How to Save Energy During Both Summer and Winter
Using less energy in your home is important for two key reasons. Not only will using less energy help you save on utility bills, but it will also protect the environment. There are numerous ways to reduce your household’s energy use. We’ve arranged the energy-saving tips below from simple behavioral modifications to extensive home improvements.
1. Control natural lights
Energy-efficient window treatments like blinds, shades, and curtains help to naturally control the temperature and lighting. Once you install them, they have the benefit of being free to use, unlike your HVAC system.
When the sun’s out, turn off all lights in favor of using windows to brighten your home. Leaving your window treatments facing the sun open during the winter can also help to naturally heat your home. Closing them during hot Texas summers is also a must.
2. Take shorter showers
This energy-saving tip is a no-brainer. The average American uses 25,300 gallons of water a year or nearly 70 gallons a day. Nothing other than toilets and clothes washers waste more water than showering.
If you shorten your shower by just two minutes, you can cut your water use by as much as 10 gallons. To reduce your water consumption even further, try turning the water off while applying soap and shampoo. Or, if you’re really out on a mission to save energy, try showering with cold water.
3. Reduce the temperature of your water heater
Water heating is also a major contributor to your total home energy consumption. Purchasing a more energy-efficient water heater is the best energy saver here, but that’s a major investment. A more simple solution is to turn down the thermostat on your water heater.
By reducing the water temperature 20 degrees, you can cut your water heater’s energy consumption as much as 10 percent. 20 degrees may sound like a lot, but most people don’t turn their faucets to as hot as they can go. You may not even notice the change.
The ideal temperature to aim for is 120 degrees at its hottest. For comparison, most hot tubs are between 100 and 105 degrees. Hot water heating can account for up as much as a fourth of your total energy usage, so reducing your water heater temperature can produce quick savings in energy and costs.
4. Set a thermostat schedule
If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, you cat set it to automatically turn off or lower/raise the temperature when you’re away. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, installing one will help you reduce HVAC energy costs from heating and cooling. On average, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 per year.
5. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Compared to energy-efficient halogen and fluorescent light bulbs, traditional incandescent light bulbs consume considerably more electricity. On top of that, traditional light bulbs need to be replaced more frequently, 6 to 10 months as opposed to 10 to 14. While energy-efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, replacing only your home’s five most-used light fixtures can save you as much as $75 every year on your electricity bills. They cost much less in the long run.
6. Seal leaks around your home
Sealing air leaks around your home, also known as weatherizing, is a great way to lower your heating and cooling expenses. Vents, windows, and doors tend to be the most common culprits of leaks. Light fixtures and attic hatches are also some of the usual suspects.
Counteracting these leaks is a manageable process. Check all vents, windows, and doorframes to make sure that there aren’t any cracks or openings. Whenever you find a small leak, seal it with high-temperature silicone caulk.
7. Ensure Proper Attic Ventilation
Attic ventilation allows you to maintain proper temperatures inside your attic and comfortable temperatures in your home during any season. Energy-efficient ventilation is of particular importance in the summer months, when heat from your home rises to the attic. This hot air can be problematic in increasing the risk of roof damage and creating mold. Proper attic ventilation removes this excess heat and moisture, keeping your home cooler, extending the life of your roofing, and helping to prevent mold buildup.
8. Install Energy Efficient Windows
Windows are a significant source of energy waste due to heat loss in the winter and cooled air loss in the summer. Replacing single-paned, aluminum windows with energy-efficient windows can save you as much as $100 per window installed. Energy-saving windows are double or triple-paned vinyl windows that include features like multi-chambered profiles, foam-filled insulation, heat pockets, and UV protection. These traits combine to dramatically improve energy-efficiency.
9. Install Radiant Barriers
Radiant barriers are installed in the attic of your home to reduce summer heat gain, thereby reducing cooling costs. They use an extremely reflective surface to reflect radiant heat back towards its source rather than absorbing it, as traditional insulation does. In warm, sunny climates like San Antonio, radiant barriers can help you save as much as 35% on your monthly energy bills. The best kind of radiant barrier is a copper radiant barrier, as it’s much more heat reflective than aluminum, even after it oxidizes.
10. Maintain Your HVAC Units
Ensure that you schedule your HVAC unit for regular maintenance. Adhering to an HVAC maintenance checklist will help to maintain efficiency, prevent breakdowns, increase equipment lifespan, and lower energy bills. This checklist should include, at minimum:
- Checking for refrigerant leaks
- Checking/replacing all filters
- Inspecting all electrical components
- Inspecting/flushing all drain pans and drain lines
- Measuring refrigerant line pressures and temperatures
If your HVAC system is over 15 years old, you should consider replacing it.
11. Use Energy Efficient Insulation
Insulation performs a fundamental function in reducing your heating and cooling bills. Blown-in insulation helps your home to retain heat during the winter and keep heat out of your home during the summer.
Energy-efficient insulation should have a high R-value, a measure of heat resistance, and be made out of eco-friendly materials. The amount of insulation you need depends on how many square feet your house is. The main areas you should consider adding insulation are your attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace.
12. Use Energy Star Appliances
When looking for any energy-efficient appliances or products in general, always look out for the Energy Star label. This label is a federal guarantee that the appliance will consume less energy than standard versions of the same product. Although exact energy savings will vary based on the specific product, you can expect to save at least 10 percent, in general.
*This energy-saving tip applies to many of the other tips. You should look for the Energy Star label when purchasing light bulbs, windows, smart thermostats, insulation, water heaters, refrigerators, washers, HVAC systems, and more.
Why Saving Energy is Important
Energy conservation helps you save money, increase your home’s value, and preserve the environment. By following just a few of the energy-saving tips above, you’re ensuring you don’t have to spend as much on heating and cooling your home. Even more importantly, you’re reducing your carbon footprint, helping to conserve Earth’s precious natural resources like fossil fuels, and improving overall air quality.
Start Saving Energy Today!
Reducing your carbon footprint comes down to wasting less energy and resources to maintain your comfort. With Green Energy of San Antonio, you can achieve a more energy-efficient home easily. Whatever area of your home you think needs the most work in becoming more energy-efficient, we can help. Contact us today to save on your future energy bills!