Tips to make your home and lifestyle more energy efficient
The average US monthly utility bill is $163. That’s nearly $2,000 per year you spend on heating, cooling, electricity, and water! With market utility prices steadily rising each year, you’re going to continue feeling this impact on your budget.
While lowering market prices is out of your control, lowering your monthly utility bills is not! Simple home-improvement projects and minor changes with your energy consumption can make your home more energy efficient and cut down on your utility bill.
Start by servicing your existing appliances
Prioritize your efficiency improvement projects by getting your furnace, hot water heater, fireplace, dryer, and other appliances serviced by a professional technician to ensure they are running at their peak. Slow leaks or clogged filters drastically reduce the efficiency of your appliances and can add up to hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs. Maintaining your appliances will extend their life ensure they are more efficient.
- Propane LPG Gas furnace – change the filter annually.
- Gas water heater – drain every one to three years. However, if you wait too long between flushes, it could cause problems.
- Propane fireplace – clean every year to remove soot caused by the air and air pollutants (such as cat hair).
- Underground propane LPG tank – your propane supplier will check the anode bag regularly for corrosion. You likely only will need to replace the bag, not the tank.
Small home improvements make a big difference
Don’t throw your energy and heating budget out the window! Make some low-cost improvements to your home to ensure the energy stays inside where it belongs.
- Caulk windows and doorways to prevent air leakage and drafts, driving up heating and air conditioning costs.
- Window treatments also help manage your energy usage by reducing the sun’s heat in the summer and keeping cold air out in the winter. Awnings, blinds, draperies and other treatments can make your home more efficient, and aesthetically pleasing!
- Install a programmable thermostat to more effectively manage your home’s temperature during all hour of the day. Regulating your home’s temperature while you are at home or away can reduce heating costs by avoiding temperature spikes and dips that make your furnace or AC work overtime.
- Insulate you home upstairs and downstairs to avoid heat and air escaping. While this may be a larger project, insulation usually pays back for itself rather quickly. You can calculate your return on investment to determine if it is the right choice for you.
Make your laundry loads more economical
You clothes dryer is the second biggest consumer of energy in your home, second to the refrigerator. Even if you don’t plan to get a new dryer, small changes in your laundry habits can help increase your appliance’s efficiency.
- Regularly clean your lint filter to ensure there is no blockage
- Dry only full loads (small loads are less economical).
- Dry two or more loads in a row to take advantage of retained heat.
If you are ready to purchase a new clothes dryer, find out how to determine if a propane gas dryer or electric dryer is the better for your home.
Cut down water heating bills by servicing your hot water heater
There’s nothing worse than the hot water cutting out in the middle of your shower! Avoid cold showers and extend the life of your gas water heater through regular service (gas water heaters last 10 years on average). Every one to three years, perform the following maintenance to your hot water heater:
- Drain the tank to remove built up sediment.
- Inspect anode rods and replace if necessary.
- Check the pressure valve.
- Adjust temperature to 120 degrees to save energy.
You can also save on monthly water bills by installing low-flow faucets and showerheads in your home. Shower heads and faucets with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) can save you 25%-60%.
Watch your savings add up
While most of home improvement changes are small, they can have a big impact on your monthly utility bills. And these economical energy fixes not only save you money, they help reduce your global footprint.