Let’s face it, we all have good intentions to save energy in our homes but never end up following through with the plan. We’re not purposely ignoring the opportunity to do our bit for the environment, we simply forget to do so when it becomes muddled amongst a host of daily tasks and consequently slips down the list of priorities.
Putting aside a small amount of time each month to enforce and then regulate changes to features and appliances in your home could make a huge difference to the amount of energy you save as well as taking pleasing chunks off your monthly bills.
So here are 10 ways to save energy in your home:
- Washing Machines
It may sound like a reasonable expectation to wash everything at 30C, especially considering that 90% of your washing machine’s energy is used on heating water, but in reality those hot 60C washes for towels and bedding are going to be necessary at times.
The trick is to just limit those hot washes and balance this with cold rinses for those items in less need of a thorough wash. Remember as well to only wash once you have a full load, unless, of course, like most modern washing machines, yours has a half-load setting.
That burning sensation when you brush your cheek against clothes fresh out of the dryer can only mean two things – they do the job the name suggests and they use an incredible amount of energy in doing so. In fact, dryers are often the worse culprits of high energy consumption.
Fortunately, there is a solution you have control over and one that you don’t. Construct the surroundings of your dryer so it vents all hot air to the outside and, secondly, if it’s a nice day with a hint of sun and a light breeze, stop that clothes line becoming a sole garden feature and hang your clothes outside to dry.
From one of the warmest energy consumers to the coldest, freezers are by no means as high in their energy consumption as dryers but they must be properly maintained in order to run as efficiently as possible. There are two things you can do.
Firstly, defrosting your freezer regularly will save energy and is also a quick and easy process if the outer frame of ice is kept less than four inches thick. Secondly, keep your freezer full. Even if this means filling containers with water and storing them in freezer until the space is required then it all helps and saves energy.
- Taps & Showers
Saving water is one key way of saving energy in the home and the prime candidates for this are taps and showers. A pressure regulator fitted on any of your tap faucets will prevent dripping after use and ensure no more water than necessary is being used. Alternatively, many people are also looking into flow meters to keep track of how much water their household is actually using.
Likewise, showers can also be modified with a similar system. Water-efficient shower heads reduce the amount of water being used without changing the pressure of your shower. Remember as well to act quickly to fix any drips and leaks, especially with pipes which can cause huge problems if left unattended for too long.
Both warm and cool air escape without proper insulation and force your home’s heating and cooling equipment to work harder than necessary. However, thanks to current building techniques, it’s highly likely that your home is properly insulated as this is a common way to save energy.
Insulated roofs also protect against exposure to ice, preventing freezing pipes and subsequent roof and ceiling leaks. A quarter of all heat in your home is lost through the roof so the fully recommended depth of 270mm (10 inches) of insulation in your loft will definitely save as much energy as it does money on your heating bills.
- Solar Panels
It’s an increasing common sight seeing solar panels appearing on roofs of offices and homes around the country. Using rays from the sun as an energy source means that, as long as the sun shines bright, we’ll have energy to use and save.
Traditional solar panels heat your home’s water during the day for use in the evening and the more technical sounding photovoltaic panels generate electricity during the day for later use. You may also be eligible to have solar panels installed for free so be sure to check before making a final decision.
There’s one source of light during the day that’s possibly the best energy saving method out there – natural daylight. However, when gloomy days and dark evenings arrive, your home needs its dose of artificial light so we need to address this while still saving energy.
Energy saving light bulbs may sometimes take a while to reach full brightness but they do also use five times less energy for the same amount of light as a regular light bulb and this can only be good news for your energy bills. A variety of shapes, sizes and fittings are also available so no energy saving light bulb will look out of place in your home.
Windows are an easy target for escaping heat and one fifth of hot air from your home is lost through those panes embedded in the wall. That is where double-glazing comes in – two panels of glass keeping the heat inside and your energy bills down.
There is no hassle with the installation of double-glazing either and consequently saving energy from the warmth of your own home couldn’t be easier. Remember though, ensure all windows are shut when the heat is on, accommodating for the sharp temperature drop as afternoon becomes evening.
- Computers & Laptops
The very appliance you’ll more than likely be reading this list on right now. The majority of computers and laptops will have built-in fans to keep themselves cool but there is still more you can do with them to save energy in the home.
The bigger the monitor the bigger the energy consumption – it may be an idea to downsize an unnecessary huge monitor in your home for the sake of saving energy. Also decreasing monitor brightness is a small change that could make a big impact on saving energy and, an exception to the rule, to ensure your computer is on standby or sleep mode if you’re leaving the room for more than 15 minutes.
No exception to the standby rule as with computers and laptops, TVs left on standby in your home can still use a great deal of energy and this is easily prevented by being switched off at the mains, and often unplugged, as with all other electrical appliances when not in use.
Electric companies are constantly seeking new ways to help you save energy in your home by developing new models and re-mastering old designs to produce streams of TVs, each more energy efficient than the last so keep a look out. The best example of this is the LED Backlit LCD TV which alters its display brightness depending on the room lighting, just another way you can save energy in your home.
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