Kansas City Living

8 Simple Ways to Save Energy At Home

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With Earth Day around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can make our homes more eco friendly.  

We’ve all come a long way since Earth Day started back in 1970, whether it’s being better about recycling at home or seeking out more earth-friendly products for purchases, and even adding solar panels to the roofs of our homes.  

But, even small changes in our homes can have an impact on our energy use, which not only helps our home “go green,” but also saves on utilities bills too!  

Here are some easy DIY fixes that you can do today or over a weekend to make your home more energy efficient.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t have one already then this is a must-do. It allows you to schedule your home’s temperature automatically depending on your daily routine – increase when getting up, decreasing when you’re at work, increasing when you come home, and decreasing when you head to bed. There are so many product selections out there with high-tech features such as motion sensors. You’ll save money heating and cooling your home at the right times for you and your family. And prices have come down so you should be able to find one in your price range.   

Some power providers will even provide the thermostat and install it for free!  For example, you can check out Evergy’s program for MO residents at Evergy.com.

Use a Smart Power Strip for Your Electronics 

It’s time to leave your old power strips in the dust, and look into a “smart” power strip. Who doesn’t see all the glowing lights from electronics when you turn off a room’s light? That’s energy being used for no good reason! The traditional power strips probably have encouraged you to keep many of your electronics plugged in constantly, using power even when you’re not using them as they wait in standby mode. Smart strips will shut down power to products on standby mode and save you 5 to 10% of your energy consumption.

Install the Correct Lightbulbs for Your Needs

With the use of incandescent bulbs a memory now, buying lightbulbs can be confusing! Before you go to the store (and pay for new bulbs), make sure you understand the differences between LEDs, CFLs, and Halogens so you don’t waste money on the wrong bulb. The technology keeps changing and improving so you might find one you like better now. Since these lightbulbs can last longer and are more expensive, make sure the manufacturer has a good refund or exchange program if something does go wrong. 

Hang Laundry on Clothes Drying Rack

If you don’t already use a drying rack to dry your clothes you should give it a try. Get in the habit of hanging some of your clothes on a foldable drying rack rather than in the dryer. Your clothes, your utility bill, and the environment will thank you! This can help you cut down on the number of loads you put in the dryer each week – which translates to less electricity used. If you have a patio, you can put your rack outside for even quicker drying. (Or get a traditional clothesline to go old school.)

Install Ceiling Fans

We know HGTV decorators hate these and want to take them down, but they can help your rooms stay cooler or warmer.  Fans can be a low-energy way to keep air circulating so you can keep your temperature set higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Just remember to have the fans reversed in the winter so the air is pulled upwards and away from you. The selection of stylish ceiling fans has improved a lot over the years, so you should find some that match your style. 

Insulate Exposed Water Pipes

Wrap your hot water pipes in the basement or garage with pipe insulation so they don’t lose heat as the water makes it way to your faucets. It can make a two-to-four-degree difference. Check the pipes coming out of the hot water heater and insulate at least the first three feet.

Double Check Your Vents 

Walk around your home and make sure you’re not blocking your air vents with furniture or piles of stuff. You want this air flow to circulate efficiently to avoid having the HVAC blowing constantly. Also get them dust-free too.

Plant a Tree

It sounds simple and it can be simple. Having a shade tree can help cool your home during our hot summers.  Did you know it can be 10% cooler in the shade? With less direct sunlight on your home, you’ll save energy costs. 

Don’t forget about energy tax credits that many cities, states and even the federal government offer when you do any energy improvements.  You might even get some tax savings when you make the upgrade to more efficient systems. Always check with your provider to see if they take care of filing the paperwork for you.

I hope these tips save you money and help save the environment too. Let me know if you have any questions!

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