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Conserving Energy at Home: How to Be More Energy Efficient

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  • 0:05 Home Energy
  • 0:37 Save Electricity
  • 2:28 Save on Heating and Cooling
  • 3:48 Save on Hot Water Costs
  • 4:33 Prevent Energy Loss
  • 6:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Are you wondering how to make your home more energy efficient? Follow these measures to conserve energy, prevent energy loss, and make your home more comfortable, all while saving money.

Home Energy

By conserving energy and incorporating a few home improvements that make your home more energy efficient, you not only save yourself money but also lower your household's carbon footprint, doing your part for the environment. Energy conservation means saving energy by cutting back, and energy efficiency means saving energy through better products and innovative solutions. In this lesson, you will learn ways to conserve energy at home and make your home more energy efficient.

Save Electricity

Living in an energy-efficient home and taking conscious steps to save electricity will reduce the size of your utility bills and keep your family comfortable. You can conserve energy and save money when you turn off and unplug unused devices. This includes turning off lights, TVs, and entertainment systems when you leave a room. If you have multiple electronic devices grouped together, such as a TV, DVD player, and game console, plug them into a power strip, and turn the entire power strip off with one click when these items are not in use.

Also, unplug your seldom used appliances, including an extra refrigerator that you might be keeping in your garage, especially if it's storing only a few items. Unplugging also includes battery chargers and power adapters that are not in use. If you do not want to unplug your computers and go through the hassle of restarting them, set computers to hibernate mode. In hibernate mode, your computer will turn off after a set period of inactivity but will not require a complete restart.

To save electricity, look for ENERGY STAR certified products. ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that promotes superior energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR products save businesses and individuals money and protect the environment by promoting appliances and products that use less energy than conventional models. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo when shopping for new home appliances and electronics, and replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR approved compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFL bulbs.

Save on Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling a home accounts for the biggest portion of most homes' energy consumption. To save on heating and cooling, install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust your heating and air-conditioning needs automatically. Save energy in the winter by programming your thermostat setting to 68 degrees Fahrenheit for the hours you are home and active. Then at night and when you are at work, drop the setting ten or more degrees. For the summer months, select 78 degrees for the hours you are at home and raise the temperature setting for those hours you will be away from home or asleep.

To cut costs, you can also use heat from the sun wisely. Open your curtains in the winter months to let natural sunlight warm your home at no cost, and then close them at night to minimize heat loss through the windows. In the summer months, keep curtains closed to keep the sun's heat out. This will lessen the burden on your air conditioner.

During the year, take steps to maintain your heating and cooling systems. You can do this by cleaning and replacing air filters regularly and arranging for annual maintenance by a professional technician before the heating and cooling seasons start.

Save on Hot Water Costs

The costs of heating water in a typical home can add up quickly. To save on hot water costs, take shorter showers and install low-flow showerheads. Showers account for the majority of hot water costs and reducing showering time by only a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of water each month.

You can also check the thermostat setting on your hot water heater and set your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Installers often set the hot water heater thermostat to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By turning it down to 120 degrees, you will reduce your water heating costs and still have plenty of hot water for showers and other daily needs.

Prevent Energy Loss

Making the energy efficient changes mentioned earlier will save electricity and save your family money. You can do even more by inspecting your home for common energy leaks to prevent energy loss. Check your windows for drafts and install weather stripping to seal up leaks around your windows. If your windows are old, replace old windows with ENERGY STAR qualified windows, and you can cut your energy bill by up to 15%.

Energy can escape through the ceiling of your home, so it's a good idea to increase ceiling insulation to a higher R-value. R-value refers to the resistance to heat flow of the insulation. So the higher the R-value, the less heat is able to pass through the insulation. A recommended level to cut heating and cooling costs is an R-value of up to R-38.

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