Energy Saving Tips for the Home

The high cost of energy can be a major roadblock to saving money in a household.  Monthly air conditioning expenses can be especially hard on an energy bill.  There are, however, certain strategies that you can implement to live in a cool home at a reasonable cost.  Sealing air leaks, covering windows, using fans, and installing Energy Star equipment can do wonders for energy efficiency.  Cooling only certain parts of your home, getting regular tune-ups on cooling equipment and knowing when to plug and unplug your appliances can also help reduce your energy costs.


Check for Air Leaks and Close Them

Your energy use can skyrocket if you have air leaks in your home, as they can cause your air conditioner to work harder and more often. Try caulking windows and installing weather strips on doors to ensure that your cold air does not escape your home.  You might also want to check less obvious sources of air leaks, like the areas around lighting fixtures, cooling air ducts, attics and basements to make sure that air leaks in your home are as preventable as possible.  Installing Energy Star windows can also improve the cooling in your home.

Cover Your Windows

Direct sunlight that enters homes is a major contributor to high energy costs.  One common way to save on energy is to ensure that heat from the sun does not pass through your windows and become trapped inside your house.  Taking advantage of shade provided by trees is one of the best ways to do this.  If you don't have any trees outside your home that can curb air conditioning energy use and can't plant them, you can try putting up awnings, drapes or curtains.  Pay particular attention to protecting the East and West sides of your home, as these are prime locations for heat to come in, and increase your energy use.

Turn on the Fan

It's a well-known fact that turning on a fan in your home can be a major act of energy conservation.  This is because a fan encourages the movement of air which can, in turn, make you feel cooler.  The energy savings can be significant, as it can reduce the amount of time your air conditioner is on and can even modify the temperature required to achieve a comfortable setting.  A licensed contractor can install a special HVAC thermostat that can maintain strict control over your air conditioner's temperature and can contribute to energy conservation.  They can even turn cooling equipment on before you arrive, so that you can step into a cool environment when you come home, and don't have to run air conditioners all day.

Install Energy Star-compatible Equipment

You can maximize your energy savings and keep more money in your pocket by installing air conditioners and appliances that are Energy Star compatible.  Purchasing an energy saving air conditioner can not only significantly reduce your bill, it can also reduce reliance on natural resources like gas and coal.  In this way, these appliances are green-friendly and protect the environment from further disruption.

Get Regular Tune-ups

Some consumers may think that changing removable or reusable parts, like filters, and buying a brand new Energy Star HVAC system can save them from having to pay for repairs or maintenance for a few years.  While replacing filters can help reduce energy costs, it isn't a substitute for thorough tune-ups.  Giving your HVAC systems regular, professional attention will help keep them running smoothly, which will help you save money on more serious repairs. These energy saving tune-ups are best done before the very hot and cold seasons.

Cool Certain Spaces

You can save a profound amount of money just by deciding to cool certain parts of your home over others.  Cooling an entire house can be counterproductive to energy efficiency.  Making sure that only the room that you're in is cool, however, can save you a lot of money on your energy bill.  One way to accomplish this is to install individual air conditioners into rooms.  If you make sure they're Energy Star compliant, you'll see even more savings.

Know When to Plug and Unplug

Out of all the energy saving tips that exist, unplugging appliances that are not in use is probably the easiest of them all.  Electronics and appliances that are plugged in but not being used still consume energy, and contribute to a "phantom load", or the energy that is used when your products are in standby mode.  Phantom loads account for 5% of all energy use in the United States.  To contribute to your energy conservation even further, consider plugging the appliances you use regularly into a power strip, and turning off the power strip when you aren't using the products. These tips can help you save energy that you may have assumed was necessary as part of air conditioning energy use.  You can even plug the air conditioner itself into a power strip.