Go Green: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Expenses
Implementing energy-efficient measures in your home will reduce your energy consumption and costs. Every bit you save has a far broader impact, however. You will also decrease your consumption of the Earth’s organic resources and eliminate a portion of the air, water and soil pollution that happens in the process. Begin with five methods to reduce your energy costs and create an impact.
1. Change Your Light Bulbs
Although lighting might not be your biggest drain on electricity in the house, it accounts for up to 20 percent of your electricity bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By transitioning from traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent lights (CFLs), you could save about 75 percent of the electrical power used for each and every bulb changed. Over the bulb’s lifetime, that equals around $30 or more. That is a significant savings when you multiply it by the number of bulbs you utilize. Look for CFLs displaying the Energy Star logo for best outcomes.
Tip: Install motion sensor switches in rooms where family members usually forget to turn off the lights.
2. Perform Regular HVAC Maintenance
Up to half of the power used in your house goes to your heating and air systems, depending on where you live and the state of your home. Short of purchasing a new HVAC system with a much better energy rating or fueled with an alternative energy source such as a heat pump – which requires a large upfront investment – proper maintenance will help your furnace or air conditioner use less energy. Clogged air filters force the system to strain and run more, driving up energy use and leading to more frequent malfunctions and fixes. Change your filters at least every three months or sooner if necessary. If it looks dirty, it’s time. Also, hire a qualified HVAC repair technician to give your system an inspection and “tune up” at least once a year to maintain efficiency and proper operation.
Tip: Install a programmable thermostat to regulate home temperatures. Lower the temperature whenever you will be gone more than a few hours.
3. Seal and Insulate Your Ductwork
An efficient furnace, good insulation and thermostat temperature settings only go so far to save you cash. If your HVAC air ducts leak, you could be losing 20 percent or more of your heated or cooled air – you might as well leave a window open all year round! Not to mention that leaky ductwork could circulate fumes and gasses, such as carbon monoxide. This can lead to poor indoor air quality, aggravated health problems or worse, as the Energy Star website explains. Sealing and insulating your ducts is the solution. Use mastic (a glue-like sealant) and metal-backed foil tape to seal each joint and seam. Afterward, wrap the ducts with special insulation designed for ductwork.
Tip – Insulate water pipes, especially the hot water, with pipe insulation for better energy savings and convenience.
4. Stop Air Leaks
Where is air entering and leaking out from your home? Prime problem areas include around electrical outlets and light switches, door and window frames, entry points where cables and lines of any type run into the home through the walls or floor, and neighboring wall- or window-mounted air conditioning units. Also check around gas lines or pipes, fireplaces, attic access doors or hatches, and around any vent or fan. Outside the home, utilize caulk to secure corners in the siding and wherever two materials meet, such as around water faucets and dryer or stove vents, chimney-to-roof joints and the foundation top. Inside, weatherstripping, caulk and expanding foam insulation can work wonders.
Tip – Don’t stop right here. Take a look at your insulation and determine if it’s degraded and needs replacement or if it’s adequate to reach your area’s minimum R-values.
5. Unplug It!
Perhaps 10 percent of your energy cost goes to “energy vampires” or “ghosts” that rob your electricity. These are appliances and items that use power even when they are not actually on and working. Think of anything with a clock, timer, LED light or digital display. Even your cellphone charger keeps pumping electrical power long after the cellphone is full if you keep it plugged in. To stop this useless drain, turn off nonessentials when you’re done with them. Consider using power strips to plug in items and simply turn off the strip when you are done.
Tip – Look for the Energy Star tag, which suggests energy conservation, when buying home appliances large and small.
Irene Medina and The Medina Real Estate Group have vast experience in marketing of properties extensively worldwide via the internet. They sell their listings in record time and for top dollar. They have received many recommendations from their extremely satisfied customers. Realtor Irene and The Medina Real Estate Group service, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Plantation, Parkland, Davie, Weston, Tamarac, Broward County and South Palm Beach. She has been a Silver medal winner with Keller Williams for the past 3 years. She is a Certified Residential Specialist, CRS, Certified Distressed Property Expert, CDPE, she is also a Graduate of the Realtor Institute, GRI. She also holds the following designations, SFR, CHS, TRC and is working on her Commercial Real Estate accreditation.
IreneMedina.Realtor has been a Florida resident for the past 22 years and has been a Broward County resident for 21 years. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York and her parents are from Puerto Rico. She lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Jason, 3 daughters, Golden Retriever (Rosie), Corgie (Cinnamon) and 3 cats!
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|Irene Medina / Realtorirene_medina@ymail.com / 954-439-4851The Medina Real Estate Group