The amount of water and energy an apartment uses vs. that of a home is significantly different. Any home can get quite costly to run for most people.
Moving into a new home is the perfect time to start fresh and make your home as energy-efficient as possible. Although there may be a bit of an upfront cost to convert to energy-efficient items, your monthly bill will be less and you’ll recuperate that money in no time.
Whatever your motivation for saving water and energy, whether it be for the money, for the planet, or both, you can definitely save on these resources if you know what to do. If you’re making your home energy efficient just to save money, do the math on what any items will cost vs. possible long term savings. In some cases, buying energy-efficient items will cost more in the first place than what they can actually save you.
In this article, we have broken down each category in your home that can be adjusted for a more energy-efficient lifestyle that will save you money and the planet.
Lighting consumes 11% of the energy in the average home. To switch to a more energy-efficient home, start by going around your new home and audit all of your lighting systems.
Switch to LED or CFL lights
Your traditional incandescent lightbulb only converts about 10% of the energy it consumes into lighting your home. The rest is turned into heat. One of the easiest ways to save money on your monthly energy bill is to change out old incandescent light bulbs to LED or CFL.
In comparison to incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs tend to use 75% less energy and have a longer lifespan. Another bonus to switching to LED or CFLs is that they produce less heat in your house which will make your house cooler and overall save you money.
Source: Lightbulb Comparison Showdown
Turn off lights that are not in use
Although it sounds like a no-brainer, many of us are guilty of leaving the lights on when we leave the house. Now that you have moved into a new home, use this opportunity to start a new habit of turning the lights off when you leave the house or a room not in use.
You can even use motion sensor plugin lights when navigating your home at night instead of having to fish for a light switch to turn on the light. These lights are LED lights that plug into the wall and turn on when people walk by. Positioned in the proper places, you should be able to walk around your home at night without ever having to turn on any lights manually.
Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. If you use your appliances correctly, you can save energy in your home. Here are a few tips that will reduce the required energy of your everyday appliances:
Use ENERGY-STAR Rated Appliances
When moving into a new home, you might need new appliances. In today’s time, most of all home appliances have the option to buy an energy-efficient option. Although they may be more expensive at first, the money you will save in the long run will be worth the extra up-front cost.
Unplug Your Coffee Maker After Use
Some coffee makers will keep your coffee warm all day as it sits in the holder. To save energy, unplug your coffee maker as soon as you’re done using it.
Keep Refrigerator Coils Clean
Refrigerator coils can become dusty and dirty after years of use. Dusty condenser coils cause your refrigerator to work harder, leading to higher bills, and a shorter life for the fridge. If you’re moving your refrigerator, before the movers load it into place, do a quick clean of the coils in the back with a vacuum, duster or a cloth. It’s recommended to clean your coils every 3-6 months. If you have pets, or a lot of people living in your home, consider cleaning them every 3 months.
Keep Your Refrigerator & Freezer Full
Although keeping your fridge full of food costs more in food costs, a full refrigerator uses less energy and evenly distributes the coldness.
Wash Clothes In Cold Water & Always Wash Full Loads
This one is quite obvious. When you use warm water, you’re using energy to heat the water. Using cold water keeps you from using that energy. To save energy, you should never wash half or partial loads. It’s best to wait until you have a full load when washing clothes.
Wash at night
Using both your washing machine and dishwasher at night will help you save on electricity because they add to the heat in your home. Generally, running your AC at night is needed less. Running these appliances at night can be a good option to keep your day home temperature as low as you can, which will save you money.
Home’s require a good amount of water to be used, especially if you have a lot of outdoor space. Here are a few tips to save water in your new home.
Keep your dishwasher full before you wash
In a perfect world, having clean dishes every morning would be ideal. However, if you are constantly running a dishwasher that is not full of dishes then you will be wasting a lot of hot water and money, over time. Similarly to your refrigerator when not full, your dishwasher runs harder (with more energy) when it is less full.
Fix Leaky Faucets, Toilets, & Sprinklers
One of the quickest ways to save water immediately is by fixing leaks that are wasting water. To check for leaks, read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. If you have a leak, check your sprinklers, hoses, faucets, toilets, showers and anything else in your home that uses water.
Limit your shower time
Cutting down you and/or your families’ shower time will save you a good amount of money on your next water and power bill. Try setting a timer when taking your next shower to get in the habit of cutting down the extra time spent wasting hot water. Don’t forget to get your family on board!
Monitor Your Sprinklers & Adjust Timers As Necessary
Make sure your sprinklers run either in the evening or early in the morning. Watering when it’s cool out allows the water to sink deep into the soil and prevents the water from evaporating. Also, make sure you know where the rain setting is on your sprinklers. Many automatic sprinkler systems have a rain setting where you just flip a switch and your sprinklers stay off until you flip it back. Here’s the most efficient way to water your lawn.
