10 Energy-Saving Tips For New Homeowners
Written By: Warm Thoughts Communications on May 18, 2021
The papers are signed, the movers are gone, and now you’re settling into your digs as a new homeowner. Congratulations!
If you’re like most new homeowners, your thoughts will quickly turn to all the projects and new responsibilities you’ll have as the reality of homeownership sets in.
The good news is that your first few weeks and months in your new home will present you with several great opportunities to save money. By investing in some simple upgrades and making some easy adjustments now, you could save quite a bit of money down the road as you reduce energy bills and prevent small problems that can turn into big repair bills.
Here are 10 cost-effective ways to save money on your monthly energy bills and enjoy more comfort at home along the way.
- Seal air leaks. Homes—especially older ones—constantly leak air through cracks around doors and windows, and through your walls and roof. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment. (Caulk is typically used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, while weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.) Door sweeps can also keep out drafts.
- Add insulation. About one-quarter of the cold and hot hair that escapes from your home is the result of inadequate insulation. This fact alone means adding insulation is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make for your new home. Aim to insulate your home to recommended R-values, especially (and starting with) your attic. Can’t jump into a full insulation project just yet? Start small with a lower-cost option: Add gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on your walls to reduce air leaks in these problem spots.
- Add rugs and carpeting. Wood and tile flooring lose heat quickly, so consider installing rugs with a padded backing to add a little extra insulation underfoot.
- Change air filters regularly. A clogged air filter inhibits air flow, which makes your HVAC equipment work harder to do its job. Over time, that overwork will raise your energy bills and even cause premature breakdown of your system if left untreated. Check your filters regularly during peak heating and cooling seasons—once a month or so, especially if you have pets that shed.
- Use a programmable thermostat. A properly installed (and properly used) programmable thermostat can reduce heating costs by 10% or more by controlling temperature when no one is home—or when you’re asleep and won’t notice the difference.
- Close unused air vents. If you have central heating or cooling, close air vents in rooms you’re not using. Why pay to cool rooms you’re not enjoying?
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. Water heater thermostats usually default to a setting of around 140° F when 120° F will do. Lowering hot water temps is good for your carbon footprint, too: each 10° F reduction prevents 600 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year for an electric water heater (440 pounds for a gas heater).
- Wash and dry clothes economically. Only wash clothes when you’ve collected a full load. Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold setting, not hot — with modern washing machines, there is no need to waste the energy of adding 20° F to your wash water.
- Use a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans work great—especially in tandem with your heating and cooling system! A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4° F with no reduction in comfort during the summer, at a far lower cost to operate than running your AC would be. The reverse is true in winter.
- Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of the electricity used in your home. Set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37° F and your freezer as close to 3° F as possible. Also be sure to check your refrigerator and freezer door gasket to make sure they are tightly sealed.
Want another way to save money? Switch your plan to Discount Power! Enroll in one of our money-saving electricity plans online today, or contact us to learn more about our smart, affordable energy plans available in your place of residence!