Efficiency Tips for your Household
It’s a shame we don’t all have the stamina of the greenest of the green.
Think about it: At least some of them have been known to hook up a stationary bike to a solar battery pack, pedal away, while perhaps thinking of an idyllic life in the rainforests of Brazil, while at the same time generating enough stored power to operate their kitchen appliances and computers.
Okay, so it takes 10 minutes of pedaling just to run the toaster. But hey, the point is, there’s lot of ways you might not have thought of to cut your energy bill.
Here are some of more realistic options for homeowners:
• Make your yard work for you. It’s a well-known fact that strategically placed greenery can add to a house’s all-important “curb appeal.” Adding trees, shrubs, and spiffy, vine-covered trellises also happens to work wonders against the sizzling sun. Trees reduce bills, not just by shading your house, but by cooling the air by releasing moisture.
• Keep the air circulating in your home, and your air conditioner won't have to work as hard. Know that ceiling fans can be your best friend. Decrease the use of electricity-gobbling air-conditioners with this simple little trick: “[Running fans] counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer—your goal —and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months.
• Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. You might as well just send your utility company a blank check if you lack a continual flow of air to help protect the efficiency of your attic’s insulation. The offender working against achieving that? Excess moisture build-up that clings to your roof’s underside in winter from seemingly benign sources — i.e., appliances, showers, and cooking vapors — before ultimately soaking the insulation when the condensed moisture falls.
A suggestion to help ward off the problem is, a properly balanced ventilation system consisting of Ridge Vent (installed at the ridge) and IntakePro (installed at the eave) Both work in tandem to allow cool, fresh air to enter at the eave edge while forcing moist, super-heated air out of the ridge vent.
• Beware of sneaky thermostats. Your big-screen TVs all over the house are almost certainly the envy of the neighborhood, but you’re making an expensive mistake if they — or even lamps — are positioned near air conditioning thermostats. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. The best advice? Move them.
Many home remodeling companies that think green will offer a home energy audit to customers, and it's well worth taking advantage of.
Everyone always tells you to keep the fridge closed. But did you know that keeping your fridge and freezer full can also save money? Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time that the fridge has to run to stay cool.
A shocking 75 percent of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they're turned off. These "phantom" users include: televisions, VCRs, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug these items into power strips; then, get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.
Increase the efficiency of your HVAC system by having it inspected and cleaned once a year. Added bonus: cleaner air in your home.
LED light bulbs use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Switch out the most widely used bulbs in your home. Then, replace the rest as they burn out.
Most of the energy consumed by your dishwasher goes to heating water. Turn off the heat dry feature, and you'll minimize the drain.