To celebrate Earth Day, we’ve put together a list of green tips for energy efficiency in your home. The most useful ways to save on your utility bills – and help the environment. All of these tips are simple DIY projects that can be done in the span of a few hours. Like all projects, it helps to make a list of the tasks and systematically go through them one at a time.
- Change Out Light Bulbs – Switch out all of your incandescent and CFL light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED’s are much more energy-efficient than regular bulbs (and consume up to 90% less power). Since LED bulbs only use a fraction of the energy of a typical incandescent, there is a substantial decrease in energy costs. LED’s also have a much longer lifespan – in effect saving money and energy in maintenance and replacement costs.
- Clear Air Vents – Do you have furniture blocking some of your air vents? Not all vents are positioned high on a wall; throughout your home you will probably find several on the floor level. Check behind furniture – you may discover vents under couches or dressers. Your heating and cooling efficiency could be improved by as much as 25% by freeing those vents.
- Modify Laundry Settings – Don’t do laundry until you have enough clothes for a full load. When you do, try to wash your clothes on the cold wash/bright color setting. Washing your clothing in cold will help extend the life of the material and also save up to 90% of the energy used for hot water. Some materials, like bath towels, cloths and anything that tends to get wet in daily use, shouldn’t be washed in a cold cycle. But these items should also be washed in bulk and, if possible, in a hot/cold rinse.
- Use a Clothesline – Try giving your dryer a break and use a clothesline to dry your clothes. Air drying your clothing outside (or on an indoor rack) can help cut down on utility costs and also help extend the life of your clothes.
- Unplug Appliances/Devices – As much as 10% of your home’s energy is wasted on electronics that aren’t being used. “Phantom energy” is the term used for electricity that is pulled by products that are plugged in, but aren’t being used. Before you go to bed, make sure that you unplug all of your devices and appliances that aren’t being used – including computers and phones.
- Lower the Thermostat – It’s always a good idea to keep your thermostat at a comfortable 68 degrees – when possible. In the more extreme weather months, humidity is also a factor and might dictate a higher or lower number. But when leaving your home, always turn the thermostat down in winter, up in summer – and off completely in the transitional months.
- Use Blinds/Drapes Wisely – In the summer, keep the blinds closed during the day. Direct sunlight can substantially warm a home and keep the air conditioning costs high. The reverse is true in winter, when the sun can work as an inexpensive heating source. Light-colored thermal drapes are an option for areas like Oklahoma that often deal with extreme temperatures. They can help block the solar heat gain in summer and also help with air drafts in the winter.
Spring in Oklahoma is an ideal time to make green changes in your home. With the mild temperatures and limited use of conditioned air, it is easier to plan vent cleaning, line dry your clothing and more.