The Ultimate Energy Saving Guide – Preparing To Go Solar
There is no secret that the biggest reason to go solar is to reduce or even completely eliminate your electric bill.
On average, a monthly electric bill of $100 becomes a$1,200 yearly expense. Over 20 years, that same $100 monthly bill adds up to $24,000 paid to your utility company, and that’s before factoring in the annual rate increases that will likely make your 20-year energy costs much higher! Installing a solar energy system will take you out of this vicious cycle of loss!
Although going solar offers many financial benefits, the amount of money you will save with solar depends greatly on how much energy you consume on a daily basis. By reducing your energy footprint before going solar, you will not only save money by reducing the size and cost of your home solar panel installation, but also allows you to pay off the entire solar system much faster.
We’ve compiled a list of ways to reduce your energy usage:
- Save Money On Air Conditioning – To reduce your A/C costs during the warmer months, use fans and keep those doors, windows, and shades closed during the day to reduce heat coming in.
Lower Your Lighting Costs – Reduce energy use from about a third to as much as 80% with today’s increasing number of energy-efficient halogen incandescent, CFLs and LEDs.
- Upgrade Your Most-Used Lighting – By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or the light bulbs in them with Energy Star-qualified models, you can save about $60 each year in energy costs. Start with your outdoor porch light, the kitchen ceiling fixture, living room lamps, and the bathroom vanity.
- Change Least-Used Light Bulbs – You probably don’t need 100-watt bulbs in closets or a guest bedroom. Downgrade the bulbs to more efficient lighting.
- Divide CFL Wattage – Because compact fluorescent (CFLs) are rated differently than incandescent light bulbs, divide the wattage of the incandescent bulb by four to determine the CFL wattage you should use.
- Save Water to Save Money – Use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water bills.
- Wash Clothes in Cold Water – About 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes to heating the water.
- Seal The Money Leaks – Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks, and adding insulation can save up to 20% on home heating and cooling costs.
- Check your Filters – Clean or replace all filters in your home once a month. Dirty filters make your system work harder and run longer than necessary.
- Just Nuke It – Use your microwave instead of your stove when cooking! The microwave uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.
- Defrost That Beast – To ensure your appliances are running efficiently, defrost your refrigerator and freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
5 Ways You Can Plug The Energy Leaks In Your Home
- Embrace The Darkside – Close blinds, shades, and drapes on the sunny side of your home during the day to help keep the house cooler bringing the temperature to a comfortable level.
- Keep The Door Closed – Don’t peek in the oven while baking! Every time you peek, the temperature drops 25° F and requires additional energy to bring the temperature back up.
- Take Control of Your Lights – Control your fixtures with a photocell or a timer to assure dusk-to-dawn only operation of your outdoor lights.
- Turn Off Your PC – Don’t leave your computer on all day long. Only turn on your computer, monitor, printer, and fax machine when you need them.
- Adjust Your Thermostat – Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Every degree increases usage 6% to 8%.
- Use a Ceiling Fan – In the summer, set your fan to spin counterclockwise, then set your thermostat a few degrees higher to save as much as 40 percent on your cooling bills. In winter, switch fan blades to spin clockwise and save up to 10 percent on your heating bills.
- Pack Your Fridge – Refrigerators and freezers actually operate the most efficient when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible.
- Wash at Night – Using dishwashers and clothes washers/dryers at night will keep the house cooler, reduce strain on the power grid during the peak usage hours of 4 PM and 6 PM, and reduce the chance of an emergency!
- Turn The Fan Off – Don’t leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary. They replace inside air with outside.
Get Rid Of Energy Vampires and Phantom Loads
- Beef Up Your Windows – If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows, or adding solar shades or tinting film.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat – A programmable thermostat can save you more than $100 a year in energy costs by helping you avoid unneeded heating or cooling while you’re away from home or sleeping.
- Get In The Habit – Turn off the lights when they’re not in use. Lighting accounts for about 15% of a typical residential utility bill.
- Charge Your Phone – Don’t leave your mobile phone plugged in overnight, it only takes a couple of hours to charge.
- Cut The Oven Time – Turn off the oven 10-15 minutes before cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity.
- Thermostat Placement Counts – Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat. The thermostat should not be too close to any doors or windows that get opened often either.
- Service Your Air Conditioner – Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
- Open Some Windows – Opening windows creates a cross-wise breeze, allowing you to naturally cool your home without switching on air conditioners. This is an ideal tactic in spring when temperatures are mild.
- Cook Outside – On warmer spring days, keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.
- Bring in Sunlight – During daylight hours, switch off artificial lights and use windows and skylights to brighten your home.
- Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances – Look for the Energy Star label when you’re shopping for home items. More than 40 product categories feature the label, including major appliances and light fixtures.
- Save Energy at Home With Landscaping – Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your house. In summer, the leaves will shade your house; in winter, the bare branches will let the sun through for added warmth.
- Wash & Dry Full Loads – Use your dryer’s full load capacity and wash only full loads of clothes, and be sure to set the water level appropriately.
- Air-Dry Dishes – Don’t use the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher.
- Match Pans to Burners – A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch stove burner wastes more than 40 percent of the burner’s heat. When possible, use lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking times.
- Limit Bath Time – A seven-minute shower with a 2.5-gallon-per-minute shower head uses less water — and heat — than a full bath.
- Cover Drafty Windows – During cold winter months use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed – Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney, so keep it closed unless its being used. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- Get Your Doors In Order – Choose the right kind of exterior doors, including the garage door. Look for insulated fiberglass models. They look like wood, but they are five times more energy-efficient than wood.
- Go Tankless and Save – When it’s time to replace the water heater, get a tankless version. Bosch, Rinnai and Takagi are just three of the companies that make them. Tankless water heaters work only when they’re needed; they don’t use energy keeping a big tank of water hot.
- Avoid Using Space Heaters -This includes electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they expensive to operate, they’re also very dangerous.
- Size Does Matter – Make sure your window air conditioner is the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small than too large – a larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.
- Like Mama Always Told You – Don’t leave the refrigerator door open. Every time it’s opened, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape. The same rule holds for the oven, too. Keep the refrigerator temperature about 36-38 degrees, and the freezer at 0-5 degrees. You want your fridge and freezer full but don’t overload the refrigerator or freezer. The cold air needs to circulate freely to keep foods at the proper temperature.
- Get The Lint Out – Clean the lint screen on the dryer every time you use the machine. A clogged lint screen can make your dryer use up to 30 percent more energy – and it can be a fire hazard.
- Stop That Leak – Fix leaky faucets, especially if it’s a hot water faucet. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month – that’s more than one person uses in two weeks.
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