradually getting brighter and changing color throughout the day before turning off at night.
2. Install Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are a type of green technology. They control your house’s temperature depending on the weather, time of day and programmable schedules, and they’re connected to the internet so you can adjust them even when you’re away from home. This makes it easy to automatically reduce your energy consumption.
3. Update Old Appliances
Outdated appliances like microwaves, dishwashers and TVs are much less efficient than they are today. If you can afford it, swap them out for a modern version that does more with less electricity. Energy Star-rated models can save homeowners a great deal of money on their electric bills.
4. Wash With Cold Water
Sometimes, you really do need hot water to tackle a tough stain or sanitize your laundry when you’re sick. Most of the time, however, running the washing machine on cold is equally effective at cleaning your clothes. Some laundry detergents are specifically designed for cold washing.
5. Use a Home Energy Monitor
Energy monitors track how much electricity you’re consuming every minute at home. They connect to your electrical panel or meter and give a detailed breakdown of the power each device in your house is using, providing insight into what could be unplugged or replaced. They can also estimate greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a smart investment if your energy bill is higher than it used to be, but you’re not sure why. A home energy monitor lets you pinpoint the source of the power drain.
6. Install Smart Plugs
A smart plug is an adaptor you can plug into a regular outlet, allowing you to turn it on or off with your phone. You can do this remotely and control your devices while you’re gone.
For example, you can turn the lights on to make it look like you’re home, turn off the computer because you aren’t using it, or control the humidifier and heater in a terrarium. Smart plugs allow you to get creative with automation and save energy on things you aren’t using.
7. Seal Windows and Doors
This is standard advice for a reason. Insulating the cracks around windows and doors with weatherstripping keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, reducing your need for air conditioning and heating.
8. Go Tankless
It takes a lot of energy to keep a water heater hot all day and night. Tankless models can be expensive up front, but they save energy in the long run by only heating your water as you use it. They also have a longer life span than traditional versions. A tankless water heater can help you monitor and control your water heating costs.
9. Use Your AC Efficiently
First, make sure your air conditioner thermostat is functioning properly. This is essential to having an efficient cooling system. If that’s in order, ask yourself how often you need to have it running. Should it really be on while you’re at work?
Setting the thermostat 7-10 degrees cooler while you’re away for eight hours can reduce your heating and cooling usage by up to 10%. A smart thermostat can help you monitor and control your A/C use.
10. Hunt Down Vampires
No, you won’t need a wooden stake. Energy vampires are plugged-in devices that use power even when idle, contributing anything from 5%-10% of your energy bill. Common offenders include TVs, microwaves, cellphones and coffee makers.
The best solution is to unplug idle devices. It may be inconvenient to plug the dryer in every time you use it, but putting away your phone charger once a day is easy. You can also plug several devices into a timer strip or smart plug, then switch them all on or off simultaneously.
Making the Switch
Reducing your energy usage isn’t just good for the environment — it’s good for you, too. Making efficient choices helps you save money and live comfortably while reducing your carbon footprint.