While your energy bill isn't your biggest bill each month, it's one you have some control over. Cutting your energy costs can help you save money, even during the worst winter cold and the most miserable summer heat. Here are five tips our real estate agents recommend for cutting back on your energy usage in the new year, saving some money, and doing your part to help the planet.
- Set the thermostat cooler in winter, hotter in summer.
While the standard is typically to set the thermostat to 70 degrees and leave it, you can fudge this slightly and save some money on heating and cooling. For instance, in the winter, you can set the thermostat several degrees cooler and still be comfortable since you're likely dressed in warm clothing anyway. Likewise, in the summer, set your thermostat at 74 degrees, or even 76, not so hot as to make you uncomfortable but also not so cool as to require a lot of energy to maintain the temperature. When you're not home, you can change the temperature, saving money while no one is home to feel it.
- Install a programmable or smart thermostat.
If changing your thermostat's setting all the time to account for when you're at home or when you're asleep sounds like too much work, consider getting a programmable thermostat. Being able to program the thermostat means that you can set it to automatically conserve energy when you're not at home or overnight but still have it comfortable in your house by the time you get home. Even better, get a smart thermostat, which will learn your habits and do it all for you, plus you'll be able to control it remotely.
- Seal leaks.
Leaks in your home represent a significant loss of energy since it will require a lot more energy to maintain the temperature while your hot or cold air is constantly leaking out. Sealing leaks means installing weather stripping around windows and doors, sealing cracks with caulk, replacing single-pane windows with more energy-efficient versions, and ensuring your home is well-insulated. If you're browsing Southport homes for sale, look out for homes that already have this done, as it'll save you some hassle.
- Make the most of your curtains.
Even the most energy-efficient windows are still going to leak a little due to heat transfer, so invest in good insulating curtains and learn how to use them effectively. When it's cold, open the curtains during the day when the sunlight can warm the room naturally, and close them at night to seal in the heat. In summer, it's the opposite: keep them closed during the day when the sun would cause the house to heat up, and open them at night when you open the windows to take advantage of the cooler night air.
- Minimize hot water usage.
Heating and cooling your home is the biggest source of your home's energy usage, but heating water can represent around 12 percent of your home energy bill, according to Energy.gov. To reduce the amount of energy you're putting into heating water, you can make simple changes such as turning down the thermostat, washing your laundry in cold water, and installing an insulation wrap on your water heater, so it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain the temperature.
These are just a few of the countless tips for reducing energy usage in your home. If you're in the market for a more energy-efficient home, contact us today, and we'll get you started in your search.