Turn Water Off When Not In Use
Make sure you get in the habit of turning off the running water when you brush your teeth and shave.
Opt for the Dishwasher Over Hand Washing
It may seem like hand washing is better for saving water, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than running the dishwasher. The EPA estimates an efficient dishwasher uses half as much water, saving close to 5,000 gallons each year.
Use A Spray Nozzle On Your Hose
When you wash your car or run the hose, using a spray nozzle helps save water by turning off when not in use.
For even more water-saving tips, check out this article on 45 ways to conserve water in your home
During The Summer Months
Keep cool during the hot summer months can become use a lot of energy. Here are a few tips to keep your energy use low during the summer months.
Add insulation to your attic
If your new home doesn’t have insulation in the attic it may be worth adding it if you are living in a place with very high and/or very low temperatures. Insulation allows your house to keep central temperature without it escaping your house. Not only will this help keep your home cool during the summer months, but it will keep your home warm during the winter months. It also keeps your ac or furnace from overworking themselves.
Open Windows During The Evenings & Mornings, Close During The Day
During the summer months, if you live in an area where it still stays a bit cool after the sun goes down, you can keep your ac costs low by following a cycle. The cycle consists of turning off your ac when the sun goes down and opening up the windows and using fans to keep the house cool. And the same thing in the mornings before it starts to get too hot. Only run your ac when it actually starts to get hot outside.
Make use of your ceiling fan
Ceiling fans are there for a reason! They can keep your home cooler by at least 4 degrees by circulating the air around your home. During the day, turn your fans on and you will not need to lower your thermostat to such a low temperature.
Air dry your dishwasher
Instead of using energy heating up your dryer on the dishwasher, choose to air dry.
Adjust the thermostat when not home
When you are not home, remember to adjust your thermostat. Keeping your house cool when no one is home will increase the cost of your electricity bill very quickly. Of course, we all would love to come home to a cool room but it will cost you a good amount of money every month to keep it running all day. It’s worth it to bear the heat in your home for a few minutes until the ac kicks in.
During The Winter Months
Wintertime is another time of year where energy use will increase due to keeping your home warm. Here are a few tips to keep energy use low during the winter months.
Fix Drafts & Leaks
Cold air can leak into the home through minor cracks and gaps in windows and doorways. Seal any gaps with caulk or weather-stripping. Here’s a great article we found on how to fix a drafty home.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will let you customize your heating schedule to save money. A smart thermostat gives you even more energy-saving options and allows you to control your HVAC system from anywhere with your smartphone. Check out these best thermostat types and temperature settings for summer and winter.
Keep Fireplace Damper Closed When Not In Use
Cold air can also leak through your fireplace if the damper is open. Be sure to close it when not in use. Just remember to open it again when in use.
Take Advantage of Sunlight
You can naturally heat your home by opening curtains on south-facing windows during the day. Close curtains at night to protect your home from losing heat through the windows.
Reduce Water Heating Costs
Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Or consider installing a tankless water heater that heats water as needed, saving costs in the long run. Pros and Cons: Tankless Water Heater Vs. Demand-Type Water Heater
Need Fall energy-saving tips?
Certain basic home maintenance routines can also help you save on water and energy use. Here are a few things to do when maintaining your home that will help you save.
If you have single-paned windows, replace with double or add tinting film
Having double-paned windows will easily keep your house temperature under better control. Another option is to apply tinting film to your windows that get the most sun. Whichever you prefer to do, either one is a good option to combat your monthly energy costs.
Replace air filters
Over time, air filters become dirty and the desired air temperature takes longer to achieve in your home. Often not thought about, replacing your air filters frequently will lessen the amount of energy used by your thermostat on a regular basis.
In today’s world, electronics are everywhere in our home. By unplugging these devices after they are used, you will save money on your electric bill. After moving into your new home, teach your family to get into the habit of unplugging all unwanting devices or appliances that are not being used.
Make sure your windows are properly sealed
Check all your windows after moving in and make sure there are no air leaks. If your windows have air coming through, consider adding weatherstripping. Sealing the gaps and is an affordable way to lower the costs of energy in your home.
Buying solar is one of the best ways to save energy in your home. When you buy solar panels (if you finance them), in many situations the cost of the monthly solar panel financing bill will come close to what you were currently paying in electricity costs. Sometimes it will be less and sometimes it will be more. If you plan to live in your home for a good amount of time, you use a good amount of electricity already, and you live in a sunny place, going solar is a great option. After a few years, you’ll pay off the cost of the solar panels and your energy costs will be close to nothing. On top of that, when you go to sell your home, you’ll be able to sell it for more since you have the panels.
Whatever your motivation for saving water and energy, whether it be for the money, for the planet, or both, you can definitely save on these resources if you know what to do. If you’re making your home energy efficient just to save money, do the math on what any items will cost vs. possible long term savings. Congratulations on your new home and best of luck with making it more affordable, as well as and helping contribute to the well being of our planet.