If you're reading this article, you're using an electronic device. And since you're a user of electronic devices, it's likely that you use energy to light, heat, and cool your home using some sort of electricity. My family recently had a professional energy audit conducted on our house and I learned a lot of tips of how to conserve energy at home that we users of electricity can all take into account.
Plug Air Leaks
If you have the air conditioner or the heater running to adjust the temperature in your home, you want to keep that air inside your house. A great, cheap way to do this is to caulk any and all air leaks. First, you need to be a bit of a detective. Really inspect your home's interior foundation, the areas around your doors, and windows. Even check if there are small cracks in the corners of exterior rooms.
If you can feel any air movement in these spots, use some silicone caulk to seal it up, or spray foam if the gap is larger than a few millimeters. Pro tip: wear rubber gloves while doing this job — it's really hard to wash off silicone from your hands and spray foam is not something you should touch at all.
A couple more areas to consider: the chimney and bathroom fans. If you don't make a fire in your fireplace often, it may be a good idea to install a chimney flue plug. This inflatable insulator will be shoved up your chimney to stop air from escaping. Our energy auditor said that you could also try using a trash bag filled with newspaper for a really cheap alternative. Just be positive that you remove these insulators before you make a fire!
Also, check your bathroom fans. Do they have flaps that close when the fan is off? If not, you can easily retrofit your fan or replace the whole unit with a more energy efficient one.
Insulation is an important addition to your home's energy conservation arsenal. Make sure you have a solid amount of insulation in your attic and around the foundation. Insulation helps keep the temperature steady, whether it's hot or cold. There are a few other areas to add insulation in your home, as well: your water heater and your hot water pipes.
Water heater insulation, also called a water heater blanket or sweater, is just an insulation wrap for your heater. It will keep the water inside hot for longer, with less heat loss, reducing energy consumption. They are easy to install and usually less than $25. You can also purchase insulation to go around your hot water pipes, called "pipe wrap" or "foam pipe insulation," for less than $2 per six feet. This will keep your water hot as it moves around your house. It's perfect for radiant heating systems, but it also helps for the water pipes going to your shower or sinks.
Beyond keeping your conditioned air inside your home and insulating against energy loss, consider using electronics and appliances that use less energy to begin with. Water heaters, washers, dryers, and refrigerators are the largest consumers of energy at your home beyond temperature regulation and lighting, according to Visual Capitalist. Search for Energy STAR rated products that have been proven to use less energy than traditional appliances.
Additionally, switch out your incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs for LED bulbs. According to Consumer Energy Solutions, LED bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy than their energy-hogging incandescent siblings, and they have a longer life span by about twenty years!
The Family that Saves Energy Together . . .
Learning how to conserve energy at home is important for the entire family. Keep kids in the loop about why you have a trash bag up your chimney and a sweater on your water heater, to help them learn the value of keeping the planet clean. Kids can help install pipe wrap and find air leaks just as well as most adults can, so performing your own home energy audit is a great way to include them.
Do you have any of your own energy conservation tips to share? How do you pass on energy saving values to your kids? Tweet at us!
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Why It’s Good
Using less energy is something we should all strive for, not only to reduce what we owe the energy company every month, but also to conserve resources and reduce the stress on the planet our kids will inherit.