Most of us can agree the holidays wreak havoc on our household budgets. Just like many investments we make, spending money on your home’s energy efficiency may help offset your future energy bills.
Choose ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics.
When buying new appliances, choose ENERGY STAR-certified models. For example, a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator uses about 20 percent less energy than a standard new refrigerator and 46 percent less than one made in 1980. A new ENERGY STAR clothes washer uses nearly 50 percent less energy than a standard washer.
Install a programmable thermostat. According to EnergyStar.gov, the average American household spends half of its annual energy bill on heating and cooling the home. Having the ability to control your temperature setting throughout the day saves energy and money and keeps your home at its optimal comfortable temperature.
Increase ceiling insulation.
If your ceiling is uninsulated or scantily insulated, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5 to 25 percent.
Leaking ductwork accounts for more than 25 to 30% of heating costs in an average California home. Consider hiring a contractor to test the tightness of your ducts and repair leaks and restrictions in your duct. Many utility companies have programs to assist you.
Install high-efficiency windows.
If you are planning to replace your windows, choosing ENERGY STAR windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs and lower your household energy bills by an average of 12 percent. Visit energystar.gov to find out where ENERGY STAR-certified products are available in your area.
Seal Doors and Windows
If you don’t plan on investing in new energy-efficient windows this year, look closely at the seals around your doors and windows. Cold air finds its way into your house through gaps you may not even consider. When it’s cold indoors, you tend to run the heater more often. Overworking your heating system will come back to bite you on your energy bill. Seal any gaps you find with caulk or window and door sealing tape. This will also be a big help when summer rolls around.
Install Dual-Flush Toilets
Dual-flush toilets are slowly catching on here in the U.S. but have been saving Europeans up to 30% in water consumption for years! It’s simple: dual-flush toilets allow you to choose between a smaller flush for liquid flushes and up to a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste.