Here in Utah, we enjoy experiencing the variation of the seasons and the different activities they offer. But when you get home, you expect a well-regulated interior environment no matter if it’s winter or summer. Many of us consume a considerable amount of energy each year to maintain this level of indoor comfort. These are four areas for immediate improvement to start cutting costs without having to compromise on the comfort of your home.
Adjust your heat settings
The energy spent on heating our homes accounts for a large slice of overall consumption and is thus the best place to look for opportunities to trim costs. Try to modify your heat settings, especially when you’ll be away from home or asleep. A change of 10-15 degrees (warmer in summer, cooler in winter) over such long periods can add up to the tune of around 10% in annual savings.
The trick here is to use a programmable thermostat and avoid making adjustments on your own. This minimizes the effect of human error so that you don’t forget to reduce your consumption when you leave for the day, for instance.
Improve the circulation
Different parts of our homes see different usage patterns and also receive varying amounts of heat. In Utah, south-facing parts of our homes will receive more solar energy throughout the day and thus get warmer compared to the northern end.
You can take advantage of this effect through passive solar design principles and maximize heat gain by allowing it to spread northward during the day gradually. Good circulation throughout the home is also necessary. Clean your air ducts and make sure there’s no blockage. Keep doors closed to areas that aren’t often used, such as storage, and see to it that window and door frames are well sealed. This keeps the heat to the rooms where people stay more often.
Use colder water
Water heating costs usually have the second biggest footprint on your energy bill. While you may not want to restrict yourself to cold showering in the winter, simply lowering your water heater’s temperature setting by 10-20 degrees can result in a marked decrease in annual energy consumption.
There are also times when cold water can be used just as effectively, such as when washing dishes or doing the laundry. Doing so will offset the use of hot water for your comfortable bathing needs.
Seek out energy efficiency
Certain household appliances tend to have high energy consumption. Your washer and dryer, HVAC, and refrigerator, among others, can present opportunities for an upgrade to more energy-efficient models, which would cut costs in the long term.
Appliances aren’t the only parts of the home, which can be more energy efficient. Windows are a crucial area of thermal transfer in your home. Upgrading to vinyl windows is one way to keep out the cold, drafty Utah winters while letting in warm sunlight and retaining that heat throughout the day. Lighting fixtures can also have Energy Star ratings for efficiency with features such as dimming to conserve energy usage further.
When you look at the details of your energy consumption, there are many ways to further cut down on expenses. These are just four areas of an immediate impact for you to address, and you can take things even further to enjoy more long term savings.