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Since Earth Day just passed, what better way is there to celebrate this special day than by making your home more energy efficient? Not only will a more efficient home help the environment, but it may also help you reduce your energy usage — and your energy bills.

Getting started

Even by making small adjustments to your daily life, you could help make a huge impact on your home’s energy efficiency and improve the environment. Here are some tips to help you get started, and Mother Nature will thank you!

Adjust your thermostat

This is an often-overlooked item that many homeowners tend to forget about. But did you know that during cold weather, lowering your thermostat by 7-10 degrees (F) during the eight hours a day when your family is at work and school could help you to save energy and lower your utility bills each month? During hot weather, you would raise your thermostat when you’re away. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this simple adjustment could save as much as 10% on your heating and cooling bills throughout the year.

Be mindful of unnecessary water use

You would be amazed by how much water your family may waste each year. A few things you can do to avoid it: shut the water off when you’re brushing your teeth; take a shower instead of a bath (baths can use nearly 75 gallons of water!); and don’t use your washing machine or dishwasher for half loads of clothes or dirty dishes. Not only is this wasting water, but hot water requires the use of your water heater, so it could also be costing you on your energy bills, too.

Swap out those old light bulbs

If you have an older style of bulbs in your lamps and ceiling fans, such as incandescent varieties, replace them with fluorescent or LED styles. These use less energy than the older bulbs, and they are also designed to last much longer. This is great news for the homeowner who is tired of dragging a ladder out to switch out the bulbs in that hard-to-reach ceiling fan! As a sidenote, don’t overlook the bulbs in outdoor lampposts, and porch or patio lights, as well.

Check the seal around window and door frames

If you’ve noticed that your home feels warmer than it should during cooling season, or colder than it should throughout the heating season, this could be an indication that you have gaps in your window and door frames. If that’s the case, cold/hot air from outside can seep in, and conditioned air from inside your home can escape. This can cause your heater or AC to work harder than necessary to keep your family comfortable. This wastes energy and could also leave you with higher energy bills. The problem can easily be identified by moving your hand along the frame. If you detect areas where air is passing through, add extra weatherstripping materials.

Wash your clothes with cold water

Many homeowners are surprised when they hear that they can get their dirty clothes just as clean using cold water instead of hot. Most of the energy used by a washing machine can be spent on heating the water. Using cold water instead could save energy — and a bit of money on your utility bills.

Don’t forget to unplug your chargers!

  • Phone/laptop/tablet chargers waste an excessive amount of energy if they’re plugged in constantly. The U.S. Department of Energy refers to these energy wasters as “energy vampires” because you may not realize just how much energy they may be using. Many chargers will use roughly 0.26 watts of energy just by being plugged in, and around 2.24 watts when charging a connected device.

Schedule AC and furnace maintenance

One of the simplest things you can do to help lower the amount of energy your family uses is to schedule annual maintenance checks for your heating and cooling systems. During this tune-up appointment, a technician will clean and examine all working parts inside your system to be sure things are operating as efficiently as they should. This could help save you on your energy bills, and also help to create a more comfortable home throughout the year.

Celebrate Mother Nature!

We hope that these tips will come in handy when helping to make your home more energy efficient! After you’ve put some of our suggestions in place, take a break, get outside, and enjoy our beautiful earth with your loved ones!