Save Money on Energy-Efficient Products
By: Krysten C.
The average American family spends $2,000 a year on utility bills. Unfortunately, a lot of that energy consumption is wasted. By taking steps to make your home energy-efficient, you can save a lot of money in the long run. Here’s some ways and products that can help.
SEE WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING
*Note: Visit the DiscountFilters.com Facebook page and download or print this chart for your own reference.
HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating accounts for 45% of an average household’s utility bill making it the largest slice in energy consumption. In addition, cooling accounts for 9%. This is why it’s crucial to make sure your heating and cooling systems are regularly checked. There are a few easy ways to maintain your equipment:
Change air filters regularly. Dirty air filters makes your system work over-time and wastes a lot of energy. By changing your air and furnace filters, you can save up to 5% on the heating and cooling portion of your energy bill. That totals to a $54 savings on your $2,000 yearly utility bill. How often you change your air filters depends on the type of air filter you use. Here’s a guide for the most common filter types:
1” Fiberglass Filters: change once per month
1” Pleated Filters: change once every three months
“Media” Air Cleaner Filters (4-5” in thickness): change once every 6-9 months, depending on manufacturer’s recommendations
Plan a tune-up each spring and fall. Your car isn’t the only thing that needs a yearly tune-up to keep running efficiently. Tune-up your heating system and turn down the cost of your utility bill.
Seal & insulate ducts. Ducts are often placed behind walls and ceilings, which makes them a bit tricky to repair. However, for accessible ducts in the attic, basement, crawlspace, or garage, there are some simple ways to improve the performance. Try sealing all leaks in the duct-work with mastic sealant or metal tape. Also, make sure connections at vents and registers are sealed properly. Homeowners can also hire a professional contractor to improve their ducts.
Weather stripping is easy to install and can save you on lost energy. Check for leaks around exterior doors and windows. Apply weather stripping, caulking, or spray foam where air passes. Most air leaks are easy to find, but holes in attics, basements, and crawlspaces can often become bigger problems. Make sure to look in these areas and seal any leaks. Here are some places to look:
Air Leaking Out
- Duct register
- Attic hatch
- Recessed lighting
- Plumbing vent stack
- Dropped soffit
- Vent fan
- Top plate
Air Leaking In
- Crawl space
- Dryer vent
- Vent fan
- Outdoor faucet
- Sill plate
Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can greatly benefit individuals and families that are away from the home during set periods of the day. Typically, there are four program periods per day – wake, leave, return, and sleep. Programmable thermostats will automatically “set back” the temperature in the home while you’re asleep or away at work. Why heat or cool your home if there’s nobody home? There are different models that are best depending on when you are away from your home. These models include:
- 7-day models offer a different program for every day of the week. This type of thermostat gives you the most flexibility if your schedule changes often.
- 5+2-day models mimic a “normal work week” and use the same schedule during the week (Mon-Fri). There is a second schedule that applies to Saturday and Sunday.
- 5+1+1-day models work just like 5+2 models, BUT provide a Saturday schedule that can be different from Sunday.
There are a lot of appliances that meet the ENERGY STAR standards for performance and energy efficiency. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on any appliance you purchase. If you’re renting, ask the landlord what appliances are provided to make sure they’re energy-efficient. Some common appliances include: clothes washer and dryer, dishwasher, microwave, range, and refrigerator.
Lighting is one of the easiest ways to save. When it comes to light bulbs, look for eco-conscious products. Try purchasing LED and CFL bulbs that can save up to 75% on lighting and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Replace your old incandescent bulbs, especially in highly-lit areas such as your bathrooms, offices, and porch lights.
SMALL PURCHASES, BIG SAVINGS
Here are some small products that help rake in the savings on your energy bill. The more you use the merrier.
- Replace furnace/air filter
- Use space heaters in main areas
- Install gaskets behind outlet covers
- High-efficiency windows
- Increase ceilings insulation
- Air deflector
- Low-flow shower head
- Pipe insulation
- Booster fan
- Power strips
- Water heater blanket
- Clothes line/rack
- Energy-efficient curtains and other window treatments
‘Nuff said- now get to saving.