9 Bright Ideas To Make Your Home More Efficient (and Save You Money)
The warmer months can certainly be good for your soul… but tough on your wallet. If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably noticed that some of your utility bills tend to increase during the summer. While some increases may be inevitable, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your bills don’t totally spike.
HVAC and A/C
- Make sure your furnace filters are replaced regularly. Even during the summer months, you should check on your air filter and, experts say, probably replace it once every month or two. A clean air filter allows the system to work its best. Some estimates say that a clean air filter can save you 5 to 15 percent on costs.
- Apart from keeping the filters fresh, make sure all your HVAC equipment is properly maintained. Here’s a great list of things that should be checked on a regular basis.
- On hot days, set your air conditioner to run on a timer. A programmable thermostat can, of course, save you significant money during both the summer and winter. If you work a typical schedule, you probably don’t need to be cooling your entire home at full blast during the day!
- Ceiling fans can be a good way to cool things down without cranking the air conditioning. Running a fan in the room that you’re relaxing in can be a lot more efficient than cooling the whole house.
Water UsageThe summer months can cause an extra strain on your water bill. Most people’s water bills are quite a bit higher during the warmer months of the year.
- If you live in a home with gardens and a lawn to maintain, consider doing your watering in the evening. This helps prevent evaporation and allows you to get more bang for your buck out of your watering.
- To reduce your water bill, consider replacing appliances and fixtures with modern ones.
- Toilets are responsible for over 25% of water use in your home. Modern low-flow toilets often use about 5 to 6 litres per flush, compared to some older toilets that use up to 25 litres of water per flush.
- Showers account for 15% of water in many homes. Modern showerheads can use as little as 56 litres per 10 minutes, compared to standard, older showerheads which can use 95 litres every 10 minutes.
- Clothes washers account for 20% of water use in a standard home. Newer washing machines can use about 30% less water than older models.
- Dishwashers use only a small percentage of water in the home, but the water savings on new models are spectacular – as low as 7 litres per cycle, compared to old units that could use more than 60 litres.
Other Upgrades and Good Habits
- It seems like only yesterday when everybody was replacing their typical incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. These days, the trend is towards LED lightbulbs. They cost quite a bit more up front, but they tend to last for much, much longer… and many people prefer the quality of light that comes off them.
- Don’t forget about your homes’ windows as a source of waste. Modern windows tend to be much better at conserving energy through improved insulation. If you have older windows, there are some steps you can take to improve their efficiency; here is a nice guide.
- Try to establish ‘energy-conscious’ habits for yourself and your family:
- Encourage them to turn off the lights when they’re not in the room;
- Ask them to reduce the time of their showers;
- For maximum efficiency, make use of power strips to conveniently turn off small appliances when not in use.