Energy Saving Tips

Beaufort, SC

Many utility company professionals offer services to evaluate your home's energy use and suggest the most effective measures you can take to reduce wastefulness. A home energy audit is a great way to identify those areas that are inefficient. They can also calculate the probable return on your investment in high efficiency equipment compared to traditional equipment. Energy saving options are plentiful from appliances to light bulbs and will have positive effects on your household energy use over time.

Start by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFL bulbs provide warm bright light and use about 75 percent less energy and produce 75 percent less heat. CFLs also last up to ten times longer than traditional bulbs, making them the ideal replacement lights for high, hard-to-reach fixtures in halls and stairwells. In fixtures with dimmer switches, however, CFLs are not recommended.

Look for the ENERGY STAR label on appliances and electronics for your home. These products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star qualified appliances are a great way to reduce costs and waste; you can save $115 per year just by installing an Energy Star thermostat. An Energy Star heat pump will save 20 percent more energy than a standard new model. Improvements like these will go a long way towards making your home more comfortable and can yield long-term financial rewards.

Cooling and heating are the biggest drainers of energy in American homes which consume six times the world average. Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house cozy in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust the times you turn on the heat or air conditioning according to a preset schedule. Each degree Celsius you lower the thermostat during cold weather saves about 10% more energy, so grab a sweater and turn the dial down a little.

Keep your house cool with ceiling fans and take measures to block sunlight during the warmer hours of the day. Blinds are a good choice for window coverings, and they can be adjusted to let breezes in when temperatures outside are pleasant. In climates like ours, low-e coatings applied to your windows will reflect some of the sunlight that turns your rooms into saunas.

Draft proofing during colder months with exterior silicone caulk is a crucial way to prevent heat loss through holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors and outlets. In cold weather, fabric draperies are a better thermal barrier than blinds, even on double-paned windows. Heat rises, so put those ceiling fans to use in the cold weather as well by using the slow rotation down-draft setting to distribute heat evenly around the room.

Insulate your water heater (but be careful not to cover the top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment) then turn its thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Washing laundry in cold water rather than hot cleans most clothes quite nicely, while reducing fading and shrinkage of their fabrics as well. Many utility companies (Palmetto Electric Cooperative among them) even offer programmed water heater timers, so that the heating cycle is limited to hours when your community's power consumption is the lowest. Ask about energy rebate programs for additional savings!

One of the most cost effective ways to make your home more comfortable all year long is to add insulation to your attic. If your home insulation has a thickness measure of less than R-30, you would probably benefit from supplemental insulation. Only 20 percent of homes built before 1980 are adequately insulated so those homes are perfect candidates for added insulation. If you've noticed that you are uncomfortable in the cooler or warmer months, added insulation can ensure a more uniform temperature throughout your home and increase the comfort level indoors.

There are so many practical and simple solutions for conserving energy all throughout your home. We all have the power to reduce the amount of resources needed to make energy, which leads to cleaner air for everyone and creates substantial savings on utility bills. The key to achieving these savings is to take a whole-house approach to your home's energy savings plan.

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