How to Reduce Energy Consumption at Home: Simple and Cost-Effective Strategies
Did you know the average American household uses 11,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually? This energy consumption number comes from air conditioning, water heating and other standard practices. It’s not uncommon for people to spend $1,000 or more on utility bills every year. These habits are also bad for the environment.
You can learn how to reduce energy consumption at home with some simple tricks.
Why Does Home Energy Consumption Matter?
The two key factors are cost and sustainability. If you receive a lengthy statement, you have to pay hundreds of dollars. It’s also not eco-friendly to expel that energy. Take your furnace as an example. That system creates harmful carbon emissions every time you run the heat.
If you and every other household in America realized the benefits of energy consumption, it’d help mitigate climate change. These efforts wouldn’t eradicate this phenomenon, but they’d get the world to a more sustainable place. You could also have the money to pursue other green initiatives.
In other words, you can only benefit when you take steps to reduce your energy consumption. It’s a move every household should make. That’s especially true when you consider these strategies are relatively cheap and easy to implement. There’s really no excuse!
Here are a few ways to reduce energy consumption at home:
1. Buy a Smart Thermostat
Do you have a manual thermostat? These gadgets aren’t the best way to manage your home’s heating and cooling cycles. You can instead use a smart thermostat. The result will be a comfortable and cost-effective indoor environment you don’t have to remember to control.
A smart thermostat puts your input to use. You set a schedule to reflect your daily activities. For example, you can enter when you leave for work and when you come home. Then, your system will know not to run at a specific temperature during those times.
You can also control your smart thermostat from afar. If you’re running late at a meeting, you only have to open an app to adjust things. There’s also the benefit of heating and cooling specific rooms. You save money and energy by not heating or cooling your entire house at once.
2. Apply Weatherstripping to Windows
A window that leaks air is an issue. It makes your heater work harder than intended — which could mean you need to buy a replacement sooner. The same thing happens during warmer weather. You don’t want anything to interfere with your home’s indoor temperature.
Do your best to keep your windows sealed. The best way to secure them will be to add weatherstripping. This material creates a barrier designed to block cold air from entering during the winter and warm air from entering in the summer.
3. Reverse Ceiling Fans
You can reverse your ceiling fans to maximize efficiency. In the summer, it’s essential to make sure the blades spin counterclockwise. This motion creates a chilling effect that cools down your space. In the winter, you should switch them to clockwise. This change will force hot air that collects by the ceiling to travel downward — and you feel warmer as a result.
Fans don’t necessarily cool a room, either. They’re really just a way for you to stay comfortable because they move still, warm air across your skin. Then, you feel cooler. Therefore, you should remember to turn off any fans when you leave the room. They’re a waste of energy otherwise.
4. Install Energy Star Appliances
This endeavor might be a bit more costly than other tricks on how to reduce energy consumption at home. It’s not a necessary step to achieve better home energy consumption — but you might want to think about your appliances’ life spans. Are they getting older? If so, you can benefit from installing Energy Star models.
These are household machines certified by the government that help you reduce energy usage at home. They include everything from refrigerators to dryers, so you can easily find something to fit your needs. Be sure to check out various options before you replace your appliances.
5. Try a Space Heater
If you use a space heater strategically, you should be able to reduce your heating bill. These small machines use less energy than whole-house heating systems. They also only heat one room at a time. As a result, you stay warm without using the electricity to heat your entire home.
Be warned, space heaters can be a fire hazard. You should never use one when you’re not present. It’s crucial to unplug the space heater when you’re done to ensure it’s fully switched off, too.
6. Add Timed Power Strips
What’s a “ghost load?” That’s what it’s called when your electronics use power even though they’re turned off. You should do your best to avoid ghost loads since they can contribute to a high utility bill. The invisible power taking your energy needs to go.
Luckily, it’s super simple to do. You can simply unplug your devices until you use them next. These gadgets usually include your TV, phone charger, computer and gaming console. If you find this to be too inconvenient, you should buy a timed power strip. Then, your outlet won’t run power to your electronics past a specific time.
7. Watch Water Usage
This tip might be a no-brainer — but it’s still worth highlighting. You need to pay attention to how much water your household uses. There are 785 million people globally who don’t have access to readily available, clean drinking water. You also use your water heater every time you shower and do laundry, so it’s important not to overwork that machine.
Here are a few simple ways to reduce energy consumption regarding water:
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
- Install a low-flush toilet system.
- Take shorter showers.
- Collect wastewater to water plants.
- Run the dishwasher using its energy setting.
- Wash clothes with cold water.
These tips cost almost nothing to try. Ask your family to join your efforts so you can be more effective. As a result, you should see better energy efficiency overall.
8. Maintain HVAC System
If you don’t manage your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system properly, you’ll use more energy than necessary. That’s why you need to pay attention to its different components. You don’t have to obsess over them, but it’s essential for maintenance to be a priority for homeowners.
This system becomes less efficient when broken. Therefore, you can reduce energy consumption when you learn how to care for appliances like your furnace. Your bills will likely become lower. A clogged water heater won’t perform at its best.
You can take a few proactive and preventative measures to ensure everything works as intended:
- Check for leaks.
- Flush the water heater annually.
- Lubricate the motors.
- Replace furnace filters every six months.
- Bleach AC condensation line.
You should also remember to replace your appliances when necessary. It’s crucial to consider their life spans so you can prepare. A new air conditioner can cost a pretty penny, so you’ll want to ensure you have enough money when the time comes.
That said, you might be able to extend how long your appliances last. It all depends on how well you care for them. They won’t last forever, but you could get a few extra years thanks to your attention to detail.
9. Move Furniture Around
It might be time to redecorate. How does this step help reduce energy consumption at home? Your furniture might be blocking your vents. There’s a chance you didn’t notice this mistake when you organized your living room — and now, you aren’t maximizing your HVAC system’s power.
Fortunately, you can fix this error quickly. You just need to find a new place for your furniture and make sure nothing blocks the vents. A good rule of thumb is to allow around 2 feet between the wall vents and surrounding furniture. If you have floor vents, shift any furniture that might be above them.
10. Close Drapes and Blinds
You probably already have an energy-efficient tool at your disposal. You can block warm and cool air from entering and leaving your home by using your drapes and blinds. These items have thick enough material to help maintain an ideal indoor environment.
In the summer, close your window treatments when it’s sunny. The opposite should happen when it’s winter. Then, you’ll see some positive energy-related results. You’ll also feel a more comfortable temperature inside.
Use These Tricks to Decrease Home Energy Consumption
It might seem tricky to learn how to reduce energy consumption at home. The idea of lower energy usage isn’t tangible for many people. That said, you should aim to fix your energy consumption to help save money and promote sustainability.
There are many simple tactics to try and these are just some of the eco-friendly changes you can make to save energy and money. You will, however, benefit significantly as a result. Explore these ideas on how to reduce energy usage so you can help the environment thrive. A few extra dollars in your pocket won’t hurt, either.
Thanks for sharing! I find it very helpful. To reduce energy consumption, I would also suggest paying attention to your water heater. Water heaters are a necessity to most modern homes. However, the warm water they produce for showers, laundries, and dishwashers comes at a cost. After crunching my annual energy spending numbers, I deduced that my water heater consumed a significant amount of energy. The heater was old and ran round the clock. When researching an alternative, I decided to install a tankless water heater. The result of this change was almost instantaneous. Unlike conventional heaters, demand-type water heaters only function when needed. With a tankless heater, water is heated directly without storage. In doing so, these heaters don’t generate standby energy losses.
Thank you for sharing such helpful info! Another thing you should do to reduce energy consumption is to unplug all the electrical appliances whenever they’re not in use. This can reduce your utility bills by 35%!
Thank you! I see you’re suggesting installing Energy Star appliances. Yes, some people may find them quite expensive to install. In this case, they should consider second-hand appliances with an Energy Star rating. This way they are saving themselves money and giving perfect good appliances a new life.
Thank you for sharing such good information about saving energy! To save energy, I would also suggest using alternative sources such as solar energy. Fortunately, a lot of devices are adapted for this these days.
Thank you for sharing! As for the air conditioner filters, the frequency of filter replacement depends on the type of filter. Some of them need to be replaced every month, some of them like HEPA filters with high MERV rating – once a year.
I’d like to add one more thing related to HVAC system maintenance. While replacing air filters is very important, you also should remember to clean your HVAC items by vacuuming inside and around every month. This is especially true for furnaces. By doing this, you help your system work more efficiently, and also improve fire safety. The thing is, dust can be highly flammable, and it only takes a small spark to set this off.
For wall furnaces, clean inside the burner compartments. Clean this area at least once a month during winter to avoid lint buildup.
For natural gas furnaces, the flame should burn blue. Orange or yellow flames may mean your furnace needs cleaning or adjusting by a professional.