Jul 11, 2014

5 Easy Ways for Homeowners to Reduce Their Energy Consumption

Once you've grown up, gotten your own place, and started paying the utility bills, you'll finally understand why your parents were always yelling at you to turn off the lights when you left a room and put on a sweater rather than bumping up the thermostat to produce more heat. Energy can be an expensive commodity, especially when you fail to pay attention to how much you're using (and wasting, for that matter). Plus, most energy creation still entails some amount of pollution and waste in the process. So if you're looking to do your part for the environment while simultaneously finding ways to reduce your monthly energy bill, here are just a few easy ways for homeowners like yourself to engage in energy conservation.

The best place to start is by taking a page from your parents' playbook - turn off electronics when they're not in use. If you leave a room, turn off the lights and the television. If you're done using your computer, don't just leave it idling; set it to hibernate or power it down completely. And program your thermostat to decrease demand by 10-15 degrees during long absences like the eight hours a day you spend at work, for example. You can even plug electronics into power strips that feature on/off switches so that you can put a stop to the phantom drain that occurs even when your electronic devices are powered down. These easy options may save you a little or a lot, but they're only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing energy consumption.

Another great option is to start using energy-efficient products like those recommended by EnergyStar.gov. By spending just a little more on CFL bulbs, you can enjoy the long-term savings that come from a product that uses a third of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last ten times as long. It also fits in a standard socket so you won't have to upgrade your fixtures. And when it's time to replace your fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer, water heater, furnace and AC unit, or any other appliances in your home, go the extra mile to seek out products that bear the Energy Star label, certifying excellence where efficiency is concerned. You'll cut your consumption and your monthly utility bills in the process (some also conserve water).

Of course, you can take your efforts to the next level with a home energy audit. By hiring a professional technician to conduct an inspection and tests in your structure you can find areas of waste that include leaks and poor insulation, giving you the information you need to make your home more airtight and energy efficient. Just make sure you know how to fix poor indoor air quality that may result; any time you increase airtightness you might need to address ventilation issues, as well. There is no shortage of ways to reduce energy consumption on the home front, and new ones are popping up every day. So start by becoming aware of energy waste in your structure, as well as the steps you can take to reverse it. From there you can select the easy, effective, and efficient options that suit your home and your lifestyle.

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