The quest for energy efficiency is gaining traction across Alberta. Improving your home's efficiency can reduce your impact on the environment and save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. The good news is new homes are already more energy efficient than older homes thanks to superior building materials and the latest technology - still, there are additional steps you can take.
Here are some easy tips for boosting your home's efficiency (and saving on your bills!).
Upgrade to LED Lights
Does your home still have CFL or even incandescent light bulbs? Upgrading to LEDs can save you hundreds over the next decade. LEDs use most of the electrical energy to create visible light, not heat as a waste byproduct. Along with significant energy savings, LEDs can also last up to 25 years compared to about 9 years with CFL and just 1 year with incandescent.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
Cleaning your home's dryer vent regularly doesn't just reduce your energy costs; it can also reduce your risk of a fire. But don't rely on cleaning out the lint trap alone. Lint can also accumulate inside the dryer housing and especially in the dryer vent. This exhaust vent can develop a build-up of thick lint that reduces airflow, forcing your dryer to work harder and harder to vent hot air.
This strains your dryer and causes it to operate inefficiently and fail prematurely. It also creates a fire hazard because this lint in your walls is highly flammable and may ignite. Your dryer vent may need to be cleaned if you notice your drying cycles are taking longer or your clothes are still damp when the cycle ends.
Wash Clothing in Cold Water
Did you know that washing clothes in cold water is just as effective as using hot? Not to mention, most of your washer's energy goes only toward heating the water. Considering your household will likely do about 6 or 7 loads of laundry per month, the savings will add up by switching to cold. You can save a substantial amount of energy without sacrificing clean clothes and a fresh laundry scent.
This eco-friendly change isn't just good for your electricity bill; it can also be safer. Stains may be set in when you wash clothes in hot water and the heat can wrinkle or shrink some fabrics.
Lower the Thermostat Setting
It's a common myth that reducing the temperature when you're not home and turning it back up again uses more electricity and increases heating costs. The truth is there is no scientific basis for this myth. While your furnace does run for longer when your temperature is turned up after being away for the day, the amount of energy it uses will be less than what you saved over the course of the day.
For every 1 degree Celsius you lower the thermostat setting for at least eight hours, such as while you're at work or sleeping, you can save about 2% on your heating bill. You can use a programmable thermostat to make this change easier or you can invest in a smart thermostat.
Add or Replace Weatherstripping
Your home's weatherstripping can wear out over time but it's a cost-effective and easy way to improve your home's energy efficiency. Weatherstripping reduces air leaking through windows and doors by sealing and insulating the openings. It comes in many forms, including door sweeps to seal the gap between the door and your threshold and V strip to install along the sides of your windows. Before installing new weatherstripping, remove the old material.
Not sure if your home has any air leaks? Try sealing your house, closing the vents, turning off exhaust fans, and moving a candle along openings like the fireplace, windows, and even outlets to find where the air is moving.
Turn Down the Water Heater
Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is running 24/7 to keep your water hot and ready to use - but there are steps you can take to reduce how much energy you spend on hot water. One of the easiest solutions is simply lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater. Just remember to be safe. It's recommended to keep the temperature at 60 degrees Celsius at a minimum.
Install Low Flow Shower Heads and Faucets
Low flow shower heads and faucets mix air with water to form more of a misting spray. You won't notice the decrease in the flow rate but your pocketbook will. A simple low flow fixture can reduce water and your water heating costs for showers and cleaning up.
Making your home more energy efficient can be an ongoing project, with new technologies and materials being developed all the time. But every little bit helps, both for the environment and your energy bill! In addition to getting started with these tips, you can also find out how Sterling builds your new home to be more energy efficient to get the most out of your efforts to stay green.